There are hundreds of ways to get into horse racing.
Queensland’s Natalie Lee was a certainty. Literally.
The resident of Collinsville (pop.1000) was born on Melbourne Cup Day. We can’t tell you the winner that year because it would reveal Natalie’s age, but if you promise not to tell anyone, it was Arwon.
Only a handful of years back Natalie had a dream. Not just any old dream. In it she and hubby Johno won the Melbourne Cup with a horse carrying the colours of her dad, ex jockey, the late Bob Russell.
Enter Sunshine Coast trainer Darryl Hansen. “Darryl and Johno have been best mates for years.
When I told Darryl about the dream and said I wanted us to buy a horse to possibly fulfil that dream he said: ‘I’d do anything for you, but on one condition, your husband has to come with me.’ We all knew what that meant – they’re a couple of larrikins when they get together.”
The horse was named Bring It Home Pop. Thus far he has won 4 from 23 and $405,825.
“When we first raced a share in a horse Johno and I thought if we won a race or two in the bush that would be wonderful. Little did we think we’d have so much fun winning city races.”
One of the team Tibrogargan Miss was taken to Sydney for the Gr2 Sweet Embrace Stakes. “She led them up and finished third, but that was like a win to us – we partied like rock stars.”
Racing horses is not always a day at the beach – it can be tough. So the Lees, like many before them, quickly realised having fun along the way is the key.
“Darryl always makes the social aspect of it very special. I can’t tell you the fun we’ve had with Darryl and Amy (partner) and we’re looking forward to more.”
Even if it means two plane trips to get to the Sunshine Coast.
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