Group 1 Win
Jan 01, 2015
Dream becomes reality as Le Chef snares Magic Millions victory
[Le Chef, ridden by Luke Tarrant, makes dreams a reality.]
Le Chef, ridden by Luke Tarrant, makes dreams a reality. Photo: Greg Irvine, Magic Millions
An audacious dream became reality when Mount Isa horse owner Lenore Saunders snared the $1.5 million Magic Millions prize purse on Saturday.
Saunders's impressive two-year-old Le Chef landed a memorable victory as he showed tenacity and class to prevail in the rich Magic Millions 2yo Classic on the Gold Coast.
The win was reward for the Saunders family - devoted to, and heavily invested in, the racing game for decades but more accustomed to racing on the Outback tracks of North West Queensland than the glitter strip of the Gold Coast.
Le Chef's win justified the $120,000 splurge on the youngster at last year's Magic Millions Yearling Sale after Saunders and bookmaker husband Graeme sold the Coffee Club in Mount Isa to help fund the dream.
"We're just so over the moon," she said after the win.
"It really is a fairytale.
"We took a chance buying the horse ... It was a gamble but it has paid off."
Le Chef earned Saunders $1.14 million for the victory, and she picked up another $325,000 for the Women in Racing initiative.
There were well deserved celebrations after the win, but Saunders said it would be business as usual as owners of the Mount Isa Cinema.
"We will be back selling movie tickets and telling people to get their feet off the seats at the cinema," she joked.
Saunders paid tribute to the flawless ride of apprentice Luke Tarrant, which was the difference in the race for Le Chef.
It was also a breakout victory for trainer Darryl Hansen, who thanked connections for putting their faith in his ability.
There was an unrelenting flood of support after the win, with Saunders admitting she couldn't keep up with the text messages, calls and well wishes on social media.
As funny as it sounds, the win will also help boost the Mount Isa economy with the Saunders already strong investors in the city.
Saunders thanked the city for its support, and told of a friend who had her first bet by splashing $100 on Le Chef at $21.
There were plenty of other punters who made a financial benefit from Le Chef's win, with the youngster backed from as high as $301 in early markets to start at $16.
Even before the Magic Millions win, bloodstock agents showed interest in Le Chef with an offer of $500,000 to race him in Hong Kong.
One can only imagine what Le Chef would be worth after the victory, but it would likely be in the seven-figure range.
Saunders said there was no thought of selling the horse, with the focus on making the most of racing Le Chef into the future.