SATURDAY’S $3.5million Longines Golden Slipper (1200m) is an iconic race.
A mad scamper for young horses drawn from all over with the biggest stables and big owners represented as well as the smaller stables and knockabout owners such as Tamworth’s Andrew Pieper.
Andrew, better known as Pep, is a business development manager for ILG (Independent Liquor Group) and also holds the liquor licence to the bar at the Australian Equine and Livestock Events Centre.
One of the main reasons for buying a share in She Will Reign came after he had tended that AELEC bar during last year’s Landmark Classic, which incorporates a horse sale.
“After watching 545 horses being sold I started wondering what it would be like to own a horse,” Pieper said.
“I knew Mark Slack-Smith too and he’d bought a share in Yankee Rose so I rang and asked him about the Darby syndicators. He couldn’t praise them enough so I looked at them on facebook.”
He liked the Manhattan Rain breed and decided to buy a five percent share ($2500) although he didn’t tell wife Bianca “for about four months”.
“She looked at a photo of her, rolled her eyes and walked up the hallway,” he said when he eventually managed to find the right time.
“I thought that went good.”
While she missed the first start and brilliant Kembla Grange win she was there for the Inglis Nursery win at Randwick last November.
The excitement and fun generated has Bianca a confirmed supporter and part of what has been an enormously exciting run.
“We’re very lucky, it’s like winning Lotto, every time,” Pieper said of a filly who has now won three of her four starts and more than $500,000 in prizemoney.
Pieper also drew the number 13 ball at this week’s barrier draw but she is likely to jump from barrier 11.
“Gary (Portelli) said drawing out there might be the best thing,” he said.
“She’s going to be better off in the better going out wide. But Gary and the stable have always said she’s pretty special. Her track work has been good. She’s fit and ready to go. She’ll run a big race. But the good thing is all the people we get to share her with. I’d say 16 of the owners are all first timers like us. And all our family friends are just so happy for us, they all want us to win.”
A keen sportsman Pieper is a life member of the Bective-East Cricket Club.
“I started with them when I was 14,” he said.
“I still remember my first game in third grade, Doug Crowell was captain, Dennis Rixon was in the side too.”
After 45 years of playing service he retired last year.
He also served for 10 years as club president, and while he loves his cricket racing might have overtaken it as his favourite sport, especially after celebrating three big wins and a second with a little filly he thinks has an undeniable chance of winning the Golden Slipper.