Colin Madden knows what it’s like to own the perfect racehorse – after all he had a share in Black Caviar, arguably Australia’s greatest-ever sprinter.
But, for pure excitement, Madden says he can’t go past having a share in a runner in The Everest, with Masked Crusader trying to do something the great mare never had a chance to do.
Colin and Jannene Madden with their Everest contender Masked Crusader at his Rosehill stable. Credit:Brook Mitchell
Masked Crusader might not have Black Caviar’s fame or ability, but if he wins the $15-million Everest on his second attempt at Randwick on Saturday he will surpass her career earnings of just over $7 million.
Madden and his wife Jannene went on a 25-run unbeaten journey with Black Caviar. They began their equine adventure as relative racing novices but were soon rubbing shoulders with royalty, having met Queen Elizabeth II at Royal Ascot 10 years ago.
“Black Caviar gave me the courage to do stupid things,” Madden said on Thursday. “We wouldn’t be here without her.
“We had horses before her, but not many. She enabled us to do things, and be involved in things, we never thought could happen.
“Black Caviar had well and truly retired when The Everest came up, but we put our hands up to be involved in this slot. She would have made it more fun, and we probably would have won it by now.”
Together with good friend and fellow Black Caviar owner Neil Werrett, Max Whitby and Steve McCann, the Maddens stumped up $600,000 to become inaugural slotholders for The Everest in 2017. They are hoping their wait to lift the trophy ends on Saturday.
“We’ve been close with a couple of seconds,” said Werrett, who also owns a share in Masked Crusader. “Colin and I get the best of both worlds with Masked Crusader. It’s why we went into The Everest concept to try and win it with one of our horses.
“He came so close to beating Nature Strip last year, and it made it easy to pick him again. We had always been one of the last to pick our horse for The Everest, but this year we locked in Masked Crusader before Christmas, so we have been waiting 12 months for Saturday.”
The indications are Masked Crusader is ready to offer a peak performance.
“He was only beaten a head last year, and we think he is better. He looks better and John Hawkes said he would be better for the experience,” Werrett continued. “It is now up to Willie Pike and Team Hawkes and luck really.”
The Maddens returned to Sydney early to once again experience Everest week and one of the first port of calls was to Rosehill to see Masked Crusader at the stables of trainers Michael, Wayne and John Hawkes.
“I never thought I would get to have a friendship with the Hawkes family. To be able to watch them at close quarters, they are well-named as Team Hawkes,” Madden said. “They work as a team and have him looking fantastic.
“John [Hawkes] was a little apprehensive because he was getting out of his normal routine on Wednesday. As we were leaving, John gave him his food and he pinned his ears back at John, and he just calmed him down. He just knows his horse so well.”
Madden admitted he will start to feel nervous as race time – 4.15pm on Saturday – approaches.
“The build-up has been 12 months, and the outcome can be extraordinary, so you try not to think that,” Madden said. “When the race is on, I’ll be either leaning forward on my knees or standing up circling. I can’t keep still when I have a horse in a race. It’s like being a kid again, sharing the excitement of youth.”
And when pushed on what he thinks will happen in The Everest.
“I always think we are going to win,” he replied.
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