Neil Osborne and his well-named colt Beer Baron nearly caused the upset of the program at Royal Randwick on Saturday.
Ridden by Tommy Berry, the 50/1 shot finished a gallant second to the Ciaron Maher and David Eustace-trained Odinson (Tyler Schiller, $5) in the Listed $500,000 Inglis Nursery (1000m).
The debutant was taking on more experienced two-year-old horses, and he commenced with the field from gate eight but raced two and three wide before peeling second-widest when turning for home.
The Cosmic Force colt demonstrated a good turn of foot, finding the front with 150m to go, only for the impressive Odinson to run him down and win by a long neck.
“I think he is a good horse,” Osborne told NSW Country and Picnic Racing.
“It was a good run, and with 50m to go, I thought he was home, and the thing is, he wouldn’t have known what was happening when he found the front; in his work, he is always watching the other horses.
“He’s still not the finished thing, and it was a good run considering he was the only one in the top five that was unraced.”
The Sutton-based trainer believes Beer Barron is the real deal, with connections impressed by the youngster from the moment he was broken in.
“A fortnight ago, I thought he’d win (the Inglis Nursery), but last Tuesday, his work was just off a little bit, and I started having second thoughts,” he said.
“Don’t get me wrong, his work was still good, and I thought he would be competitive, but on his work a fortnight ago, no one would have beaten him.
“We knew he was good when we broke him in and took him to Goulburn.
“He moved and floated like a nice horse, and the more we worked him, the more magnificent he looked, but he still has a lot of improvement to make.”
Osborne, who bred Beer Barron from his mare and three-time winner Ice Cold Crownie (Beautiful Crown x Absolutely Adriana), explained that he was a ‘miracle horse’ and lucky to be alive.
“The year before, his mare tore her cervix and wouldn’t go into foal without being repaired,” he said.
“She was to go to Extreme Choice, and he wasn’t working the day that she was cherry-ripe, so we decided to go with another horse; I have a share in Cosmic Force, and that’s the way we went.
“Within an hour of being served, she had her cervix stitched up, and the plan was to get her covered, get the semen in there, and stitch her up to avoid any problems, and she was as good as gold.
“Unfortunately, we got her in foal the next year, but she slipped it, and she hasn’t been in foal since.”
From there, Osborne couldn’t sell the youngster that went through the 2023 Inglis Ready2Race Sale and was passed in at the 2023 Classic Yearling Sale.
It appears his failure to impress prospective buyers has been a blessing in disguise, with connections earning $294,000 for their runner-up finish on Saturday.
Of the nearly $300,000 won, $94,000 was in prizemoney, and the additional $200,000 was for the Inglis Pink Bonus, which was for the first registered horse home that is at least 75% owned or leased by female owners and eligible for the bonus.
That result could be the tip of the iceberg, with Osborne suggesting that the $2 million Inglis Millennium (1100m) on February 10, which carries a $400,000 Inglis Pink Bonus, was their next target ahead of the time-honoured $250,000 Black Opal Stakes (1200m) at Canberra on March 10.
“He’s in the paddock already; he’s been up for a long time,” he said.
“He’ll have a month off, and we’ll probably get him ready and have one run in the Inglis Millennium, and three weeks after that is the Black Opal Stakes; Tommy has already said he will be in Canberra and riding him.”
It’s all in the name
There’s no denying that Beer Baron is well-named being out of Ice Cold Crownie.
While Neil didn’t take the credit, he explained it was his son and lovable larrikin, Stuart Osborne, who came up with The Simpsons-inspired name.
The two-year-old is named after the episode where Homer Simpson becomes the ‘Beer Baron’ during Springfield’s St Patrick’s Day-induced prohibition.
With alcohol eventually declared legal in Springfield, Homer rounded out the episode, proclaiming his undying love for it by saying, “To alcohol! The cause of, and solution to, all of life’s problems”.
We only hope that Neil, Stuart, and their Mane Lodge team get to raise a glass to many of Beer Baron’s wins in the coming years.