Gordon’s Roll of the Dice
Jeff Gordon has worked in racing all of his life, but Saturday’s results at Flemington may have been one of his most satisfying yet.
Stepfather to Nick Ryan and making a career as a bloodstock agent, Gordon found Saturday’s winner Express Pass for just $38,000 at the Inglis Vobis Gold Sale in 2018. Just to prove it was no fluke, he paid $24,000 for Mahamedeis at the same sale two years earlier.
However, it is the fascinating story of one of the most exciting horses this winter has produced in Dice Roll that Gordon might take the most satisfaction from.
It was the story that without Gordon, wouldn’t have happened.
As the big flashy chestnut returned under the arches at Flemington on Saturday a winner for the third time in as many starts on Australian soil, it is hard to believe such a specimen this time last year was running around retired in a paddock in South Australia.
Having won three of his first four starts in France, Dice Roll finished third in 2018 French 2000 Guineas before heading to Hong Kong with great expectations.
“The French horses have been a bit disappointing in Hong Kong probably for two reasons,” Gordon explained.
“The firmer tracks and also the environment they are in.
“It’s like going from the Hilton Hotel to an average Bed and Breakfast.”
In his role as Bloodstock Advisor for Dice Roll’s owners Goldin Farms, Gordon knew of the son of Showcasing’s early ability and was willing to forgive his Hong Kong form, where in 11 starts he finished last in six of them.
“The horse had been sent back and been retired from Hong Kong,” Gordon recalled.
“He was the horse nanny at the farm for 14 months.
“It put concussion and miles back into his legs, he went through a winter, summer and spring.
“In the back of my head I thought he would always be worth another try.
“I rang Sean Fang (Vice President of Goldin Group) and said I want to give the horse another go, he asked if I sure and I said ‘this horse will make it – believe me.’”
Arriving at Nick Ryan’s stable at close to 600 kilograms, it didn’t take long before Gordon knew his belief was going to be reward.
“Nick was riding before he could walk, those guys just know, they sort out the good from the bad and the ugly, and he knew he was good,” Gordon recalled.
“He is a big horse with a massive cage and girth, you could put a slab of concrete on his back.
“He’s a gelding now so it’s just about looking after him and winning as many races as we can.”
While the immediate focus for Dice Roll now turns to the $160,000 Listed Seppelt Wines VRC-CRV Winter Championship Series Final (1600m) at Flemington on July 3, Gordon predicts a much bigger future for the lightly raced six-year-old.
“The way he powered away yesterday, with the lack of imports this year he could win a big race,” Gordon believes.
“He is a serious Group 1 horse I have no doubt.
“Once he hits a wet track and gets up to 2000 metres, look out.
“He is the fresh horse on scene and I know Nick things hasn’t touched the sides of him yet.”
Brad Spicer recently paid 245,000 pounds for Dice Roll’s half-brother by Almanzor.
Gordon’s success in the bloodstock world in well regarded, he has sold 10 horses to have Group 1 races in Hong Kong, including the prestigious Hong Kong Derby three times.
Goldin Farm’s stallion Akeed Mofeed has returned from a season in Victoria at Swetenham Stud and will stand back at their South Australian property for $8,800.
Dice Roll’s trainer Nick Ryan had to celebrate from home yesterday after his first Flemington double, as a recovers from home after a hernia operation on Wednesday.