Gelding proves to be a bargain buy

HOT PROSPECT: Red Hot de Lago returns to the winners’ stall after the Swich On Inc Handicap (1000m) at Ipswich racetrack.
HOT PROSPECT: Red Hot de Lago returns to the winners’ stall after the Swich On Inc Handicap (1000m) at Ipswich racetrack. Sarah Harvey

BARGAIN-basement buy Red Hot de Lago left his new trainer laughing at his good fortune after an outstanding win at Ipswich racetrack.

Red Hot de Lago started red-hot favourite and ran accordingly to win the Swich On Handicap (1000m) yesterday by almost four lengths.

But after the race, Toowoomba trainer Michael Nolan revealed just how lucky he was to be training the impressive winner.

Nolan said he paid just $2000 for the five-year-old gelding at a sale in Sydney in late June. Yesterday, Red Hot de Lago picked up a cheque for $6500 and it seems certain that's only the beginning.

"When I tell people what I paid for him, they think I'm joking," Nolan said, enjoying an orange juice in the Ipswich Turf Club committee bar.

"There was a yearling and tried horse sale and we went down to buy a yearling but the two we wanted didn't pass the X-rays.

"We had a few beers after the yearling sale and we said why don't we go back tomorrow for the tried horse sale."

Red Hot de Lago immediately caught his eye after he and an owner arrived at the sale. "He was getting paraded around and I thought he'd go for 15 (thousand)," he said.

"They started him at one (thousand) and then I bid 1500 and then there was a bit of mumbling and stumbling and I went to two and they went, he's yours.

"I said I could sell him tomorrow for $20,000 up north or out west."

Red Hot de Lago had previously had three starts for a second and two fourths and $4575 prizemoney.

Nolan figured that at $2000 he couldn't lose even if there was something wrong with the gelding ... but there wasn't.

"Straight after the sale, we had him scoped to make sure he wasn't a roarer and then we brought him straight home," he said.

"I also bought a Charge Forward filly for the same price."

Asked if he would now take the Red Hot de Lago to Brisbane, Nolan opted for a cautious approach. "We'll come back here for another one and then look to go to town," he said.

Starting at $1.70 with apprentice Luke Tarrant in the saddle, Red Hot de Lago beat Creditable ($5) by three and three-quarters-of-a-length with Miss Typin ($6.50) a further length away third.

Meanwhile, Nolan said Dodging Eddie, who he trains for a group of St Edmund's Old Boys, is about a third of the way through a six-month break after a swelling was found on a tendon.

Dodging Eddie's steadily improving career culminated in an unlucky narrow second placing in the Toowoomba Cup before a dream-come-true run for his owners in the Ipswich Cup.

The owners, breeder Michael Grieve, Tim and Ross Sauer, Craig Gillam, Nathan Lee, Michael Wiseman, David Richardson and Trent Quinn, also have a half sister to Dodging Eddie, a three-year-old called Ginger Express with Nolan.

So far Ginger Express has had two wins from five starts.

The next race meeting at Ipswich racetrack is next Thursday with the big Labour Day Monday meeting on October 7.



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