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By Graham Potter | Saturday, February 1, 2020

Graham Potter writes a weekly column for the Sunshine Coast daily. Due to demand from those having trouble accessing the paper these columns are now also published on HRO courtesy of the Sunshine Coast daily.

It wasn’t quite shock and horror when the $2.8 million dollar purchase Mount Fuji finished fourteen lengths back on debut at Randwick last Saturday.

Afterall, the winner was Mount Fuji’s better fancied stable companion Rulership (who scored at a starting price of $2.90 as opposed to Mount Fuji’s price of $4.80) … but the manner of the multi-million-dollar baby’s ‘failure’ in the opening play of his racing career did raise many eyebrows.

While it would be palpably unfair to judge a raw two-year-old on one performance, Mount Fuji’s future, currently at least, is more up in the air than it was prior to the race.

Having said that, he is with one of the best conditioners in the country in Peter Snowden. If anybody can push the restart button to good effect it will be Snowden and so you would think that James Harron Blockstock, who outlaid that $2.8 million, will still be backing their judgement moving forward.

Harron, who has already enjoyed several major successes as an owner, reportedly said at the time of purchase.

"He's the best yearling I've seen for years," said Harron. "He's a very unique and special horse, he was the one we wanted and you have to push for those ones. I'm very excited to get him, beautiful pedigree, beautiful physique, a great attitude and a great demeanour to go with it. He looks very precocious. He really does tick all the boxes.”

Whatever happens from here … Mount Fuji could well find his feet and go on with it and become a more formidable racing proposition and, all staying intact, he could end up having a lucrative career at stud … the old argument that you can’t buy success has been raised once again … and that is just so true in the world of racing.

High flyers have come in and crashed heavily. Million-dollar purchases have fizzled instead of firing while, on the other side of the coin, battlers have picked up a horse on the cheap and made their fortune.

Joe Janiak and Takeover Target will forever be the poster boys in this regard. Janiak, then a humble taxi driver, purchased Takeover Target for $1375.00. The champion went on the win over $6 million in prize-money and took Janiak all the way to Royal Ascot.

For the record, Australia’s top money winner Winx (who won $26 million) was a $230 00 purchase. Black Caviar, unbeaten in twenty-five starts with $7.9 million in the bank was a $210 000 purchase while Redzel, who harvested The Everest riches back to back, was a $120 000 bargain.

Not a million-dollar purchase in sight there … never mind a $2 million plus purchase … so, in terms of racing returns, Harron was already looking to buck a trend with that outlay for Mount Fuji. Possible forward-looking stud fees would have been factored into that equation but the overall fact of life is that racing is a great leveller.

In fact, a major part of the intrigue and attraction of the game is exactly that … and that was the message that was again spelt out at Randwick on Saturday.

Whether you have $2.8 million or $1375.00 you can pay your money and take your chances … and nobody knows who will come out on top.

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