The “Wyong Wonder” Isorich has been racing for so long he has outlasted six prime ministers.
When Isorich made his race debut in 2013, it was a tumultuous era in federal politics when Tony Abbott become the nation’s third prime minister in a matter of months, succeeding Julia Gillard and Kevin Rudd.
On the sporting field that year, Australia reclaimed the Ashes for the first time in seven years with a 5-0 whitewash of England, Sydney Roosters won the NRL Grand Final and Hawthorn were AFL premiers.
Gai Waterhouse trained her first Melbourne Cup winner with Fiorente, Black Caviar retired unbeaten after 25 races and The Everest was only a mountain, not a horse race.
In the years since, the prime minister’s office seemed to have a revolving door with Malcolm Turnbull taking over, then Scott Morrison before Anthony Albanese – but Isorich has kept racing and winning.
At Rosehill Gardens on Saturday, the ageless Isorich brings up a significant career milestone with his 150th race start in the Midway Handicap (1200m) at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday.
Trainer Wayne Seelin said his 12-year-old gelding who goes by the stable name of “Lenny” simply loves to run.
“Isorich still thinks he’s a young horse but at the same time he is very wise and virtually trains himself every morning,” Seelin said.
“He’s a quirky horse because he won’t go out on the track on his own. He will wait for another horse to gallop with him.
“Then when he comes in after his work, he will walk straight to the water bucket and I’ll take his bridle off.
“He doesn’t go into the tie-up stables like the rest of them because he won’t run away but will find his own way back to his box.”
During the past decade, Isorich has contested races over a combined distance of more than 140km, winning 16 times and placing in another 35, earning just over $800,000 prizemoney.
In an era where multimillion-dollar yearlings are commonplace and some racehorses are retired to stud after just a handful of starts, Isorich is an anachronism.
Isorich is the epitome of a bargain basement buy with Seelin purchasing the sprinter for just $7,500 at the 2012 Scone Yearling Sale.
“I had a quick look at him before the sale and he was a well-bred horse by Choisir and I wrote down in the catalogue that I wouldn’t be able to afford him,” Seelin said.
“But he was Lot 2 and there was only about eight people sitting in the ring when he came in.
“I heard the auctioneer stop at $3,500 so that is when I started bidding and got him for $7,500.”
Isorich has been winning every year since he started his racing career and is one of the few horses to be successful on every city track – Rosehill, Royal Randwick, Kensington, Warwick Farm and Canterbury.
Seelin’s spritely sprinter might be the rank outsider at $61 for his 150th race at Rosehill on Saturday but he is not just making up the numbers, either, as his recent form includes a win at his home track of Wyong late last year.
If Isorich can cause an upset and win on Saturday, he will be the oldest horse to win a Sydney race since Mustard scored as a 13-year-old in 2010.
Soon after Mustard won that race the compulsory retirement age for the equine athlete was introduced which means a horse can’t race beyond their 12-year-old season.
So, Isorich’s race career will come to an end on July 31 and although Seelin admitted it will be disappointing when that day arrives, he has no problem with the rule.
“I would hate for Isorich to keep racing into next season and for something to go wrong three weeks later – you can be a villain pretty quick in this game,” Seelin said.
“So, I’m happy to accept the umpire’s decision, he will keep racing until the cut-off date and then he can spend his days in the paddocks on my property.
“He’s already paid off my house and built my swimming pool. He owes me nothing but I owe him a good life after racing.”
The oldest city winner of the modern era, winning as a 13-year-old in August, 2010
Ran his last race as a 14-year-old in 2012
Contested 137 races for 17 wins and 30 placings
STAR OF UNIVERSE
His career total of 196 starts is a record in the modern era
Won 21 races from 2005 to 2014.
Ran until the final day of his 12-year-old season, finishing fifth at Canberra in 2015
Raced until compulsory retirement as a 12-year-old in July, 2020
He had 159 starts for 13 wins and 41 minor placings
Won twice at stakes level and earned over $1 million prizemoney
486 starts for 101 wins and 140 placings
Retired in September, 2020
Originally published as Veteran gelding Isorich to contest his 150th race at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday