NRL great Billy Slater’s lucrative new career
NRL legend Billy Slater has traded footballs for racehorses in his new career as a thoroughbred breeder and has everything riding on lot 402 in the Magic Millions yearling sales on The Gold Coast on Wednesday.
"He was our only foal this year," Slater said of the brown colt that will go under the hammer at the annual sale of high-quality horseflesh.
But what a horse. One of the last to be sired by the late champion Redoute's Choice out of Inishowen, it has race-winning bloodlines and has attracted huge attention from the trainers and owners who have made it through Queensland's strict COVID restrictions to attend the sales.
"He has grown up at the farm and is really one of the family," Slater said. "We are sad to let him go."
Slater spent a day in quarantine at The Star waiting for his COVID test result to come back before heading out to the sales complex. Because of the coronavirus his wife Nicole and horse-mad children Tyla and Jake stayed at home on the farm in Victoria.
He is one of the few big name ambassadors to make it to the annual yearling sale with the Queen's pregnant granddaughter Zara Phillips and husband Mike Tindall locked down in the UK and Argentinian polo star Nacho Figueras and former model wife Delfina Blaquier in Argentina.
The annual polo match has been cancelled because of the coronavirus but the carnival's traditional early morning ride along the beach yesterday went ahead - minus the rivalry between Slater and Figueras. "I missed Nacho during the beach race," Slater said afterwards.
Magic Millions co-owner Katie Page said the beach race and barrier draw for Saturday's $10 million race day would still go ahead.
"We had to not go ahead with a lot of events this year but the event that was sacrosanct to us was doing the Barrier Draw and the race on the beach," she said.
The pared down carnival has not detracted from the sale which has still generated huge attention from international buyers, many attending remotely.
It began well with only the seventh horse to go on sale, a colt sired by I Am Invincible, fetching $800,000 - more than three times the price champion Winx fetched when she was sold at the same sale in 2013.
Originally published as NRL great Billy Slater's lucrative new career