When TDN AusNZ called to chat through Eduardo's remarkable rise from victory in a Moe maiden to G2 Caulfield Sprint success in the space of four months, Jane Kaufmann was tending to the 11 horses on her 55-acre property south-east of Melbourne and soaking in what has happened.
"I've got broodmares and ex-racehorses. And they are sitting here out in the sun, if I could take a picture, it is just beautiful," she said. "Most of my winnings go to keeping these horses happy."
"Most of my winnings go to keeping these horses happy." Jane Kaufmann
"I've been a single mum and since my daughter has grown up and got married and had kids, this is my passion. I love doing it. I love the animal, I really love the animal."
Less than 12 months ago, a then unbroken 4-year-old who would later be named Eduardo, sat in a paddock with no signs of a racing future on the horizon. Neither Jane, nor co-owner Nick Cresci could have realised the gold mine they were sitting on.
"It was pretty simple. We are not rich people and we didn’t have the money to send him off to be trained," she said. "There's so many rumours going around as why he was so late to be broken in, but it was just a money thing."
Eight years ago, Kaufmann and Cresci had gone halves in an unraced Fantastic Light (USA) mare who sold for $4000 at the Melbourne March Thoroughbred Sale. The mare, Blushing, was in foal to Domesday, and they raced the resultant foal, named My Angus, for one win from 11 starts as well as a placing at Flemington.
The start of a great friendship
It was towards the end of My Angus' career that Kaufmann decided to send him to a young trainer who she had become friends with when working in the office at Enver Jusufovic's, Sarah Zschoke.
"I used to work in the office one day a week and she worked in the afternoons there. She used to have to come past me to go the bathroom. We got to know each other and started talking," Kaufmann said.
"When she was going for her trainers' license, she had to answer a lot of financial questions, like how much WorkCover costs were and that sort of stuff and I helped her."
"I just thought, she really noticed things about the horses and she seemed to care about the horses." Jane Kaufmann on trainer Sarah Zschoke
"We got quite friendly and then when we were looking for a trainer for My Angus and Sarah had her horse racing at the time called Riddleofthesphinx. I just thought, she really noticed things about the horses and she seemed to care about the horses."
"It was the way she placed her horses and she really, really loves them and I do too. I like to know if they want to stay in a yard, they can stay in a yard and that they aren't going to be sitting in boxes 23 hours a day. That was important to me. She was happy to do that."
When Kaufmann decided she wanted to race My Angus' 5-year-old half-sister by Keffelstein, she didn't hesitate who to call.
"She sat in my paddock for many years until we got Sarah to pick her up and break her in. She won at her first start at Pakenham in record time. But she was quite a heavy horse. Sarah found it pretty hard to keep her sound," she said.
It was only when that mare, Watch Me Blush, retired in January this year that thoughts turned to her younger brother, by the imported stallion Host.
Looking for a Host
A few years earlier, Cresci had sent Blushing and another mare he owned, Bucotic (Rubiton), to Swettenham Stud. Blushing had gone to Host, while Bucotic went to Kaphero.
He would be Blushing's last foal.
"Apparently they found her in the paddock, dead from a snakebite," Kaufmann said.
"He is just beautiful and just a really nice horse. But I wouldn’t say that before he went into training, he was going to be a superstar." - Jane Kaufmann
The cost of training fees made keeping multiple horses in work impossible and Eduardo, who gave no indication yet of his ability, would have to wait a long time to show his talent. Kaufmann said he always showed the patience and manners of a gentleman.
"When he turned up with this other colt in the paddock, the other colt was really dumb, and when I'd go in with a feed bucket, the other one would barge forward and could be quite dangerous," she said.
"Eduardo used to walk in front of the other one and keep him away from me so that everything was ok."
"He is just beautiful and just a really nice horse. But I wouldn’t say that before he went into training, he was going to be a superstar."
It didn't take long once he was broken in and put into work for Kaufmann, Zschoke and her partner and jockey Brian Park to realise they had something special.
"If you’d seen his trial and Cranbourne before he went to Moe, it was unbelievable. He won by ten lengths and Brian didn’t even look like he was riding him," she said.
"It all feels very unreal. Every time I go to the races, I think 'well he won't do it this time'. It’s bloody amazing, it’s really, really amazing." Jane Kaufmann
He then bolted in by six lengths on debut at Moe, before winning by 3.25l at Sandown next time out.
He resumed with a second in an open handicap at Caulfield last month before finishing a close second in the G2 Gilgai S. at Flemington. On Saturday, he showed his versatility, sitting wide and powering home to claim the feature sprint at Caulfield at just his fifth start.
"It all feels very unreal. Every time I go to the races, I think 'well he won't do it this time'. It’s bloody amazing, it’s really, really amazing," she said.
With Eduardo now having a well-earned spell, Zschoke is setting her sights on the feature sprinting handicaps in the autumn such as the Oakleigh Plate and the Newmarket Handicap.
"I think that's what will be happening, You have to give it a go don’t you." Kaufmann said. "But I've had enough horses to know that it can stop in a minute."
The conversation is interrupted briefly.
"I've got his brother My Angus here with me now and he's just stuck his head in the back of the Landcruiser here," she laughs.
You get the feeling that Jane wouldn't want to be anywhere else in the world.