Khristina Vasko has tasted success on the race course. She was a recent winner of the prestigious WA Country Cups Fashion On The Field in Albany and is now in line as a wildcard entrant to win a trip to next year’s Royal Ascot carnival in England.
Khristina now wants to experience that winning feeling on the race track, this time as an owner, sharing the spoils of victory with her partner, Mark Windram.
Khristina and Mark have visions of socialising in the owners bar at Ascot, sipping champagne with friends and revelling in the thrill and excitement after one of their horses wins a race.
Khristina and Mark have been regulars at the races for years, enjoying a day out and having the occasional flutter, but to take the next step and realise an ambition to become owners seemed a distant dream.
But thanks to Racing and Wagering Western Australia’s (RWWA) Own The Dream series, what was once just a fantasy has now turned to reality with Khristina and Mark dipping their toes into thoroughbred ownership.
“I’ve always been very interested in racing, mainly for the social side and having a little dabble in betting, but never really took it to the next level or more seriously than that,” Vasko said.
“Then last year Mark and I were talking about potentially looking into horse ownership, but we had no idea how to begin or how to go about it.
“We kind of parked it and thought maybe one day at a later time, but we then heard about Own The Dream initiative.
“We thought it was a good opportunity to meet fellow owners, but also the trainers and the people that can make it happen for us.
“It was really only in the last six months we thought ‘wow’ this could happen and it’s all thanks to the Own The Dream process.”
Own The Dream is an initiative by RWWA that was designed to give prospective participants a rare insight into the racing industry.
A series of events were conducted ahead of last February’s Magic Millions Perth yearling sale including stable tours, stud tours and a masterclass in how to read a sale book.
Khristina said the Own The Dream concept was an important step in demystifying horse ownership for first time buyers.
“It can be daunting walking up to a trainer and you don’t want to look silly,” Khristina said.
“You also don’t know the risks associated and the costs involved.
“The tours taught us the costs didn’t have to be so high.
“We didn’t realise you could buy into a horse with whatever you could afford.
“I thought it was going to cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.
“We went in thinking it was going to be unattainable, but then it became attainable.”
Furnished with increased racing knowledge and inspired that it wouldn’t cost a fortune to buy a share in a horse, Khristina and Mark took the important step of choosing a trainer.
After meeting a host of Perth’s leading horseman during Own The Dream stable tours, Khristina and Mark jumped at the opportunity of teaming up with Trevor Andrews.
“We just a good vibe about Trevor and bought into two of his yearlings,” Khristina said.
“There was just something about him that stuck with us.
“Also what got me is that if he doesn’t think a horse should run he won’t make it run.
“That stuck with me because I still feel the animal is the most important thing in all this process and I respect him for that.”
Good judges say once the racing bug bites it stays in your blood forever. Khristina, enamoured with her two yearlings, is already looking ahead to next year’s Magic Millions yearling sale.
“We will probably look at next year and buy another one, just add to the portfolio.” Khristina said.
“If it all goes well we will keep on investing, I can’t see us stopping really.
“This is not the end for us.”