Les Ross wants to repay owner Mike Crooks with a QTIS Jewel
Les Ross and larrikin owner Mike Crooks backed a two-year race in Queensland at the start of the season, now looking for a big paycheck to fulfill their commitment to QTIS racing.
The duo are known for their early two-year-old runners and are set to enter Saturday’s $500,000 QTIS Jewel 2YO tournament with a four-man team led by the impressive Mishani Royal.
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Such is Ross’s commitment to Crooks and QTIS, he has postponed retirement plans for two years as they anticipate one of their most productive years.
QTIS is a lucrative bonus scheme offered to horses raised in Queensland.
After pulling Ross out of his pub in Beaudesert, where he sang karaoke for $300 a night, Crooks raised his team of horses “Mishani” and is one of the top QTIS medalists every year.
Ross credited the more than vital character Crooks for convincing him to return to training.
“After all, if it wasn’t for Crooksey, I wouldn’t be here today,” Ross said.
“We sold the stables and now they are being demolished because I was going to give them away.
“I told (Crooks) that I would serve two more years, but.
“QTIS (bonuses) is what makes this whole operation work, we are almost on our way to $2 million this year and half of that amount will come from QTIS.
“Next season, he (Crooks) is talking about $2.5 million.
“We only start at QTIS races, that’s where we’re going – they don’t have enough for me, but I understand that you can’t do four or five every Saturday.
“I will never understand why people have QTIS horses and don’t race QTIS, that’s crazy to me.”
Ross said Mishani Royale is the standout player on his team of four runners and believes the missed start in the $2 million Magic Millions earlier this year may be to her credit.
With a huge team of horses every year, a couple must choose which ones they pay an entry fee for before they start their racing career, and Mishani Royal never made it to the roster.
“We didn’t pay with her for the Magic Millions when she was a young horse in the paddock, she cut her leg and when it came time to pick them and skip, we didn’t include her,” Ross said of the race. Winner of the Golden Pearl.
“The break may have been good for her, but I like Kobayashi (sir), I think they are good horses – I hope she can continue to do what she used to do, she was always a loser, and now she is being hunted.”
While Michani Royale is the #1 seed, Ross is wary of the spin doctor trained by Steve O’Dea and Matt Hoysted, who was an impressive debut winner in the last start.
Ross also called Rupert’s Sydney raider home a major threat.
“The horse that Jimmy Orman rides for Bjorn Baker (Rupert’s House) looks pretty smart and then Steve O’Dea – he’s won with the lead pony for now, he’s flying.”
Originally published as Les Ross seeks QTIS Jewel after Magic Millions disappointment for loyal owner Mike Crooks