Trent Busuttin and Natalie Young are Main Stage’s co-trainers.
The Dusty Boys group of Richmond midfielders thought buying a stake in a racehorse for fun would lead to a day out at a country race meeting.
Instead, their team-bonding exercise called Main Stage has a chance at winning his own grand final in Saturday’s $1.5 million Victoria Derby.
Main Stage has become known as Brownlow and Norm Smith medallist Dustin Martin’s horse, even though the Dusty Boys together only own a five per cent share.
The syndicate’s name started off as a bit of a joke, at Martin’s expense.
“(Assistant coach) Andrew McQualter just did that more so because it would annoy Dusty,” premiership player Josh Caddy told AAP.
“As you know he doesn’t really like much attention being on him. He likes to keep a low profile, just play footy and that’s about it.
“We sort of did it as a joke at the start and it’s gained a bit of traction obviously with the year we’ve had and the year he’s had individually as well.”
The group will be hoping their luck rubs off for Main Stage after their 37-year drought-breaking premiership win and Martin’s historic Brownlow Medal, premiership medallion and Norm Smith Medal treble.
Main Stage’s co-trainer Trent Busuttin certainly hopes so.
Busuttin and training partner Natalie Young won the Victoria Derby with Sangster in 2011 while they were based in New Zealand.
The Cranbourne trainers have three confirmed starters in this year’s race, although Sully and equal second favourite Main Stage have both drawn outside barriers.
“They’ve both drawn terribly so they’re going to need a bit of luck,” Busuttin said.
Main Stage’s large group of owners includes the Dusty Boys of Martin, Caddy, McQualter, Reece Conca, Dion Prestia, Anthony Miles and Toby Nankervis, while Richmond runner Richie Horrocks also has a stake.
The midfield group thought it would be a bit of fun to have an interest together outside football, Caddy said.
“We thought maybe we’d be able to have a day out in the country somewhere together and go and watch our horse run,” he told reporters on Friday.
“It turns out it’s running in the Derby at Flemington.”
Caddy and Prestia are certain starters at Flemington on Saturday, although many of the Tigers will be in Tasmania for Jack Riewoldt’s wedding.
Caddy is not sure if Martin will be trackside, although his name is on the guest list for some of the Birdcage marquees.