I dreamt of owning a racehorse ever since those first vists to Taunton Races at the age of 11. Those dreams came true when my friends and I bought our first horse, a 4 year old mare called Tashlee Grove in training with our friend Brian Forsey when I was 18. She never got to the racecourse but a few horses later I had my first ever winner in my own colours on 14th May 1991, when Lady Primrose won a selling handicap hurdle at Newton Abbot under young jump jockey Carl Llewellyn (who went on to win the Grand National on Party Politics the following spring).

There followed one more winner in my colours (Aldahe at Lingfield Park over hurdles) before grown up things like work, mortgage, marriage and children took up more of my finances. I became a serial Syndicate member with Elite, Full Circle, Henry Ponsonby to name but a few before I took a share in Outset with Mark Kilner Racing. Outset was very successful on both the flat and over jumps and took me to some big racedays which gave me a taste of the life of the owner.

In Autumn 2005, I took the plunge and took a share in a 2 horse syndicate with Highclere Thoroughbred Racing. The 2 horses were Squadron trained by Amanda Perrett and Treat trained by Mick Channon. Treat surpassed all my wildest dreams by finishing 2nd in the Fillies Mile at Ascot as a 2 year old and then 4th in the 1000 Guineas before eventually being sold to Sheik Mohammed to stand at Darley Stud in Japan.

In Jan 2008, I bought into my first horse managed by Middleham Park Racing, Bonnie Prince Blue, quickly followed by my first 2 year old Victoire de Lyphar. I have become very impressed by the syndicate and Nick, Tim and Mike who run it and have got carried away to the extent of now owning shares (generally 5 percent) of 18 different horses in separate syndicates with MPR.

I thought I would share my thoughts and experiences with anyone who might be interested. If you have any interest in racing, I hope that my experiences may tempt you into the wonderful world of racehorse ownership.

I hope you enjoy reading my blog.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Richard Hannon Stable Visit

Sunday morning and it's off on the road early to Richard Hannon's beautiful Herridge yard for the Middleham Park Racing Open Morning.

I've had the pleasure of visiting the Champion trainer's stables on many occasions and it is a most wonderful experience. The stunning surroundings and the mix of American Barns and traditional stable blocks give a sense of tranquility, amazing when you consider the 250+ horses in training here.

On this occasion it was the Champion trainer himself, Richard Snr, ably assisted and guided by his trusty Head Lads Tony and Steve, who guided our group of about 30 round the yard. Firstly we were able to go to the 'Parade Ring' where the 5 horses currently in training were trotted round with their number cloths for easy identification, and then brought in one by one for photos, Richard has never been one for telling you if your horse could win the Guineas or a seller but chatted about each horse, the phrase "a very nice horse" and his usual witty banter, belying the obvious genius of the man.
                                       NOT BAD FOR A BOY                                                       
                                                                   MAYO LAD
                               SIR LEXINGTON                                    

It was then up to the gallops to see Esentepe, Guava, Mayo Lad (Canford Cliff's half brother) and Not Bad for a Boy do a nice piece of work. To my eye, the horse who seemed to have improved loads, was the filly Esentepe, who could well step up a class next year. My big hope Sir Lexington is back on the walker following an operation to remove a chip from his knee but he looked every inch the 3 year old miler, and remains my dream of owning a top class horse.

We were then treated to my first sight of the three 'Babies'. The three colts, were all bought at Doncaster's Premier Sales by a combination of the MPR buying team and Richard's extremely successful agents Peter and Ross Doyle, who have been responsible for the majority of the Hannon's recent superstars.

                                            RED CLUBS COLT (Red Refraction)
                                     COMPTON PLACE COLT (Douglas Pasha)

All three were brought into the barn and then long reigned for us to see them in action. The Red Clubs and Proclamation colts looked a lot more experienced than my Compton Place colt, but it transpired that he was only having his second go, as he had been brought in a bit later than the others.

This was a brilliant experience with Richard and Tim Palin talking through the horses, as both physical specimens and from a breeding/family perspective.

We then had time to visit the horses in their boxes, including Clare Island Boy, who is recovering from a fracture sustained in his last race. He appears to be making good progress and remains a very exciting 3 yr old prospect for his connections.

It was then down to the Shears Inn to chat through our hopes and dreams with the other owners, over a cuppa and a bacon roll, with the odd pint for the non drivers,, before making the journey home with those visions of success, reignited in my imagination. The chance to do this is a distant dream for most racing fans, but in MPR and the Hannon team, those dreams are within grasp and with shares still available in all three yearlings, I would beg you to have a go, if you can afford it.

 Details of the syndicates are on the Middleham Park Racing Website www.middlehamparkracing.net and only a phone call away.

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