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.

Monday, 17 October 2011

So Close and Yet So Far

Friday 14th October saw a bright sunny day at the home of National Hunt Racing, Cheltenham, where the Nigel Twiston-Davies trained Mad Moose was having his second run for us in the light blue silks. Nigel and his Head Lad Sparky were very confident of a big run and young Sam was his usual effusive self explaining exactly how he was hoping the race would be run. Mad Moose got away very slowly at the back of the field but soon got into his rhythm and crept closer coming down the hill for the second time. As he turned into the straight he burst into the lead and jumped the second last clear in front. The shouts of "Come on the Moose" soon turned silent as suddenly his legs turned to jelly and he paddled the last just in front and battled up the hiull for an honourable third place at 11/4 Fav.

Sam confirmed that he had travelled and jumped really well but just ran out of gas between the last 2 fences. Nigel immediately suggested coming back for the Paddy Power Meeting over a slightly shorter trip. My immediate sense of disappointment soon turned to pride with the reality that in Mad Moose we have a horse good enough to tackle all the good novice chases this winter and hopefully end up at the festival in March.

My Moment was meant to be running at Cheltenham on Saturday to try to regain his confidence following his disappointing run at Market Rasen. The firm ground had given us the small field we needed but unfortunately the lovely weather left Tim Vaughan with no choice but to pull him out because of the ground. He may now go to Fakenham next Friday, where we would love to find a 4 or 5 runner field.

I took the opportunity to visit Ascot for the British Champions Day and again was blessed with the most glorious day. The prize money on offer was spectacular but it was a shame that some of these races only had Group 2 or 3 status, the sprint offering £100,000 to the winner, less than some of the sales races and not much more than the Big Sprint handicaps like the Ayr Gold Cup. I believe they are looking at upgrading all the races next year. Star of the show was Frankel, he got a round of applause when he entered the parade ring before the race and a roar when he returned after his 9th victory in a row. It was great to see so many people desperate to see the horse who has captured the imagination of everyone this year and incredibly generous of Prince Khaled to keep him in training next year. Wonder if any of our Hannon 3 yr olds can take him on next year!!!

Over at Catterick, the Hannon trained Not Bad For a Boy tried to win his maiden over 7f. We fancied him to run a really big race after his break but he ran really disappointingly, running on into 5th place after the race was over. He never looked comfortable and got in and out of trouble throughout the race. The jockey Kieran O'Neill reported that NBFAB never acted on the soft ground at any stage so the run is probably best forgotten. Bought for just £26,000 at Doncaster last summer by the brilliant Doyle team, who buy so many of the Hannon squad, he has fallen in that intermediate area of a 71 rated 2 year old, probably not quite good enough to win his maiden (and the £10k Bonus, which is so important) and probably unlikely to make a lot in the Horses in Training Sales. The Hannons will advise whether they think he will develop into a much better 3 year old and we will make our end of season decision soon.

Monday brought the long awaited debut of Midnight Tryst, a lovely filly in training with Ann Duffield. I was attracted to Midnight, specifically beacause she is a half sister to Midnight Martini who won the DBS Sales race at York, two years ago, taking home the £147,000 first prize. A very cheap £14,000 purchase from the same Doncaster Sale, she has taken a long time to come to hand as she has continued to grow, whilst showing significant promise. She has also been held up for the last month by an aversion to the stalls. Ann and her team have done a brilliant job trying to sort her head out, so it was a pleasure to see her jump out on terms with the others today. The booking of Champion Jockey, Paul Hanagan, clearly alerted the bookies to her chances and 12/1 soon became as low as 5/1 during the morning and early afternoon. Midnight was caught out wide during the early stages and Paul gave her a superb sympathetic ride, educating her as she ran green and she chased home the first two favourites (who had run before) clearly coming out as the horse to follow from the race finishing in 3rd place. Hopefully we can get her out again before the end of October to try to pick up her Bonus Maiden and make a big dent in the years training costs.

Guava may go to Brighton on Thursday, My Moment may run at Fakenham on Friday and Refusetosurrender may finally beat the ballot mark on Friday!!

Have a Great Racing Week.

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