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.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Up against the Big Battalions

A fascinating and exciting week's racing, where despite a couple of great runs, I was reminded how hard it is to get winners in this game, when faced with the might of the Big Stables and Big Owners.

MAD MOOSE went to Wincanton to contest the very hot, Gd 1 Rising Stars Novice Chase, won in Previous years by Gold Cup Winner See More Business, Grand National Winners, Bindaree and Comply or Die and RSA Chase winner One Knight and last seasons top Novice and Aintree and Punchestown winner Wishfull Thinking.

                                                                MAD MOOSE

The ground had turned a little softer than Moose likes but he went off 4th Favourite behind Paul Nicholls' strongly fancied favourite Silvianaco Conti. I attended with my two sons and found that I was MPR's sole representative at the races, so had the pleasure of chatting to Mrs T-D and Sam before the race in the parade ring on my own. Mad Moose went off in front and put in a fine round of jumping, getting just outpaced on the slow ground when the favourite went on in the final half a mile. Moose was staying on past the tiring Kilcrea King, when that horse pulled up leaving Sam and Moose to cruise home in second place behind the easy winner. Sam came in beaming as Moose had run a cracking race on conditions that wouldn't have suited him and picked up a very healthy 2nd prize of over £6000. After the race we realised that we shared the remainder of the prize money with the winner making the prize over £9000, not bad for an afternoons work. The winner is clearly held in very high regard by the powerful Ditcheat team and currently sits 5th favourite for the RSA Novice Chase at the Festival in March.

Mad Moose is such a tough battler and absolutely fits the profile of so many of Nigel's top chasers of the past. Not quite championship class as a novice but tough and gutsy and nailed on to run in Top staying chases for a number of years to come. Given his preference for decent ground, I believe that Moose could well pick up a top race at either Punchestown or Liverpool next spring and who knows maybe a Scottish National!!! - As I've titled the Blog - DREAMS and disasters. Fingers Crossed.

That afternoon, GUAVA tried to follow up her good third place in the final day nursery on very soft conditions at Doncaster. The race didn't go her way but again she was staying on over what now looks like an inadequate 6f. It loooks like we will perservere on the AW in order to try and add some value to her but these races are becoming more and more difficult to win.

The GODOLPHIN Team seem to have chosen to clean up these late season and All weather nurseries and maidens, making it increasingly impractical and financially unviable, to run relatively cheap horses through the winter. Guava finished a fine 3rd Place at Brighton in October, picking up just £336, behind 2 horses owned by Godolphin. Given that it costs roughly £2000 per month to keep Guava racing, she needs to win at least 1 race per month to stand still and not lose all her value. The horses that beat her were ABHAATH, a 400,000 usd purchase, trained by Saeed Bin Suroor and a half brother to US Gd 1 winner Hot Dixie Chick and OSCAN, a home bred son of Street Cry and a half brother to St Leger winner Mastery and Gp 1 winner Kirklees. The winner picked up roughly £2000, clearly meaningless to the massive 'Boys in Blue' operation, but the lifeblood of the smaller owner.

To rub it in, NOT BAD FOR A BOY made his comeback on 11 November in a modest 0-75 Nursery at Lingfield, where he ran a much improved race, only to be beaten into 2nd by the Godolphin owned ASIFA, a half brother to Listed placed Maali. Again we would like to keep him on the go over the winter but unless he can win his share, costs will quickly outrun the horse's value.

Like any owner, Godolphin are entitled to run their horses, wherever they chose, my point is, that if they continue to be so active with these very well bred horses, then the decision to sell on or keep our horses, may be very different in seasons to come.

Still waiting for TRUE BLUE and BENEFIT OF YOUTH  to run, waiting for the right opportunity for both, but should be out soon. MY MOMENT will aim for Fakenham after bursting a small blood vessel at Ascot, which might explain his lacklustre run.

On the DREAMS front, this week brings the invitations to the DUBAI CARNIVAL 2012 - Watch this space for news.

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