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, 31 December 2013


2013 Review
What a year it's been. A Record 16 individual winners, all owned in Partnerships run by Middleham Park Racing. Runners (sort of!!) at Cheltenham Festival, Aintree, Chester May, Royal Ascot, Glorious Goodwood, York Ebor, Doncaster St Leger, Ayr Gold Cup Meetings. Trips to all the above plus Punchestown and Arc de Triomphe (first time).
Naturally the enigmatic and marvellous MAD MOOSE got the most publicity for good and bad reasons. His 2013 kicked off with his most remarkable jumps performance to finish 2nd at 50/1 to the superstar SPRINTER SACRE in the re-arranged Victor Chandler Chase at Cheltenham, where he beat class horses like Sanctuaire and Somersby off level weights. So that we didn't get too excited, Moosie then refused to race at both Chelteham and Aintree festivals. Just when we'd given up, Nigel decided that he'd trick Moose with stalls and he shocked us all by not only running, but winning his Maiden at 28/1 and becoming the first 9 year old to win a Flat Maiden for over 18 years. His next run was even more remarkable, again jumping sweetly from the stalls at Chester, to run a blinder to finish 2nd in the Group 3 Ormonde Stakes behind the subsequent Melbourne Cup 3rd Mount Athos.
That proved too much excitement for Moosie and he refused point blank at York and gave himself an impossible task at Royal Ascot. The summer break doesn't seem to have improved his demeanour and his behaviour at Cheltenham and Sandown has left his racing future in the hands of the BHA.
Never boring and a horse of a lifetime to be involved with, his owners and his 3000 twitter followers hope this isn't the last we see of MAD MOOSE

I remember visiting Richard Fahey's yard in February when I agreed to buy a share in a lovely Footstepsinthesand Filly, a half sister to Richard Hannon's very good 3 year old Wentworth. SANDIVA made her debut on the same day that Mad Moose placed at Chester and we watched her streak home for her maiden win. At only £18,000 purchase price, she already attracted lots of interest from potential buyers before going over to Ireland to win a Listed contest at Naas very easily. The phones never stopped ringing and eventually we agreed to sell her to Sheikh Joaan Al Thani from Qatar, prior to her Royal Ascot 2nd place. A very difficult decision but the price paid was massively over normal market price and was quite simply one the owners couldn't refuse. Most of the Middleham Park owners are normal working men and women and this enabled me to continue with my ownership and also start my own venture, more to follow later.

Most wins by one horse came from the 3 year old LEXINGTON PLACE, a half brother to Stewards Cup winner Rex Imperator. At the start of the season, Richard Fahey had dubbed him 'The Best Handicapped horse in Yorkshire' but despite a maiden win in April he looked very disappointing until Richard suggested he moved yards to the incredibly successful David O'Meara yard. 4 consecutive handicap wins followed in 25 days and he continued to progress with brilliant placed runs at York and Goodwood. A great prospect for Sprint Handicaps next year.

Another Richard Fahey inmate TATLISU proved to be a most progressive sprinter who will continue to improve as he goes into his 4 year old career. 2 wins and a series of consistent performances saw him progress to a mark of 84 with a brilliant 3rd place in the Ayr Bronze Cup. Another sprinter to follow.

Richard Fahey also got a victory out of the ultra-consistent OUR BOY JACK, David O'Meara squeaked a flat win from MINELLA THEATRE and Champion trainer Richard Hannon got DOUGLAS PASHA in front at Wolverhampton back in March.
The brilliant Ruth Carr, finally got reward for her patience when she managed to get VICTOIRE DE LYPHAR his first win for 3 years. Possibly one of the most satisfying wins of the season and delighted that Ruth will continue to look after Vic in the future.
Finally a conversation with the MPR team, whilst celebrating TATLISU'S great 3rd place in the Ayr Bronze Cup, persuaded me to take up a share in the Richard Fahey trained Major Cadeaux 2 year old filly LATENIGHTREQUEST. The very next day she swept from last to first to win a valuable nursery at Ayr and followed up a few weeks later at Haydock. She's improved for the step up to a mile and could be really exciting as a 3 year old over a trip.

The next few months should be very exciting with the John Quinn trained Novice Chaser DISTIME returning after a year off and looking very exciting, the classy dual Lincoln winner SWEET LIGHTNING going over to Dubai to run in classy Handicaps at the Carnival for David O'Meara and his stablemate STAND MY GROUND being trained for the Lincoln at Doncaster in March.
Finally the last piece of the jigsaw is next years potential superstar 2 year old in the hands of Richard Fahey, another Footstepsinthesand filly out of the mare Moonbi Ridge and a half sister to Black Type performers Exhibition and Annaboda. Another Sandiva?, lets hope so!!


As I mentioned, the sale of Sandiva enabled me to purchase the very handsome MISSION TO MARS from Nigel Twiston-Davies in July. Mission to Mars had finished 3rd in a decent Irish Point to Point before being bought by Nigel at the April Cheltenham Sale. Marty is a great stamp of a horse, related to Bosun's Mate and Young Hustler and will make a lovely chaser in time.

Marty has had One Bumper run and 2 Novice Hurdles, so far, finishing just behind Paul Nicholls' very promising Facino Rustico at Newbury in his best run to date. He runs for my Partnership Staplegrove Racing and will hopefully be out again early in the New Year before he goes Novice Handicapping, where I'm confident he can pick up a race or two.

 All in all a fabulously successful and exciting year, with plenty more Dreams and Disasters to follow in 2014.

Dave Arthur 31st Dec 2013

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