MARCH AND APRIL OWNER INTERVIEW - PETER KERR

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Syndicate Manager at Kim Bailey Racing.

 I grew up in Llanelli, Wales. My mum was Welsh but my father was Scottish so my loyalties were divided particularly when it came to sport. I moved to London at 18 and now live in a village just south of Milton Keynes, so justifiably and to Mat’s frustration, I can support Scotland, Wales or England!

 I live with my partner, Andree (met on a blind date) and we are the proud parents of Darcie and Marcus. Darcie is back at home having left University achieving a distinction in her Landscape History Masters and is now an Historic Environment Consultant with Robinson Wild Consulting mainly producing Heritage and Archaeology statements for planning purposes. Marcus is currently studying Graphic Communication Design at Central St Martins in London.

Like many people my career has had disasters and success. I am not from a racing background and if you were to come to my home you would have no idea I was involved in racing, as my family have no interest in it at all. I have only ridden occasionally, mainly pony trekking on a beach in West Wales. The last time I rode a horse was on the Gower Peninsula not far from Swansea airport where a Parachutist landed on me. It was his first and probably last jump for charity.

 I actually trained to be an Accountant! Considering it took me 4 attempts to pass my O’level maths it was a bit of an odd profession for me to go into. I started off as a trainee bookkeeper for a travel firm based in London and after a couple of years, I was running a department looking after tour guides reconciling their excursion sales both in the UK and Europe. It was a great job especially through the summer as we would take on a lot of students for the season, so it was party party party!

After a while I realised it was not proper accounting, so went off to university on day realise to study. I passed my AAT but then half way through my CIMA qualification I realised accounting was not for me and did a Business degree instead. During this period, I joined a computer company, who supplied systems to GP surgeries. We would pay the GP’s to have access to patients data with the idea of selling the information onto insurance and medical companies. It was at this point I got involved in sales and after successfully getting the company through a period of near bankruptcy we were eventually taken over but unfortunately for me the new company restructured and I was made redundant.

How did you first get involved in Racing?

Shortly after being made redundant my career completely changed through buying a share in a racehorse with my redundancy money.  I have an old girlfriend to thank as she told me to do something different with my redundancy money, rather than just spending it on surviving. So, I ended up buying a share in a horse with Peter Harris either late 1993 or early 94, I must admit at the time I had never heard of him but he was a very successful Businessman, who became a racehorse trainer and I learnt a lot from him. After about 6 months or so he asked me to join the stables, to which I said I thought I knew about Horseracing but since coming up here on the weekends I know absolutely nothing. His reply was “exactly that is why I want you". I was a bit taken aback but he then went on to clarify that because I had a commercial background, I could help him with the marketing and sales as he was about to spend a large amount of money on advertising and the type of people it would attract would be just like me, so he didn’t want them being frightened off by someone with all the racing jargon. And that is where it all began. We had an incredible time, the stables were purpose built to cater for syndicates and we had some very good horses on the flat including Group 1 syndicate horse Primo Valentino, who went on to be a stallion. We started with 29 horses but by the time I left there were around 120 horses with 4 managers looking after over 70 syndicated horses.

 

How did you first get involved with Kim?

I left Peter after 10 years or so when I was approached by someone who wanted to be a racehorse trainer and thought it would be a challenge to try and set someone new up. I was very surprised that so many owners came with me to Newmarket, especially as 2 other syndicate managers had left a few months earlier to join Pat Eddery in his new career as a trainer, but by the end of our first season we had over 30 horses. I won’t bore you with the details but unfortunately things did not workout. I almost lost everything including my home and reputation and to this day I’m still paying for the financial consequences. It was at this time I first met Kim at Preston Capes, as one of the owners I looked after moved his horse to him. We spoke about me getting involved then but the timing was not right. I needed to do something quickly to keep the wolves from the door, so I started up a courier business and ended up travelling all over the country clocking up over 120K miles a year.

After a couple of years I knew Kim had moved to Thorndale and had heard good things about Mat, so I popped in when passing and asked if I could try again at Syndicating. Thankfully Kim agreed.

Again, it probably wasn’t the best time to be starting a new venture as the Banking Financial crash had just happened and we were in recession but I could see Kim and Mat were determined to make it a success. Kim was also on the comeback trail after his well-documented nightmare time in Northamptonshire, so we both had something to prove. There were a few trainers who had approached me during my sabbatical but the set ups just didn’t feel right, whereas Thorndale did, it is such a magical place. It is important that owners feel welcome to visit the yard and are able to bring family and friends along.  I felt Thorndale had the room for owners to wonder around freely. Both Kim and Mat make my job a lot easier, as they are both approachable and appreciate how important syndicates are. When I first started at Thorndale I still continued with the Courier work for a year or two but after driving to make a delivery to Leeds- York - Durham and then rushed down to Ffos Las to watch a syndicate horse run all in one day I thought I could not continue doing both jobs and needed to concentrate on one, so I took the plunge and went full time with Kim.

What horses are you/have you been involved with both with Kim and other trainers

Currently looking after about 25 syndicates at Thorndale. The first horse that got me involved in racing was a sprinter named Primematch who ended up winning many races in Sweden! The most successful syndicated horse on the flat would be Primo Valentino, who was a Group 1 winner as a 2 year old and finished 7th in a very good 2000 Guineas behind King’s Best and Giant Causeway, he lead until the final furlong but just didn’t get the trip of a mile. He also, finished 4th in the July Cup

Katy Nowaitee who won the Cambridgeshire.

 Over jumps I bought and syndicated Tidal Fury, who won a Grade 1 in France and was champion horse of the year.

My first syndicate horse with Kim was Midnight Haze, who won 4 chases and ran in the Grand National. Does He Know will hold a special place in my heart as he was the first syndicate horse to win at Cheltenham, 4 times so far! and has won at Grade 2 level along with Vinndication and Younevercall.

 

What was your best/funniest experience on a racecourse? 

Believe it or not racing is quite stressful.  One of the hardest things I had to come to terms with was dealing with disappointment when a horse loses, unfortunately, in racing this happens more often than not but is worse with syndicates because of the number of people involved. When a horse doesn’t win or underperforms you are disappointed but you are also very disappointed for all the owners as well, and having to deal with that can really get you down but you have to learn to cope with it. I find running helps, oh have I mentioned that I have entered for this year’s London Marathon?

There are however great times that make it all worthwhile. There is nothing better than seeing owners losing their inhibitions screaming their horse home and celebrating afterwards. Many owners are surprised at how nervous we at Thorndale get before a race and how emotionally involved we are during the race; it means a great deal to us.

 One of my funniest moments but it wasn’t at the time, was with Peter Harris. We travelled to Leicester by helicopter and I thought I had plenty of time, so wondered off to get something to eat before meeting up with the owners later (there were no lunches for owners in those days). I was casually eating a beef bap in the stand watching horses going down to the start when I thought one of the horses looked very familiar and to my horror it was our horse!

On another occasion again at Leicester, when we had a winner, I had to go and see the stewards to explain why his form had improved, it hadn’t! just because he won didn’t mean he had improved but anyway I was stood there like a naughty school boy in front of the stewards when all I could see on the TV monitors behind them was continuous footage of the planes going into the Twin Towers, a very surreal moment making the enquiry feel incredibly trivial.

On another occasion I was just leaving York racecourse with a couple of owners when we decided to return to the owner’s bar because the queue out of the car park was long. In the bar we got chatting to a few others and then moved onto to a pub in the Yorkshire countryside, after which, everything became a blur. I remember being woken up by the most horrendous noise of a fighter jet taking off from RAF Northallerton. I was asleep on the floor in one of the barracks and have no recollection of how I got there! It was a very sheepish phone call to the office to say I might be a bit late in, especially as I had to get back to York to find my car first!

 

 

 

 

 

What is your favourite racecourse/race meeting?

Ascot, Cheltenham, Bangor and Ayr – all good at looking after owners

If you were in charge of racing for a day what would you change?

The current Handicap system, unfortunately I don’t know what with but we shouldn’t have a system that encourages cheating. I also think prize money should be considered when assessing a new mark for winning. It doesn’t feel right that you can win the Grand National worth half a million and go up 7lbs when you can also go up at least 7lbs for winning a 0-100 worth £3-4K

There is nothing worse than finishing a very close second, your handicap mark will go up almost as much as the winner but you have won a lot less prize money. Perhaps we could have a system of where the further you win a race the higher the percentage of the prize money you receive. Likewise, if you finish second by a nostril you almost get the same percentage as the winner. At least that will encourage riders not to drop their hands for fear of winning too far!

I would also introduce more handicap races where you must have run in at least say 3 previous handicaps. There is nothing worse than an older horse, who eventually comes back down to a winning mark only to be beaten by a horse running in a handicap for the first time, who has been under assessed.

I also believe a horse’s mark should not go up if they don’t complete.

Now away from racing - If you could trade lives with one person for an entire day who would it be and why?

 Sir Mohamed Muktar Jama Farah - So that I could complete the marathon effortlessly and in a very fast time! Have I mentioned that I have entered this years London Marathon on 21 April?

 If you could invite any 5 people for dinner who would they be?

 5 is not enough!

Keith Floyd- he could organise the cooking and drinks

Peter Ustinov – a fantastic raconteur and actor

Dave Allen- one of the funniest comedians I’ve seen perform

Paula Ratcliffe- for advice on how to run a marathon and avoid mishaps!

Nostradamus- he could tell me our next winner

 

Do you have a sweet tooth or a savoury tooth?

At the moment I’m sick of having to consume sweet gels or drinks for my marathon training, rapidly going off sugar, but I do love a custard slice and a corned beef pasty when visiting Fos Las

 

 

What is your favourite food, holiday, restaurant, tv programme?

A very hot curry or Kedgeree

Best series I’ve ever watched has to be Slow Horses, if you can cope with subtitles I would also recommend The Bridge but not the American version!

 Holiday- any sandy beach with good surf

If you could do anything you wanted right now, what would it be?

Be in the sea body surfing

 What are you most looking forward to?

 Finishing my marathon training plan! It is so tough, every single bone and muscle in my legs ache.

 I’m actually trying to raise money for a very good cause. WellChild are a charity that restructure residential properties to enable very sick children to be at home rather than staying in hospital. They also provide the nursing care.

Please click on the link below that will take you to my Justgiving page and any contribution will be more than welcome.

 

https://www.justgiving.com/page/peter-kerr-1690540128110?utm_medium=fundraising&utm_content=page%2Fpeter-kerr-1690540128110&utm_source=copyLink&utm_campaign=pfp-share

 

 

 

JANUARY & FEBRUARY OWNER INTERVIEW - EMMA FOWLER

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I live in a small village near Tewkesbury with my husband, our teenage son, and our two dogs. At present, much of my time is devoted to doing up our old cottage (aka the money pit!) which we moved into recently.

How did you first get involved in Racing?

 

Growing up a few miles from Cheltenham Racecourse, I went to my first race meeting there aged 7, was bitten by the racing bug and have been hooked ever since! (I’ve been trying to find a cure ever since too but have had no success so far!)

 

Already a horse lover, I was completely captivated by my first taste of National Hunt racing … the racehorses and jockeys, in their colourful silks, seemed larger than life, like magical creatures and brave heroes in some mythical tale … the smell of the turf, the sound of thundering hooves … witnessing up close the spectacle of man and beast soaring over the fences together as one, it seemed to me like they were flying without wings … pure magic! 

 

My parents weren’t into horses so after years of relentless begging I finally got my first pony when I was 10. A fiery chestnut mare … not the ideal beginners pony as it turned out! She was a bolter … particularly when riding out in company, as soon as her feet touched the grass she was off, absolutely flat out! She wouldn’t jump a twig either and used to whip round, quick as a flash, at everything (and at nothing)! But my parents said we couldn’t get another pony, it was her or nothing, and so my education began! It’s such a shame that there wasn’t pony racing back then (not in this country anyway) … she would’ve been perfect for it! She was most definitely a racehorse trapped in a pony’s body! 

 

I started working at a local racing yard on weekends and school holidays aged 13 and by the age of 16 I had decided that, despite getting straight A’s in my GCSEs, I was leaving school to follow my dream of becoming a jockey! My parents were, quite rightly, absolutely horrified!!!

 

I learnt to ride racehorses on the unforgiving but interesting terrain of Cleeve Hill where there was no such thing as an all weather surface, guide rails or clearly marked routes. The ground could be rock hard in the summer, frozen solid or covered in snow in the winter. The weather could change at frightening speed - bright sun one minute, thick fog the next. There were sheep and cattle grazing everywhere - sheep … not such a problem if you came across them while cantering in the fog as they could easily be jumped, cows … a bit more problematic! There were golfers and dog walkers and people flying kites! We were regularly chased by loose dogs which wasn’t such a problem if the dog was small but I remember one day being chased by a greyhound and thinking oh heck, I don’t think my horse is fast enough to outrun this one! There was never a dull day riding out on Cleeve Hill!

 

I was over the moon to be granted my amateur flat licence in 2002, however, I soon discovered that getting the licence is the easy part!! I didn’t get my first ride until 2003 when I also got my amateur jumps and Point to Point licences. People always told me I was too light for jump racing and should stick to the flat but NH was where my heart lay so, stubbornly, I persevered! In some Point to Points I had to carry so much extra weight that I needed two weight cloths! How the saddle didn’t slip I’ll never know … probably not even allowed these days (if it ever really was?!) … and certainly not advisable! … so perhaps they were right?! Rides were so hard to come by that there was quite literally no horse I would’ve turned down the ride on - flat or jumps! I got my category B amateur licence in 2005 which I was really chuffed about because opportunities were scarce and this meant I could ride in races not just confined to amateurs. Unfortunately I didn’t really get chance to reap any rewards from this because an injury in 2006 and resulting health issues (which still plague me) forced my very reluctant retirement from my beloved way of life. I unwillingly hung up my boots having managed to scrape together about 30 rides in all - an eclectic mix of flat, NH and Point to Points! - over a period of 4 to 5 years …. I only wish I’d had longer!

 

I didn’t become a jockey because I was born into it or because it was the only thing I knew how to do … since that first day at the races aged 7 it was the only thing in the world that I wanted to do! Even though I wasn’t cut out to be a jockey (physically or mentally!) and things didn’t turn out how I hoped, if I had the chance, I’d do it all again because to me, racing is pure magic!

 

 What horses are you/have you been involved with both with Kim and other trainers?

 

I am currently involved in a KBRS syndicate with Jack Hope. He is as yet unraced so it’s very exciting to be involved at such an early stage and I am really enjoying watching him as he develops into a racehorse!

 

I’ve been involved with several horses in the past in an owner/rider capacity but none that anyone will have heard of I expect! I still own one of those horses, whom I first became involved with in 2004 when he was 10. He’s been out on loan for a while now, enjoying his (very long) retirement, and he is turning 30 this year! The best way I can describe him (without using rude words) is as “a character” and having first been in training as a yearling in Newmarket, although only lightly raced, it’s amazing that he’s still going strong at 30. You’d find it hard to believe he was ever a racehorse to look at him now though … these days he more closely resembles a woolly mammoth!

 

 

What was your best/funniest experience on a racecourse?

 

Most of those probably involve alcohol and aren’t suitable for telling here so I’ll stick to safer ground! … 

I was walking back to the weighing room having just unsaddled after a hurdle race (my last, as it turned out) and a young girl approached me and asked for my autograph! My first reaction was to look over my shoulder to see if she was talking to someone behind me! Next I looked around to see if my sister (who often accompanied me racing) was lurking anywhere brandishing a tenner having bribed said youngster to ask me! After getting over my shock upon realising she was serious, I duly signed her race card (not as easy as it sounds when carrying a heavy saddle and with arms like jelly after the race) and off she went. The poor girl probably went away very disappointed thinking who the hell is this but it made my day! It’s the only time I’ve ever been asked for my autograph and the only time I’m ever likely to be!!!

 

What is your favourite racecourse/race meeting?

 

Cheltenham, of course!!! Although as incredible as the Festival is, I prefer the smaller meetings where you can move around more freely. The October meeting is a good one because there’s the excitement of having the whole new jumps season ahead. And Festival Trials Day too - the chance to see some great horses without feeling like a sardine!

 

 How did you first get involved with Kim?

I wanted to get involved in a syndicate and had heard great things about the KBR syndicates. Obviously … Kim is a racing legend! … so I knew of him even though I didn’t know him personally. And, back in the day, I used to ride out for a yard where Mat was the Head Lad (and an excellent one at that … he didn’t even have to pay me to say that!) and he really knows his stuff … so it seemed like the obvious choice!

 

 If you were in charge of racing for a day what would you change?

 Hmmm, that’s a difficult one. Back when I was riding there were plenty of things I would’ve changed but in recent years I think racing has come a long way and made significant improvements in many areas already.

 

I know the recent whip rule changes have been controversial but I think they are much needed and if anything I would like to see them go even further. The whip is one of the aspects of the sport that is most damaging to its public image. I have never agreed with using it with force or too frequently in a finish … I believe it can be detrimental … hampering the horse’s momentum instead of driving it forwards in some cases. And flank hitting is one of my major bugbears!

 

For me, the whip should be used as a signal to the horse that now is the time for extra effort and this doesn’t require a hard hit or repetitive hits. I’d like to see jockeys keeping both hands on the reins more during a finish, keeping a hold of the horse’s head and keeping them balanced and in rhythm. Perhaps not carrying whips altogether may actually be the only way to make it fair for all - you can’t be tempted to overuse (in the heat of the moment) what you haven’t got in your hand! At present, if one jockey holds off using the whip in a tight finish and loses, and their opponent doesn’t hold off and wins, then the losing jockey will be criticised mercilessly and could potentially lose the ride in the future, which doesn’t seem fair. Even though the penalties have increased recently, I think that from the jockeys perspective, under the current rules, it still makes sense to overuse in the moment and then deal with the consequences later, especially in big races when the stakes are highest.

 

But it’s a very contentious issue and not one likely to be solved to the satisfaction of all parties any time soon. As with all change, it’s about changing the culture (like that surrounding female jockeys) and this doesn’t happen overnight. The responsibility certainly doesn’t just rest with the jockey either. Ultimately it’s the owners and the trainers who have to decide how they want their horses ridden and feed that down to the jockeys. Punters would have to get on board too. Horse welfare needs to be universally prioritised over winnings … there’s no point some people doing it and not others … but perhaps that is too idealistic when you consider all the pressures involved.

 

So, the only thing I can say for certain … I’m glad I’m not in charge of racing!

 

 Now away from racing - If you could trade lives with one person for an entire day who would it be and why?

 

I’m a big tennis fan so I would say either …

 

A top professional tennis player during Wimbledon so I would get the chance to play on the iconic Centre Court! 

 

Or … because I’m also a massive Bruce Springsteen fan …

 

Any member of the E Street Band on a concert day so I could experience the thrill of performing on stage with “The Boss”!

 

 

If you could invite any 5 people for dinner who would they be?

 

I thought this would be an easy question but once you start thinking about it, it’s hard to pick just 5!

 

Assuming Kim Bailey is already on the guest list!? I would choose … 

 

Bruce Springsteen - needs no introduction (or shouldn’t do anyway!) … a living legend, a musical genius and a thoroughly wonderful human being! He could keep us entertained with his fantastic storytelling during dinner and then treat us to a song (or whole concert?!) after dinner!

 

Anton Du Beke - former professional dancer and now a judge on Strictly Come Dancing. He has been my favourite pro dancer since the start and would’ve been my dream partner had I ever been lucky enough to make it onto the show! He seems like a true gentleman, is extremely funny and of course is a wonderful dancer … the perfect guest to enjoy a quick after dinner waltz with!

 

Richard Dunwoody - my absolute idol growing up! Most girls my age had pictures of pop stars on their walls … I had pictures of Richard Dunwoody! I followed his career obsessively back in the 90s, cutting out newspaper articles (remember those?!) and compiling scrapbooks etc! I would love to hear his stories about riding all of those special horses that were such a joy to watch growing up.

 

Bear Grylls - an inspiration! I enjoy watching his TV programmes and reading his books. He would have some epic stories to tell and would bring a sense of adventure to the table. (Just as long as he doesn’t try to eat anything raw!)

 

Philippa Gregory - one of my favourite authors. I’ve loved history since school but I have Phillipa to thank for sparking my interest in my favourite period of history The Wars of the Roses with her novel The White Queen. I love all of her Plantagenet and Tudor novels and find them hard to put down whenever I read them. Focussing on history from the female perspective strikes a chord with me (for obvious reasons) so I would find it fascinating conversing with Philippa about this over dinner.

 

Do you have a sweet tooth or a savoury tooth?

 Sweet! Although these days I have to restrict my sugar intake for health reasons so I don’t get to eat as much as I would like. Baking has become one of my regular hobbies and although it’s very hard to resist eating my creations (usually having just one test piece) I like to see other people enjoying them even if I can’t!

 

What is your favourite food, holiday, restaurant, tv programme?

 Favourite food is a difficult one as there’s so many! I like Italian food so pizza and pasta but I also love classic pub food (anything with chips really!) and I love a good roast dinner too. I’ve got a weakness for takeaways, particularly burgers! Which leads onto favourite restaurants … does McDonalds count as a restaurant?!?! (Cheapest date ever … just buy me a Happy Meal and I’d be … well … happy!!) If I had to pick somewhere more upmarket(!) then a decent steakhouse would be my restaurant of choice (just don’t serve me anything rare!).

 

I’m not really a fan of holidays, I like being at home, but if I had to choose then I’d say my favourite holiday would be Skiing. I haven’t been for years though and I’m not a very good skier … it’s all about the Apres-ski for me!

 

Favourite TV programme is a difficult one but I would probably have to say Friends … narrowly edging out The Big Bang Theory by a short head in a photo finish! 

I love lots of the older comedies too  … Blackadder, Only Fools and Horses, The Vicar of Dibley, Absolutely Fabulous, Father Ted … I could go on for a while here! 

I’m interested in history and archaeology so I enjoy watching documentaries on those subjects and historical dramas too.

I’m partial to a spot of Bargain Hunt on a lunchtime!

I also watch a lot of sports … racing (obviously), tennis (mainly), athletics and the odd bit of football.

Between September and December Strictly Come Dancing enters the mix … every Saturday night you’ll find me on the sofa with a takeaway enjoying the action … Fab-u-lous!!!

 

If you could do anything you wanted right now, what would it be?

 Ride in a race at Cheltenham!!!

 

What are you most looking forward to?

 

In 2024 I’m looking forward to …

 

Jack Hope having his first run!

 

Starting studying towards a degree in Psychology.

 

Seeing Bruce Springsteen in concert again this summer!

NOVEMBER & DECEMBER OWNER INTERVIEW - RON WADEY

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BACKGROUND – A little bit about yourself (Occupation, where do you live, family etc)

Occupation: Racecourse bookmaker

Live: Appleton, WA4

Family: physically all grown up, mentally all big kids

How did you first get involved in Racing?

Broke my leg playing Rugby in a semi-final of an All England 7 a side tournament at Oxford.

What horses are you/have you been involved with both with Kim and other trainers?

Currently have Shady Wadey (KBR)

Previously: Sendinpost trained by Stuart Williams in Newmarket , won twice, advised not to back on both occasions by the trainer. Removed from that yard and sold at Doncaster sales for a 350% profit.

(Had a lot more success with greyhounds than racehorses, including Metric Flower, Irish Oaks runner up.)

What was your best/funniest experience on a racecourse?

Having a 7500€ unpaid bet at Listowel Races

(I think the punter was drunk)

What is your favourite racecourse/race meeting?

Sandown Park (Railway fences)

Tingle Creek day

How did you first get involved with Kim?

I was chatting to him at Uttoxeter during Covid when I was the only bookmaker on the racecourse.

If you were in charge of racing for a day, what would you change?

ALL media rights money for that day would be put into prize money.

Now away from racing - If you could trade lives with one person for an entire day who would it be and why?

Brad Pitt – for obvious reasons

If you could invite any 5 people for dinner who would they be?

Nigel Farage ( former MEP)

Julia Roberts (American film star)

Polly Gundry (Racehorse trainer and former point to point champion jockey)

Ted Helmsley (Former Worcestershire county cricketer and former Sheffield Utd footballer)

Seamus Mulvaney (Irish Bookmaker and close friend of J.P. McManus)

Reserves: Dessie and Molly, my 2 bullmastiffs (in case of leftovers)

Do you have a sweet tooth or a savoury tooth?

I have implants

What is your favourite food, holiday, restaurant, tv programme?

Food: seafood

Holiday: Vilamoura (Algarve)

Restaurant : The Lobster Pot, Ballsbridge, Dublin.

TV programme: Sex in the City

If you could do anything you wanted right now, what would it be?

Get KB to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 2027 with Shady Wadey

What are you most looking forward to?

Watching the next episode of Sex in the City...

 

  1. I will be ‘operating’ at the following race meetings (all 2023)

 Ascot: November 4th, Market Rasen: November 16th, Uttoxeter: November 18th,

Market Rasen: November 23rd, Ascot November 24th and 25th, Market Rasen: December 7th, Uttoxeter: December 22nd, Ascot: December 23rd, Market Rasen: December 26th, Uttoxeter: December 31st.

Feel free to come and say ‘hello’ and lose lots of money.

 

SEPTEMBER & OCTOBER OWNER INTERVIEW - DAVID CAREY

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BACKGROUND – A little bit about yourself (Occupation, where do you live, family etc)

At school I wanted to be an actor and had a place at RADA, however a certain female Prime Minister at the time (no names) wouldn’t fund it. So, I initially took up a place with a prestigious university to read English & Drama but then dropped out within months because I thought I’d end up teaching (no disrespect to teachers). A friend offered me a ticket to the Los Angeles Colosseum to see the Rolling Stones at the largest rock concert in history at the time and I went. We then pursued careers as Rock and Roll stars (which was clearly successful). Ironically, we named the band Sahara because we thought Oasis was a terrible name for a band (roll on 20 years later). I then spent 2 years as a ‘bum’ travelling the world before returning to the UK and applying and being accepted as a pilot in the Royal Navy’s Fleet Air Arm. After that I flew commercially on the North Sea (and other locations) before retraining in medicine at 30 years. I was recruited by the British Army (surgery) for 10 years and then returned to the Royal Navy to specialise in Aviation & Diving Medicine (Surgeon Commander). After, over 20 years of military service I left and set up Templar Medical, specialising in niche areas of medicine and offering consultant led referrals to other consultant specialists. I also retrained as a Barrister, being called to the Bar of The Inner Temple I n 2016. I live on the Welsh-Shropshire borders (a graveyard of ambition) with my wife Kathryn (an accomplished horsewoman) and our gundog Paddy (Korthall Griffon)

 

How did you first get involved in Racing?

Brought up with it really. Horses when young and a regular at point to points. Rode out for a few trainers (some still around today). Then at Medical School in 1997 I was Founder and Chairman of St Bartholomew’s & The Royal London Turf Club which had 500 members and brought together medical students and consultants outside the clinical setting which facilitated communication between medical professionals, whilst also raising money for charity  (IJF, RFD, and others). The horse was named ‘Nearly a Doctor’ (by Nearly a Hand) and because medical students were ‘nearly doctors’. I designed the colours around the medical school colours and the horse was trained by Philip Hobbs. I appointed Richard Dunwoody as patron and I ‘roped in’ other members including Sir Richard O’Sullivan and Jeremy Irons. I went ‘on tour’ with the likes of Howard Wright, Paul Khan and Cornelius Lysaght promoting ownership. Whilst in the Army I rode fairly regularly with King’s Troop (RHA) and on the gallops. Things just developed from there and I’ve never really been out of racing. More recently I formed ‘Not The Turf Club”, the irony of which will clearly resonate with some of your readers. This NH season Templar Medical will be providing a Medical Support Vehicle to Ludlow Racecourse, in the form of the new Ineos Grenadier (of Jim Ratcliffe fame).

What horses are you/have you been involved with both with Kim and other trainers

 ‘Nearly a Doctor’ with Philip Hobbs, ‘Gallop Rhythm’ with Robert Alner, ‘Even Stevens’ with Alistair Ralph and ‘Brendas Asking’ with Kim Bailey

What was your best/funniest experience on a racecourse?

I suppose it has to standing next to Guy Disney in the Winners enclosure when he won the Grand Military Gold Cup on Rathlin Rose at Sandown Park. Standing in-front of a roaring crowd, there was just a look between us acknowledging the difficult and long journey we’d been on to reach that point. Sorry to be sentimental (see below).

What is your favourite racecourse/race meeting?

Sorry to be predictable but Cheltenham, although Ludlow (where I sponsor races) and Nuwara Eliya Racecourse in Sri Lanka (which I rode around while I was in the country conducting war surgery) come a close second.

How did you first get involved with Kim?

God Knows? Probably a bar somewhere. I had known Kim off and on for quite a few years/decades via other trainers and contacts. However, around 10 years ago I was involved with helping Guy Disney MBE in getting his race licence back after having his leg traumatically amputated by a Rocket Propelled Grenade (RPG) whilst serving in Afghanistan. Guy had been visiting the Royal Navy’s Institute of Naval Medicine (where I was working) in preparation for his ‘Walking with the Wounded’ expedition to the South Pole (and later North Pole), he spoke to me about his desire to return to race riding. However, the regulators (Jockey Club/BHA) would not sanction it. I decided to ‘take the case’ but ‘pro-bono’ (no fee) on the basis that I gave him his first leg-up if I managed to get him back into the saddle. Over the next 4-5 years I built a case with Guy for the Jockey Club/BHA culminating in a rather dense report supporting his appeal. However, that would not have been possible without the immense help from so many others including Kim. At Kim’s we videoed Guy on the gallops loosing and regaining his ‘newly engineered’ irons and jumping over fences. Eventually, The Jockey Club/BHA, to their credit, determined that they could not find any fault with any of the evidence and arguments we’d constructed and granted Guy his licence. As most of you will know in 2017 Guy went on to win The Royal Artillery and Grand Military Gold Cups back to back on Rathlin Rose. He then went on to compete over the Aintree Grand National fences in the Foxhunter’s Chase on Gallery Exhibition, trained by Kim. A TV documentary about the Guy Disney story, ‘Against the Odds – Moving Forward’ was broadcasted last year, in which Kim and I both featured. After that Kim and myself kept bumping into each other on the racecourse and at social events, then last year I asked him to help me buy a horse at the Cheltenham November meeting. Which I did; after a great deal of fizz and fine wine, not a good combination for attending an auction, and I acquired the filly Brendas Asking.

If you were in charge of racing for a day what would you change?

Almost everything. Well, not everything, but racing desperately requires help to change public perceptions and challenge misconceptions. I won’t get more ‘political’ than that; although I will if anyone wants to talk over a pint or a single malt; but be prepared to be bored regarding everything from prize money to the whip rules and going predictions.

Now away from racing - If you could trade lives with one person for an entire day who would it be and why?

Bad days – anyone. Good days – no-one.

It might be interesting to ‘get into the head’ of Mozart, Hemmingway, Lord Carrington, or Spike Milligan but I think I’d settle for ‘Neil Armstrong’ (preferably on 20th July 1969); although it might be more productive to get into the head of my local builder or wife.

 If you could invite any 5 people for dinner who would they be?

Kim, of course. Although on second thoughts: Jesus –  I’d be interested to hear his historical take on events, or if he could predict the winner of the two-thirty at Sandown Park. Leonardi di Vinci – someone who could challenge the above. I would also be interested in his aviation and medical concepts. Fair chance he might be able to predict the winner of the two-thirty at Sandown Park. Darth Vader – might throw an interesting spanner in the works on religion with regard to the ‘dark side’ and ‘the force’. Might also have a chance of predicting (or ensuring) the winner of the two-thirty at Sandown Park. Dave Allen – More theological input from an Irishman that certainly ‘didn’t come up the Liffey on a bike’; and I’m half Irish (probably the best half). Certainly, the best predictor of the winner of the two-thirty at Sandown Park. Jessica Rabbit – always good to hear a female perspective, although her relatives are destroying our gardens and face assassination at present. She probably wouldn’t give an accurate prediction of the winner of the two-thirty at Sandown Park.

Do you have a sweet tooth or a savoury tooth?

It would depend on the wine, but generally savoury; especially game, including rabbit (sorry Jessica) and of course David Bass (I mean sorry vegans rather than I want to eat Davy).

What is your favourite food, holiday, restaurant, tv programme?

Food – from Michelin star to an East End Lahore curry,

Restaurant – too many to choose from but there was an excellent restaurant, Au Peit Riche in Paris that we ‘slipped into’ where the President was private dining (with armed police outside), we had outstanding L’escargot followed by Lamb Sweetbreads, washed down with 1996 Ch Leoville Barton and a 1990 Ch Brane-Canternac. Holiday – I’m lucky to be very well travelled in my youth and the military, so difficult, anything from to an English Country Summer to Cuba (a favourite haunt). TV – a real case of more is less. I barely ever watch it only to see what the news doesn’t know. Occasionally, over the decades, ‘jems’ do occur such as Cracker, Sherlock, Peaky Blinders or Blackadder. Otherwise it’s for access to Sport. I also like watching the MGM lion roar for some reason (ask a psychiatrist) and I’m a real movie buff – to a boring extent.

If you could do anything you wanted right now, what would it be?

I couldn’t possibly tell you (nor anyone else, including HMRC or the Crown Prosecution Service); for a hint watch the Thomas Crown Affair and/or The Sting.However, casting a fly on the Tweed or walking along a deserted beach with Kathryn; both would be accompanied with an aged Islay Single Malt and a Hoyo De Monteray Epicure No:2

What are you most looking forward to?

Tomorrow. I think. But ask me tomorrow, I might feel differently. A winner would be nice.

 

JULY & AUGUST OWNER INTERVIEW - TIM CAVEN

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BACKGROUND – A little bit about yourself (Occupation, where do you live, family etc)

I currently live in Rugby, home has always been on the border of South Leicestershire & Warwickshire. Commercially I am still involved in the UK Sales and Marketing for a large packaging business based in Hong Kong. My work has always been connected with this industry, for many years in manufacturing. The orchestrated demise of making things in this country I still feel is deeply flawed.

Linda and I share 5 children. Binka, No4, the last to marry twelve months ago. Between them they have produced a wonderful group of children that bring great delight and keep us in touch with the world as it evolves, although I don’t think either of us would claim to fully understand.

How did you first get involved in Racing?

Leicestershire with its history of fox hunting has always been a presence in the Point to Point world. In the 60s and 70s these were wonderful social events. The best were held on a Saturday after the rugby season had finished and provided exceptional entertainment, the Atherstone at Clifton on Dunsmore a particular favourite. It was the era of roaming car boot picnic indulgence and great fun.

What horses are you/have you been involved with both with Kim and other trainers

I first had an exploratory tickle with Early Bonnet which didn’t do a great deal, then tried again with Fizzy Dancer who delivered improvement if not a result. In 2015 a place in the syndicate linked to Younevercall was suggested. With 5 kids the name appealed, the horse and I also shared the same April birthday.

We had considerable success with YNC and a great deal of fun with the syndicate. General Hubble and El Rio are the current standard bearers.

What was your best/funniest experience on a racecourse?

With YNC we had some great times but sadly the most memorable for me is neither funny nor the best. We ran at Kempton during Covid, only two passes permitted. A strange experience, a sparse, almost silent, gathering. I still have the image on my desktop of YNC being beaten into second by less than a nostril having lead from the off – this to everybody present’s total amazement, other than the line judge. Seems I muttered the B word every five miles of the 100 mile journey back to Rugby, but was otherwise silent.

Thankfully there have been other occasions to celebrate, most recently a win at Ascot with El Rio, but it seems Kempton will always rankle.

What is your favourite racecourse/race meeting?

Ascot and Sandown have looked after me very well and have an impressive aura about them. Perth was a delightful, friendly, experience. I have a strong affinity with Norfolk and enjoy Fakenham as much as any racecourse I have visited to date.

How did you first get involved with Kim?

My brother in law, Nick Cook introduced me to Kim at Towcester where Cinderella Rose duly performed, prompting great celebrations. An invitation to Kim’s September owners day followed, a full on event at the yard in where an extended lunch took place in a marquee. I’ve not missed the event since.

 

If you were in charge of racing for a day what would you change?

For a day I don’t think I would look to change anything really, I thoroughly enjoy the whole experience. For NH racing as a whole, fewer meetings, better prize money leading to larger fields and more competitive racing would seem to make sense. Flat racing holds little attraction for me, not sure why, maybe because it is over so quickly and in the summer there are other things to do.

Now away from racing - If you could trade lives with one person for an entire day who would it be and why?

My wife Linda. She seems to have not a care in the world, produces great art, grows wonderful vegetables and creates exceptional food – all this whilst going through money with barely a pause. I’d love to know how it feels – but only for a day!

If you could invite any 5 people for dinner who would they be?

Barry Humphries, George Melley, John Inverdale – all great wordsmiths. 

Maddie Hinch, the gold medal winning goalkeeper of the GB Ladies Hockey team. Her performance in particular galvanised the nation during the Rio Olympics, the final getting 9 million viewers on BBC. Not easy in a minority sport. Judi Dench. In the late 50s my father shared a table with her in the dining car of a train from St Pancras, he came home smitten. In ‘68 I saw her play Sally Bowles at the Cambridge theatre London and have admired her work ever since. To ensure my guests enjoyed their time and felt stimulated I’d like to invite additional ladies whose honesty and integrity is sure to impress and entertain. Monica Lewinski, Mandy Rice-Davies, Ruby the Heart Stealer, Jennifer Arcuri and of course Stormy Daniels should ensure all present go home better informed.

Do you have a sweet tooth or a savoury tooth?

Savoury for sure – although Mrs Cook does create some cracking puds.

Mr&Mrs Partridge ran the French Partridge, a gem. just south of Northampton.

Their menu changed monthly, a savoury was always included amongst the options for the final course.

Not something you find so often these days but a great way to finish dinner.

What is your favourite food, holiday, restaurant, tv programme?

 Langoustines, Keltic Seafoods in Scotland supply them live overnight – incredible.

All fish and seafood other than oysters, which disagree with me; most offal.

Holidays, skiing has to be the best. In summer anywhere beside water in the sunshine.

Restaurants – We haven’t found a replacement for Le Caprice - so many good times there to remember, businesswise and socially. Les Peupliers in Le Praz for the skiers amongst us, although its been a while now. The Ring of Bells in Cheriton Fitzpaine, Devon owned and run Binka. Recently Emilia in Ashburton near Newton Abbot, they do sharing plates and offer an offal of the day dish. When we lunched it was bone marrow risotto, so good we had a second plate for desert.

TV, The Night Manager, anything involving George Smiley, Slow Horses on Apple tv but for a relaxing view it has to be Vera. The Geordie sleuth reminds me so much of Linda. It’s not just the gait that they share, the way her hat sits or the steely glare; more the way she has an answer for everything, stands for no nonsense and invariably gets her own way - pet.

One of us sits and knits whilst the other chuckles quietly.

If you could do anything you wanted right now, what would it be?

 Have the whole family together for lunch somewhere sunny.

What are you most looking forward to?

On November 22nd 2013 playing the 16th hole at Whitefields Golf Club, Warwickshire I recorded a hole in one. I still have the ball, with the detail noted.

A repeat performance, any hole, any course, is what I’m looking forward to most.

The simplest things always deliver the best and longest lasting memories!

FEBRUARY OWNER INTERVIEW - CHARLOTTE & TONY FOLEY-PALMER

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BACKGROUND – A little bit about yourself (Occupation, where do you live, family etc)

Charlotte is a Director of Capital for a large multi-academy Trust, and has one son, Ben. Tony is retired, with one daughter, Gemma. We both live in Ossett, West Yorkshire.

 

 How did you first get involved in Racing?

Tony has always enjoyed racing as a spectator sport, and Charlotte used to do county level eventing up to her 30s and 40s and enjoys anything equestrian!

What horses are you/have you been involved with both with Kim and other trainers

We have two young horses with Kim in their 1st season, Isle of Gold and General Hubble. We previously shared a horse trained by Nigel Hawke for several seasons, Some Detail, who is now trained in the USA.

What was your best/funniest experience on a racecourse?

Best experience so far was being an owner at the Cheltenham festival. Winning is always nice as well!

What is your favourite racecourse/race meeting?

The Cheltenham festival is hard to beat as an owner. Charlotte was used to continual disappointment growing up as Worcester was regularly flooded! Now we enjoy the Yorkshire & Northern courses, going regularly to Catterick, Wetherby, Thirsk and Haydock.

 How did you first get involved with Kim?

We were looking for one or more horses to share in a syndicate when our previous syndicate decided to sell Some Detail, and we talked to a couple of trainers. We had initially wanted a horse with a Northern trainer, but Kim was very much in form, he and Peter were so friendly on our first visit, and the syndicates were so well run that we decided it had to be KBR!

 If you were in charge of racing for a day what would you change?

 Reduce admission prices to encourage more people to go

Now away from racing - If you could trade lives with one person for an entire day who would it be and why?

Charlotte would like to be a viking shield maiden. Tony would like to be J P McManus

 If you could invite any 5 people for dinner who would they be?

 Tony would invite: Luke Harvey Geoff Boycott Kim Bailey Tia Leone Allison Janney

Charlotte would invite: Kate Middleton

Thomas Tuchel

Lewis Hamilton

Aidan O’Brien

Michelle Obama

 Do you have a sweet tooth or a savoury tooth?

We both prefer savoury

 What is your favourite food, holiday, restaurant, tv programme?

 We both love Chinese food & chateaubriand, visits to the USA and Northumberland, French bistros and Miller Carter steakhouses. TV programmes are hard – we rarely watch terrestrial but Happy Valley was amazing! We love West Wing, Madame Secretary, and Game of Thrones.

 If you could do anything you wanted right now, what would it be?

We would like to go to the Breeders Cup in USA. Charlotte would like to ride on and preferably win, the Yorkshire Grand National

 What are you most looking forward to?

Lots of success with Kim. Charlotte would be happy to see our horses placed regularly and doing their best

JANUARY OWNER INTERVIEW - ED HAWKINGS

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Background/a little about yourself...

I am married to my wife, Kashy and have two children Georgina, 27 who works as a business manager for a large legal practice. She rides out and schools for Chris Gordon daily and has recently started pointing. Jimmy is 24 and works for a recruitment company in the City but would rather be playing football which, he does to a pretty good level!

I am an Insurance consultant specialising in International mining. We live in Bramdean ( between Winchester and Petersfield) in an old Farm house , we have 2 dogs and a varying horse population depending on injuries and time of year.

How did you get involved in racing? 

Initially in the 1980’s on the flat with Nicholas Wrigley homebreds trained by Jimmy Etherington .

Then I was introduced by Teddy Beckett to Mark Smyly in Lambourn with whom we had a couple of horses.

  • Pendine Sands who actually managed to win a race at Chepstow
  • Drumstick, who managed a decent 2nd at Beverley before being cut and being sent over obstacles under a very brave Ronny Beggan. Mark Smyly then retired from training and recommended us to a young up and coming trainer called Kim Bailey .

What horses are you/have been involved with both Kim and other trainers?

When Drummy moved over to Kim and the tender care of Higgy at the start of 1990 little did I know that this flat bred ( Henbit /Salustrina ( Sallust)) horse would become such a superstar. Drumstick , despite two bowed tendons 3 wind operations , whilst in Kim’s charge ran in 16 hurdle races winning 2 and placed in 7 others and 60 chases winning 16 and placed in 25 others before retiring at 11 to go Pointing and Hunter Chasing . In his career he ran in 106 races! Such a tough horse, he finally was fully retired at 16 and lived on in happy retirement well into his 20’s

After Drumstick there was a natural break , unlikely to ever have such a horse again , and school fees . Then I got tempted back into horses by Paul Henderson with whom I have had a couple of decent horses.

  • Kylenoe Fairy , won 5 races and came 2nd in the Summer Hurdle rated 134.She then retired to my paddocks because of injury and had 3 foals before dying giving birth to the 4th .
  • Crossley Tender , won 5 races and came 2nd in the Eider rated 130 . Sadly cut off before he had reached his best when killed at Newton Abbott at the start of only his second season chasing.

My ownerships are in partnerships of between 2 and 5 people and I manage all the administration for them. Currently we have 7 horses in training as follows;

 Talk of the Moon( bought as a foal ) – Kim Bailey

Coronado Joe ( homebred)- Chris Gordon

Storm Hill ( bought from pointing in Ireland)- Paul Henderson

Our Champ ( bought from pointing in Ireland )- Paul Henderson

Megalodon ( bought from pointing in Ireland)- Paul Henderson

Tzunami ( homebred) – Paul Henderson

Kylenoe Dancer ( homebred)- Paul Henderson .

 I get a lot of satisfaction in finding relatively cheap horses from the pointing field in Ireland with the assistance of Aidan Kennedy, so far, I have bought 9 and only one has failed to win but he was rated 120, placed multiple times including in the stayers final at Haydock , he is now my daughters pointer as he can compete in Maidens.

 

What was your best/funniest experience on a racecourse? 

Watching Drumstick win at the Cheltenham September meeting from the Royal Box - not surprising I was never asked back as I made a lot of noise!

 

What is your favourite racecourse or race meeting? 

Newton Abbott, I have had a lot of success there and there is nothing quite like winning.

 

If you were in charge of racing for a day, what would you change?

  • Adapt the race programme more towards the horse population , a substantial proportion of the horses in training are rated 100 or less although this is not reflected in the races for them.
  • Come up with a standardised measure for Going , Clerks understandably want to attract entries, Trainers want to protect their charges and there is nothing more frustrating for an owner than to travel to a racecourse only to arrive and discover your horse is a non-runner because the going is not as described.

 

Now away from racing - if you could trade lives with one person for an entire day who would it be and why?

My son Jimmy, I would love to play football like him and it would be good for him to see things from my perspective and make sure he enjoys life to the full.

 

If you could invite any 5 people for dinner who would they be?

Jack Whitehall , Prince of Wales , Velodymyr Zalenskyy, Mark Harris ( partner in Drumstick),Bernard Cornwell.

 

Do you have a sweet tooth or a savoury tooth?

Savoury.

 

What is your favourite food, holiday and restaurant?

Fruit de Mer, Sicily and Chesil Rectory.

 

What are you most looking forward to?

Having a winner!!

DECEMBER OWNER INTERVIEW - STEVE JAGGARD

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BACKGROUND – A little bit about yourself (Occupation, where do you live, family etc)

I live near Norwich, Norfolk with my wife, Deb and two dogs in a money-pit of an ancient farmhouse which we’ve been renovating and extending for 21 years. Both our daughter and son have settled back in Norfolk and we have two amazing little grandchildren of 2 and 4 years. Having sold my digital marketing business in 2020, I now spend my time mentoring young business owners and until last month, spent nine years as Trustee/Board Director of Norwich Theatres. Over the past year I have started working as a digital and creative consultant on ‘visioning’ projects for the arts, culture and leisure sector, reimagining how galleries, museums, visitor experiences can bring themselves up to date and make themselves into more engaging, exciting and immersive experiences. I love to learn new things!

 

 

How did you first get involved in Racing?
 
Brought up around Newmarket, we would now and again take the afternoon off school to walk down to the Rowley Mile or July Course – until one day one of the clan was spotted by his housemaster on the TV coverage! (What was a teacher doing watching racing on TV during classtime?).   Also having a builder as a father meant I was helping to paint stable doors, starting stalls, even renovating houses - for trainers and jockeys including Lester Piggott, Patrick Haslam and James Fanshawe, so I suppose racing was always there. Patrick Haslam was actually kind enough to give Dad two 50% shares in two very decent horses with Patrick’s mother, which was a wonderful gesture which meant so much to Dad who could never have afforded them. God bless you, Patrick. Lester never knew as he was away, but I once knocked down his wall while climbing up it trying to get a peek at his swimming pool. (Dad was not best pleased as he came running to find me and a mate on the floor amidst a pile of bricks and mortar!)  So I suppose racing has always surrounded me, but it wasn’t until I got married and moved away to Norwich with my work that I actually got the bug properly myself. Having had a few shares in very moderate flat horses, the defining moment came when I met ‘The Major ‘  –  the late Richard Wilson and his wife Rachel at a dinner party who bred and owned a few horses.  Richard encouraged me to get involved with him in an enormous grey called Combe Castle and I compiled the stats and we sat down together to select a good jumps trainer whose yard was accessible to us in Norfolk – not an easy one, of course.  At the time, early 2000s, Kim was based near Daventry and his record spoke for itself so that’s where the story began with jumps racing and Kim Bailey Racing. We would drive the 2 hours or so fairly regularly on a Saturday morning to the yard, but soon realised that Combe Castle, gorgeous as he was, would be no world beater (even though he did get his head in front once at Towcester on bottomless ground). Two decades later, the story continues but with Kim long having moved to Thorndale, a little way further from Norfolk.
 
What horses are you/have you been involved with both with Kim and other trainers?
 
I have had shares with horses with Kim ever since the early 2000’s, the best of which came early on with another big grey chaser which Kim bought and trained for The Major (and I with a leg) named King of Gothland. Having won a couple of thrilling chases at Huntingdon it was a very sad day when Kim rang us in tears to say he had had a heart attack on the gallops.  Since then I believe I have had shares in over 20 of Kim’s partnerships. In recent years, I’ve not had the best of luck shall we say – in fact, it’s amazing Kim and Peter haven’t banned me from their partnerships altogether.  Lord Apparelli and Chazza were the last two that retired early without being able to show their obvious ability on the racecourse.   Right now, my hopes are with the stunning Phantom Getaway, who won first time out recently at Ffos Las, following three 2nds in his first season. A lovely staying chaser in the making. Fingers crossed. While jumps are my first love, I have always had shares in flat horses with good friends in Newmarket, as well as Rachel Wilson. We have had two good ones in the past decade in the shape of the recently retired Coverham (won 8 times) and the adaptable dual purpose Wily Fox (won 5 times) including over hurdles.  Both were trained by the now-retired James Eustace in Newmarket.  His son, Harry, has recently taken over at Park Lodge and is an extremely smart young trainer, so we have continued with him and currently have just a young 2yo filly named ‘Between the Covers’.
 
What was your best/funniest experience on a racecourse?
 
My best experience on a racecourse has to be as a winning owner – and that very first win of King of Gothland’s in November 2005 at Huntingdon was my first – and so far – best ever jumps winner. A thrilling race he scythed through the field from last to first on the final circuit. What a thrill made more special by having The Major and Rachel there, but also my family. I couldn’t stop the tears, I have to admit.  As for the funniest experience on a racecourse, well I’ve seen a few while travelling up and down the UK to watch racing, including having a horse that once veered off the racecourse to follow a tractor across a field, to screaming home Wily Fox in heavy snow at Market Rasen before going to collect my £25 from the young bookies assistant in her tiny pink mini skirt.  They are a hardy bunch in Lincolnshire!
There was also my first Cheltenham, sitting in a packed restaurant in town after racing next to a table of extremely well-oiled Irishmen. One of them had literally fallen asleep in his untouched steak and chips. When the bill came the leader of their party asked to see the manager arguing that his meal should be taken off the bill. It caused quite an argument - and a stir!  We were in roars of laughter as the chap slept through the whole thing and knew nothing of the fracas and was carried out by his mates having had the bill sorted. 
 
In terms of ownership, I love to hear the jockey comments when they come back in – especially the excuses. Having a certain J Spencer ride for us at Pontefract on the flat one day, he came out with a classic after a poor showing ;  ‘he obviously hated the ground but went really well over the road’ – thank you, Jamie, such helpful insight. The list of tales goes on, but I’ll stop there so as not to bore you, but that’s the beauty of racing, so many incidents, so much history, so many characters. It’s not all about the winning, but the being there.
 
What is your favourite racecourse/race meeting?
 
On one level I love my local track, Fakenham, but have never had a horse run there that could handle the tight bends.  At the other, while I love the amphitheatre that is Cheltenham, Haydock and Ascot have to be favourites. They also know how to look after owners.  But I have many jumps courses still yet to try.
 
If you were in charge of racing for a day what would you change?
 
An awful lot, especially for owners, which is why I have put myself forward to the ROA and have recently been asked to join two new working groups, for ‘Owners’ and for ‘Communications’.  Rather than moan, which we can all do really well in the UK, especially the keyboard warriors, I thought I’d try and challenge the status quo and provide ideas for change. It's not just about prize-money, but how owners are brought into racing and once there, how they are looked after on-course and retained. You just have to look at other countries to see the difference in how they look at things regarding ownership, especially for small owners and syndicates, which have to be a big part of the future.  My fear is that racing will continue to tinker round the edges rather than think out of the box and embrace the radical thinking that is so needed. The ROA is a tiny team but they now have people with fresh thinking who do want to improve things, so fingers crossed. Will recent changes in stewardship of our sport really change things?  I sincerely hope so, but doubt it given the different agendas of self-preservation that continue to exist.  If only we could start again with a clean sheet of paper and open minds? 
 
Now away from racing - if you could trade lives with one person for an entire day who would it be and why?
 
Michael Eavis, so I can finally get myself 2 tickets to Glastonbury after too many years of unsuccessful attempts.
 
If you could invite any 5 people for dinner who would they be?
 
David O’Doherty, Jason Byrne, Kerri Godliman, Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Why have a ‘quiet’ night?
 
Do you have a sweet tooth or a savoury tooth?
 
Savoury tooth - when it comes to Indian food!  
Sweet tooth when it comes to great ice cream!
 
What is your favourite food, holiday, restaurant, tv programme?
 
Food: Indian
Holiday: Gili Air, Indonesia
Restaurants: ‘Core’ by Clare Smyth, London ‘La Tupina’, Bordeaux  plus various in Kerala
TV programme: Afterlife                         
 
If you could do anything you wanted right now, what would it be?
 
Enjoy a leisurely day’s fishing with Bob Mortimer and Paul Whitehouse.
 
What are you most looking forward to?
 
Racing-wise, having a runner at one of the big Festivals – Cheltenham preferably - but Aintree or Punchestown will do! Life-wise, staying happy and healthy enough to continue to share fun times with family and great friends. Keep smiling everyone!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

NOVEMBER OWNER INTERVIEW - GARRY AND TRACY BETLEY

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BACKGROUND – A little bit about yourself (Occupation, where do you live, family etc)

We are very fortunate to live in the beautiful village of Broadway, in Worcestershire and have been married for 33 years. I am an Estimater for a local Joinery company and Tracy works part time for a local leather retailer.

We have two grown up children, Jordan, who’s a graphic designer and lives with his fiancé Meg and our daughter Hannah who’s a primary school teacher and is married to Matt and not forgetting our cocker spaniel called Lennie.

How did you first get involved in Racing?
I have been interested in horse racing for a long time and have been a member at Cheltenham since 1985. As a young lad my dad had racing greyhounds so racing of one sort or another has always been in my blood. 
 
What horses are you/have you been involved with both with Kim and other trainers
Phantom Getaway is our first venture into horse ownership.
 
What was your best/funniest experience on a racecourse?
In March 1988, we had our first visit to the Cheltenham festival together, in what is now known as The Best Mates side. Whilst standing at the back of a very rickety stand watching the Mildmay of Fleet handicap chase, we were left as the only two people in the stand, cheering as Smart Tar began to pull away from the other  two challengers. Rounding off a good day £400 in profit!   Still to this day the most I have ever won!!!
 
What is your favourite racecourse/race meeting?
It has to be at Cheltenham, Festival trials day, great racing without the festival crowds.
 
How did you first get involved with Kim?
Having followed Kim’s blog for many years, when we decided to get involved in racehorse ownership, Kim’s was our obvious choice.
 
If you were in charge of racing for a day what would you change?
It would have to be prize money and more reasonable entry fees.
 
Now away from racing - If you could trade lives with one person for an entire day who would it be and why?
The winning jockey of the 2023 Cheltenham Gold Cup, why? What a feeling it must be!
 
If you could invite any 5 people for dinner who would they be?
Paul Heaton, for the music, the late Barney Curley, Henrietta Knight, Peter Kay for the laughs and James Martin the Chef, what a mix!!!
 
Do you have a sweet tooth or a savoury tooth?
Tracy likes to bake, but thinking of my figure, I think I have a savoury tooth.
 
What is your favourite food, holiday, restaurant, tv programme?
Favourite food is sea food of all kinds,  
Favourite holiday, our recent holiday of a lifetime to Canada and Alaska and equally nearer home walking in South Devon
Restaurants, The Hook at the Fish Hotel, and The Cricket Inn Beesands and for pub grub the homemade pie at The Star, Ashton Underhill
TV programme, horse racing of course and a good crime drama
 
If you could do anything you wanted right now, what would it be?
Bring peace to the world
 
What are you most looking forward to?
Phantom Getaway having a long and successful racing career and a long retirement.
 
 
 
 
 

OCTOBER OWNER INTERVIEW - ROY AND LOUISE SWINBURNE

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BACKGROUND - A little bit about yourself

Louise and I live in Pattingham, South Staffordshire with our son Scott. Our three elder children ages 30, 35 and 37 have flown the nest. I am the MD of PBR Abrasives based in Willenhall, West Midlands

How did you first get involved in Racing?

Occasional visits to point-to-point meetings at Eyton on Severn and Weston Park sparked my interest and a chance meeting at Ludlow races with an owner was the start of owning horses back in 1999. All weather racing initially then National Hunt racing which is my passion. 

What horses are you/have you been involved with both with Kim and other trainers?

Hollies Pearl (Peter Bowen) has been our best and we have just purchased her 2yo filly by Blue Bresil. Wells De Lune was a three time winner for us. Others include Deadly Move, Sam Noir, Catch The Rhythm, Casher Society, Latzod'Alm was our Cheltenham Hunterchase winner and many more.

What was your best/funniest experience on a racecourse?

Winning the mares listed bumper at Aintree on Grand National Day and winning the Cheltenham Intermediate Hunter Chase with Latzod'Alm - now a great 22yo and lives with us. 

What is your favourite racecourse/race meeting?

Day one of The Cheltenham Festival is our favourite day. Our favourite racecourse is Ludlow followed by Bangor on Dee and Haydock

How did you first get involved with Kim?

Only recently in 2021. We were keen admirers from a distance. Kim has a good record with mares so we decided to send Time For Hollie to Kim. We were not disappointed as she won at Uttoxeter, placed second twice and finished third in four runs. 

If you were in charge of racing for a day what would you change?

The prize money. It needs increasing drastically

Now away from racing - if you could trade lives with one person for an entire day who would it be and why?

Vladimir Putin so the dreadful war in Ukraine can stop

If you could invite any five people for dinner who would it be?

Matt Chapman, Peter Savill, Denise Coates, Sir Mark Prescott and Kim Bailey

Do you have a sweet tooth or a savoury tooth?

Savoury

What is your favourite food, holiday, restaurant, tv programme?

Food - All types of fish

Holiday - UK touring holidays in our motorhome

Restaurant - The Potted Lobster in Abersoch, North West Wales

TV Programme - Frozen Planet

If you could do anything you wanted right now, what would it be?

I would buy Constitution Hill and win the Champion Hurdle followed by the Gold Cup!

What are you most looking forward to?

The 2022/23 National Hunt Season proper

 

 

 

 

 

Bailey’s Blog

17-06-2024 18:00:43 in General by Admin
Plus 10 and dry when driving in. A first for this summer.. Watching Archie play at Rockhampton without having to scurry into the pavilion to avoid the rain.. There is virtually no mobile reception at Rockhampton, but is it me or has Vodafone really lost the plot when it comes to reception.. It is now shocking here at Thorndale.. which is probably the reason why Mat is always complaining and thin...

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