August was a down and up month for BG Horse Racing Syndicates, but every time you get a high from racehorse ownership, it reminds you that all the low points along the way are well worth putting up with!
You may recall, from the last article, that we had brought in a lease horse, Fr Humphrey, for the summer. He was finally ready to run in August and we headed up to his debut at Market Rasen full of anticipation.
We were pretty sure that he would improve for the run. As the race unfolded he was travelling well, could there be a dream start with him!
Unfortunately, it appeared that fitness was an issue.
As he turned into the straight in third, he looked set to challenge before fading quickly and dropping back to finish 8th of the 9 runners.
However, despite the result there were plenty of positives, and we’re convinced that with the benefit of that race, there’s plenty to look forward to.
Our jockey, Tom Scudamore, was very enthusiastic about our chances of future success, and we all headed for home looking forward to Humphrey’s next run.
We didn’t have long to wait…
A couple of weeks later we were off to Stratford for race number two, feeling pretty confident about our chances of success.
Tom Scudamore rode for us again, and travelled well throughout the race. But, he stopped quickly leaving the back straight, and was pulled-up. Tom felt that from going well to nothing, there had to have been a problem, and we wondered whether the horse may have had a minor breathing issue.
The decision was taken to drop him back in trip and use a tongue tie on his next start, but it’s fair to say that we were feeling pretty deflated. Already we were wondering whether we could realistically see any success with him.
As always though, a real positive came out of the Stratford race… the two-runner novice hurdle that followed our race!
Having realised that technically Fr Humphrey was still a novice over hurdles, I’d suggested to Neil Mulholland, somewhat tongue-in-cheek, that we should have run in that race, as we’d have picked-up a decent prize for coming third.
That obviously stuck in Neil’s head, a couple of days later he spotted a 2m 6f novice hurdle at Fontwell with not many entries and, opportunistically, realised that this wouldn’t be a bad place to try-out the tongue-tie.
So… we ended up at Fontwell on the 29th August, with an 11-year-old in a three-runner novice hurdle!
With £500 for finishing third, we were happy that our costs were covered, and all we were really looking for was for Fr Humphrey to finish his race strongly, even if he was a well beaten third.
We booked James Best to ride, as Tom Scudamore was up in Sedgefield, and things could hardly have fallen better for him!
It became clear that neither of the other two were prepared to make the running, and whilst we were happy for Fr Humphrey to lead, we did not want him going too quickly early in the race, as we wanted to learn whether the tongue tie was a benefit at the end of the race.
This meant that James got to lead at a steady canter all the way into the home straight, when he set sail for home. Despite the fact that his two rivals came to him at the last, the race developed into a head to head up the hill and, with no sign of any breathing problem, Fr Humphrey stuck his head down and out-battled them!
An unexpected win is perhaps more exciting than one you are hoping for, and all 15 of the group of BG Racing shareholders at Fontwell were over the moon!
After presentations, and a glass of fizz in the winning owners’ room, we floated away with a framed photo, a bottle of bubbly and a memory stick with a recording of the race. Plus we had enough prize money to ensure that all shareholders will receive a rebate of at least 20% of their fees at the end of the lease period.
Not a bad night’s work and hopefully more to come in October!
No sooner had I dealt with the post-race communications than it was time to focus some attention on another horse, The Way You Dance.
Having been disappointing this season, we decided (with Neil Mulholland’s blessing) to try a change of scenery for a couple of months to see whether that sparked any improved form.
The trainer I chose was Michael Attwater who trains on Epsom Downs, which is local for me. I met with Michael on several occasions after The Way You Dance arrived at the yard, and we struck up a good relationship. Michael has been really pleased with the horse’s progress on the gallops. If The Way You Dance does not show improved form and needs to be sold, we will almost certainly have horses at the yard in the future. But for now, we are ready to go racing with him!
By the time you are reading this, he will have made his reappearance at Lingfield Park on Thursday 5th September. It would be a surprise if he shows dramatic improvement, but we were not expecting much from Fr Humphrey at Fontwell either!
The last member of the current BG Racing team is My Brother, he is due back in from his summer holiday in the next couple of weeks. Hopefully he will have recovered from his injury, and we can crack on with him this winter over hurdles.
There may be more new recruits in the next couple of months, and I look forward to keeping you posted on progress. If you want a more regular updates, there is a news update on my website www.bgracingsyndicates.co.uk every week, and I also post on Facebook and Twitter. If you have any specific questions about racehorse ownership, I would also be happy to respond to them, just drop me a note via my website contact page.