The John Magnier article is a must read ...

We have one runner today at Lingfield

Friday, 19 January 2018

"Failure is only the opportunity to begin again more intelligently."

Henry Ford.

Astrobreeze leading Four Fifty Three


It’s a bright morning and we have had a very sharp frost. In fact the frost has come down harder as the light has come up. There was a car off the road through the hedge on the Dullingham Road when I drove in and I am sure that would not have been the only one with the roads becoming very icy. We have a full strength string today with the flag flying and we have been getting on well on the heath. The heath staff were out with plenty of salt and the walking grounds are safe enough. The Cambridge Road saw us at first lot and then various other polytracks for the other lots. All has gone well and everybody is cheerful. 

Gee Sixty Six

We have one runner today at Lingfield. TTMAB runs in the 3.40, the one mile two furlong Novice. He has had two runs to date and has not been disgraced either time. He is a great big, good looking horse who will be better over further on the turf, but this experience will do him good. We are taking on one or two of the big boys once again today who I think will be more streetwise. I like this horse though and I am sure he will be ok in time.

Tomorrow we have two runners, again at Lingfield. Our first runner in the 2 o’clock is Ginger Lady. She has had three runs and this is her first try in a handicap. She ran well here on her second outing and should have a chance of making the frame today. Our other runner is Ness of Brodgar in the mile novice at 3.40. She is making her second appearance and is another who will benefit greatly from the experience. She is a big filly out of the prolific winning producing mare Missouri. She will undoubtedly be ok, but may need a bit more time and a galloping track on the turf.

True Calling

Our new horses for sale, partnership and syndicates are on the website now. Please have a look at them and if you are interested in anything, give us a ring and arrange a visit. We will be only too delighted to show you the horses and give you any further information you require. You can buy or lease them and get involved in our yard for not too much and the amount of fun and excitement you will get out of it is unending. 

Pageant Master

Phil On Friday

I’m proposing to vacate my humble Friday slot on the Mark Tompkins web-site, for a few weeks at the very least, and have been thinking back to my time as an employee and, I am proud to say, subsequent friend of the Guvnor.

What marvellous days they were at Flint Cottage with the likes of Bob’s Return, Franklins Gardens, Halkopous, Staunch Friend, Even Top and so many other great horses, and the opportunity to get to know some truly remarkable people.

Our association began when the Guvnor was still building his empire and I was editing an evening newspaper in Northampton. The plan was that the paper would lease a horse and sell shares to, say, 250 readers who could visit the yard, get regular reports from their trainer, share any prize-money and rub shoulders, as owners, with the high and mighty of racing. As someone once said, everyone is equal on the turf and under it.

When the scheme was launched the response was immediate and all shares in the two-year-old filly (we called her Echo Chamber) were sold within 24 hours.

After a few encouraging runs she headed for an autumn maiden at York, to be ridden by the hugely likeable Ray Cochrane. The Guvnor fancied her strongly, so did Ray, and we tipped her up in the paper the day before. Even so she still started at 9-1.

The race was on a Thursday and Ray had been booked well in advance. On the Monday of that week he and the Guvnor were travelling together when Ray’s mobile phone rang.

“Can you ride a horse for me at York on Thursday?” asked the caller. “I should think so”, said Ray. “What’s it in?”  “The two-year-old maiden.”

“Hang on, that’s our race,” said the Guvnor. “Sorry, I can’t,” said Ray into the phone. “Why the hell not?” asked trainer No. 2.

“Because I’m riding the ------- winner!”

He was, too. He won by half-a-length with trainer No.2 second.

I watched the race from the stands with the Guvnor and a colleague, while at home the town went crackers. Only relatively small bets were laid for the most part but added together they must have totalled thousands. Ladbrokes of all people, or at least one Ladbrokes shop, simply didn’t have enough cash on the premises to settle. Of course everyone was paid in full the next day but stories later emerged of at least one elderly man falling off his betting shop stool in all the excitement and some minor injuries occurred in the scramble to the pay-out desk (really!)

What a day … and not long afterwards I was working for the Guvnor full-time.