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, 21 July 2015


Doesn't time fly?!!

It's taken me until now, sitting in a bar in Cuba, to find the time to post the latest update, but there are lots of exciting things on the horizon, not least my relationship with the Alexandra Dunn Stable & my thoughts for expanding Staplegrove Racing into more than just a Racing Syndicate.

Firstly the horses!

ARRAYAN didn't quite manage to get the win his efforts deserved but following discussions with Alex, it was decided to retire him from racing & he is now learning how to be the Master of the Hunt's mount in the Worcester Area. It is massively important to me that horses that have given us great service, go on to find new jobs & lives after racing. Lots of new entrants to the 'Syndicate' game make very grand claims about their horses & but the proof is available to anyone who cares to look deeply enough.

TEACHMETOBOUGGIE proved to be a revelation when we finally got him on course in a very hot bumper at Ffos Las. 6 of the 9 runners had cost between £40k and £70k at the sales and had some very decent form, so we were hoping to hang on to them for as long as possible. Bouggie ran a blinder, running very green, but keeping in touch until the straight, where the experienced horses quickened, but he kept on really well under hands & heels to finish only 10 lengths behind Middleham Park & Nicky Henderson's highly rated Premier Bond. Bouggie picked up a Racing Post rating of 108, which would have won 90% of the bumpers run in the last 2 months of the season but Alex, Tom & myself decided to put him away for decent ground in the Autumn & try and win his bumper. Not bad for a £2200 purchase and testament to the ability of Alex & Tom as a very talented and hugely enthusiastic team, especially given the right ammunition.

Very exciting for the Staplegrove Racing Team after the disappointment with poor Marty and great to have two new members Neil & Dan, joining us on this exciting new venture.

I was also delighted to get my good friends ONTOAWINNER RACING involved in a deal for BLEU ASTRAL to run in their colours this summer. I've known the lads since we were fellow owners in VICTOIRE DE LYPHAR with Middleham Park and they have been extremely successful with their own venture with many winners in the Yellow & White sllks, including the top class TOOCOOLFORSCHOOL, FAST SHOT & YOURARTISONFIRE. They have asked me to look after the syndicate with Alex and despite a slightly disappointing start, we hope to get another winner for the lads and their owners & hopefully start a fruitful relationship with the Dunn yard.

My Middleham Park interests have cut back considerably & I now have interests in 5 with Richard Fahey and 1 with Nicky Henderson.

The Fahey team is headed by the ever improving sprinter TATLISU. He has done nothing but improve and with a bit of luck would have won 2 or 3 major handicaps in the last 12 months. His latest repeat 2nd in the Scottish Stewards Cup at Hamilton, came on the back of an uncharacteristic poor run in the Wokingham at Royal Ascot, where everything transpired against him. He goes next to Goodwood for the Stewards Cup, one of my favourite races of the season. Fortunately, I will be home to watch him and hopefully he can get the big win he undoubtedly deserves, before the end of the year.

OBSIDIAN was a cheap purchase from the John Gosden yard last Autumn, after picking up an injury at the end of his 2 year old season. Nursed back to health by Richard, he has won his Maiden at Thirsk after being beaten 14 lengths (giving 17lbs) to no less than Storm the Stars!! He has run really well in three subsequent handicaps with no luck in running and remains, to us, extremely well handicapped at present off 81. He may well go to Thirsk at the beginning of August for a valuable 3 year old handicap. I wouldn't be surprised if he is operating at a higher level by the end of the year.

The 3 year old filly SIGNORET has been a little frustrating after winning her maiden at Thirsk in May. She's a classic example of a horse whose running style (sprinter) contradicts her breeding (should be better over a mile). I loved her very fast breeze and hopefully we will revert to letting her kick on over 6f after failing to get home over extended 7f at Chester. I would be surprised if she doesn't pick up a couple more handicaps this season.

Last years exciting middle distance filly LATENIGHTREQUEST has taken a long time to get ready this year. Softish ground is essential for her, but hopefully we can get a good Autumn campaign out of her, where picking up some Black Type would be a real priority. 

The beautifully bred filly CODGERS GIFT is another who has taken a while to get ready. Ready for a step up in trip for handicap debut, she is another one for the Autumn.

Over at Nicky Henderson's, Middleham Park have built up an impressive string of beautifully bred bumper & store horses, the envy of many an owner.

My involvement is with the 6 year old mare QUIET CANDID. Bought after winning a ptp in Ireland, she won her Novice Hurdle at Towcester in November and then a Handicap Hurdle at Market Rasen in March before just failing to finish off her race in a good quality Mares Listed Hurdle at Cheltenham in April. 
She is likely to go Novice Chasing in the Autumn, and there is an excellent programme for Mares at all the top meetings through the Jump Season. 

That's quite a lot of info for one blog. In Part 2, I will expand on my plans for Staplegrove Racing and let you have details of my first Irish Investments with the great Willie Mullins as well as a brilliant new Racing Club with Alex Dunn.

If you've enjoyed my Blog, please retweet and tell your friends.

If you would like any info on Racehorse Ownership or would like me to source a horse for you, or are a trainer looking for owners, or would like an experienced professional to run your syndicates, or even better manage your horses for you, please get in touch by email dave@flutter61.co.uk or DM at Twitter at either @flutter61 or @StaplegroveRace or good old fashioned phone 07967 725295 and I would be delighted to chat to you. 

Many Thanks

Dave Arthur

Friday, 20 March 2015


It's been a while since my last post 'Flattening out & Jumping forward' at the start of October.

What followed was heartbreaking for Marty (Mission to Mars), all my fellow owners in Staplegrove Racing and his devoted lass and companion Janey Lloyd at Nigel Twiston-Davies yard. After all sorts of tests to try and sort what was causing Marty's post race distress, we felt that we had done everything possible as we went to Huntingdon to try and follow up his first chase victory. I hadn't contemplated him falling, but the sight of him sliding into the first fence and falling in a heap, only to be cannoned into by a following horse and then getting up and galloping on, clearly injured beyond saving, was something nobody wants to see and left us all in complete shock. 

I realise that it's an unfortunate part of jumps racing, but if anyone ever has the nerve to doubt the dedication and care of the stable staff who look after theses wonderful creatures, they only needed to see the faces of poor Janey and young Jamie Bargary who had to come back in and tell us what had happened, to understand how much they are loved and cared for. 

RIP Marty


As I mentioned, I had joined forces with Alexandra Dunn Racing at West Buckland and taken a 50% lease in ARRAYAN, and we have had great fun campaigning him to try to win prize money, wherever he has run. He is a grand old campaigner and it would be marvellous to get a win for him before the end of the year. He has run some cracking races on the All Weather and got a handicap mark of 67, but as the Flat season approaches, the big battalions of the Flat are starting to bring their good horses out, so there are now very few 'Easy' races to be had. We thought Arrayan had a decent chance at Exeter, where I was delighted to be able to offer the ride to Jamie Bargary. Arrayan ran a cracker but got bogged down in the very sticky ground. The handicapper has relented and dropped Arrayan to a mark of 99, so we will almost certainly go to Newton Abbot's opening meeting next Wednesday, with Alex's newly appointed Conditional Mikey Hamill claiming a valuable 7lb. We stil have a chance of achieving my dream of a win at my home track of Taunton before the end of the season, but a win anywhere would be fantastic.

Alex and Tom have had a great season and my fellow owners with Marty, have taken the plunge again by taking a 50% Share in Teachmetobouggie, a 4 year old gelding bought very cheaply at Ascot Sales by Tom. Bouggie is progressing extremely well and we hope that he will make his Bumper debut in about 3 weeks time. He could be very exciting and 'The Dream' starts again for Staplegrove Racing.

I am also working with Alex and Tom to look to form Partnerships in a number of new horses that they have available. We are currently looking for owners for BLEU ASTRAL, a very well related 3 year old, who was bought out of the Richard Fahey stable. He is likely to be campaigned over hurdles over the summer jumping season and promises to give his owners a lot of fun over the next few months

Have a look at www.alexandradunnracing.com for details of all shares available.

An exciting few weeks ahead with my own horses and with 2 jumpers and 8 Flat horses with Middleham Park Racing, either in action or about to come out shortly, 2015 promises to be another fun filled season.

I will post an update on the MPR horses over the next week or so.

I hope you enjoyed my update? If you did, please share it and retweet as much as possible. If you are interested in getting involved in the yard, please email me at dave@flutter61.co.uk or phone on 07967725295.

Many thanks for reading.

Wednesday, 1 October 2014


October is here and with thoughts turning to jump racing, despite some of the jewels of the Flat season still to come (Arc, Champions Day, Breeders Cup), I've finally found time to review the last few weeks and look forward to what could be a very exciting jumps season for my horses.

Flattening Out

It would be fair to say that it's been a disappointing Flat season with my horses with MPR. Sweet Lightning was retired after sustaining an injury, which at the age of 9 and a glittering career behind him, we felt it kindest to give him to his devoted lass at David o'Meara's, rather than send him to the sales to scrabble round the gaffs for another yard. Stand my Ground has struggled since his great opening run at Doncaster in the Spring Mile, never getting his ground until landing a claimer in the fog and mud of Musselburgh. Hopefully he can pick up a handicap in the Autumn mud before the end of the season.

Lexington Place was sold to Ruth Carr after failing to sparkle in his early season work after a brilliant 2013, hopefully Ruth can rekindle some form with him as she does with so many horses switched to her very gentle training regime.

My two stars have been the Richard Fahey trained pair Tatlisu and Latenightrequest.

Tatlisu has has had a superb season contesting many top sprints but has been incredibly unlucky with the draw on a number of occasions. Drawn on the wrong side at Goodwood (Stewards Sprint), Ripon (Great St Wilfred), Curragh & Ayr (Ayr Silver Cup), he has risen to a mark of 92 and surely has one of these big prizes in his grasp either this year or next. That said, he has won over £27000 in win & place prize money and been a real star taking me to many big meetings this year.

Latenightrequest has just come back after a mid-season break as she is a filly who relishes give in the ground. In winning two competitive handicaps she has risen from a mark of 79 to 89 and ran a great race on ground that didn't suit in the Group 3 Musidora at York. 1m 4f on Soft ground should bring out the best in her and there are 1 or 2 targets still left this season at Newmarket and Doncaster, where I hope that she will continue her impressive progression.

The three 2 year olds that I got involved with this year have been slow to come to hand and are still awaiting their first victories. Signoret has just qualified for a handicap mark of 70, which should allow her to be competitive in back end nurseries. 5f and softish ground looks like suiting and she is a very fast filly. Codgers Gift, also with Richard Fahey, has run two very nice maidens, looking like a trip of 7f plus will suit, she has always looked like a 3 year old , so hopefully a lot more to come from this very well bred filly. Finally Eagle Empire made his debut at Chepstow for Richard Hannon, running far too free to last home. He may have one or two more runs this year but again looks a handicapper at this stage.

Jumping Ahead

Whilst away at Ayr I missed the seasonal debut of my own syndicate horse Mission to Mars (Marty) trained by Nigel Twiston-Davies. He had made his chasing debut back in May, in a hot novice chase where he battled for 3rd place but unfortunately collapsed at the end of his race and was found to have been suffering from a virus. The stable had reported him in superb form at home but with nothing coming to light over the summer, I wasn't confident that he would even finish, let alone win at Newton Abbot. But win he did!!, backed in from 6/1 to 11/4 in the morning (not by me!!), he jumped beautifully and travelled behind the long time leader before taking it up 2 out and then battling on bravely when lack of fitness started to tell, to hang on for a fantastic handicap chase victory on only his second run over fences. Unfortunately Marty again collapsed at the end if the race and had to have oxygen in order to bring him around. Once up he was right as rain, but the cause of the problem remains a mystery and we will allow Nigel's vets to give him a thorough overhaul before looking at his next race. Masses of potential if we can sort the medical problem. A first ever win for Staplegrove Racing!!!

I've shares in 3 over jumps with Middleham Park Racing this year. The enigmatic Mad Moose goes back before the BHA in November to see whether he will be allowed to race again, assuming he wants to. I would love to see him run and prove his ability just one more time, so that people's memories of him are of him racing rather than not!!

John Quinn has wrapped Distime in cotton wool for the second time in 3 years after getting a leg again back in January. He has masses of untapped potential as a novice chaser and has an entry at Uttoxeter on a Sunday, should the going turn at least good to soft. Fingers and everything else crossed.

Finally very excited to be involved with Quiet Candid at Nicky Henderson's yard at Seven Barrows. This mare came over from Ireland and ran close up in two bumpers at the end of last season. Refusing to settle, she still showed tremendous potential and will almost certainly go straight over hurdles within the next few weeks.

Exciting Developments

I've been looking to expand my own syndicate over the summer and have been speaking to two local yards about part leasing horses for this jump season. I've had lots of initial interest but nothing concrete as yet but hopefully after Marty's success, people may feel more like joining me in my ventures.

I've agreed to lease 50% of Arrayan, a 9 year old hurdler in trainer with local (West Buckland) trainer Alexandra Dunn. Arrayan will try to achieve a lifetime ambition of mine to win a race at my local track (Taunton) in my colours. Rated 118, Arrayan will be aimed at Sellers and Claimers, with a view to picking up prize money every time he goes to the races. Alex and her husband Tom are really positive, forward thinking people with a real passion and understanding of horses and I am really looking forward to being involved with their yard this season, suspect it may be a lot of fun!!

I am also trying to set up a small partnership in a promising Novice Chaser, Chance Encounter, an 8 year old gelding in training with Linda Blackford nr Tiverton in Devon. Linda and her partner Mike are real enthusiasts and have a lovely set up in the Devon countryside, with some smashing young NH horses purchased from Ireland. Chance Encounter appears well handicapped over fences and should give any potential owners a lot of fun this season and again I am looking to find partners to join me in a lease deal for the horse to stay in Linda's yard.

I intend to advertise both horses over the next couple of weeks but if anyone fancies joining me, either DM me on twitter @flutter61 or email dave@flutter61.co.uk.

Once again Many Thanks for reading my blog and I hope you found it interesting and mildly entertaining. Thanks for your support.


Monday, 4 August 2014


Well it's taken me until my summer holiday in Tunisia and a free wifi that just stretches to the lawn outside reception, for me to get the Blog back on track.

Firstly, thanks to everybody who has read, followed and retweeted my blog over the last couple of years, including such luminaries as Jim McGrath, Richard Hoiles, Paul Nicholls and Richard Fahey to name but a few. I really appreciate every single retweet as if anyone is entertained, informed or enthused about this great sport, then it's worth sharing my experiences with you.

2014 started with me carrying quite a bit of overweight at 14st 4lb, with High Blood Pressure and just seen my 53rd Christmas. Ready for retirement and retraining for another discipline (more of this later). Now I like a pint, pasty and a Bacon Roll as much as the next man (if the next man is Giant Haystacks) so the thought of diet and exercise wasn't filling me with enthusiasm. However with the support of my colleagues at work (and a whiteboard countdown to my target of 13st by end of April - titled The Fat Controller) I started counting the calories and doing some gentle exercise. 

Now, I hear you say, what the **** has this got to do with Racing, you buffoon? Well, my motivation was to try and improve the odds of extending my Racing career well past retirement, most importantly to see my sons grow up into adulthood but also to do the Year!! You know the one, Cheltenham, Doncaster, Aintree, Newmarket, Punchestown, York, Chester, Epsom, Ascot, Goodwood/Galway, York, Doncaster, Ayr etc etc on until Kempton on Boxing Day (Lots missed but you get the drift!!)

Anyway, I sit on this lawn in Tunisia at 12st 9lb and despite the All Inclusive buffet available, spending 45 mins in the gym each day desperately trying not to put all the weight back on. So hopefully it's still on and I've had a damn good go at as much as poss in 2014. 

The full Cheltenham experience (no Moosie this year!!) was followed by 3 days in Punchestown both as punter. My horses have taken me to Doncaster for the Lincoln/Spring Mile, York May Meeting, Newmarket Guineas weekend, Sat as owner, Sunday as Racemaker (more to follow), Hamilton Park, Newbury, Ffos Las, Huntingdon, Stratford, missed Goodwood Sat as on holiday. Trips booked to York Ebor and Ayr Gold Cup weekend with possible runners.

So as you can see I've had a damn good go whilst working, 10 more years and I can start the full year adventure!!! 

With only my iPhone for company, the horse by horse summary will have to wait until I return on the 10th but highlights have to be Sweet Lightning's brave 4th place in the Lincoln at 9 years old & Stand my Ground's even closer 2nd in the Spring Mile on the same wonderful March afternoon. Latenightrequest proved herself a classy soft ground performer with a brave 6th in the Group 3 Musidora at York after losing a shoe, watch out for her in the Autumn. Finally Tatlisu has proved himself a sprinter to follow with victory at Newcastle (from Muthmir!!) and then just missing out on two big pots with 2nd in the Scottish Stewards Cup at Hamilton & beaten 2 short heads for the Stewards Cup Consolation race at Goodwood on Saturday. Ripon & Ayr could be next in line for him. 

So as you see, very close to 4 big prizes but winning less than £4k for being beaten less than a head for a £24k first prize is a little frustrating as I'm sure the handicapper will look harshly on his brilliant effort!! 

Anyway nearly time for Tea and cakes!! (Just a diet coke with a diet vodka thrown in for good measure!!). I will update this seasons horses shortly, three new 2 year olds to look forward to, and news of good old Moosie and Marty at Nigel's with appropriately stolen photos from twitter and Facebook. Also news of my next stint with the brilliant Racemaker team at York.

Please retweet to as many people as possible. Thanks and next update as soon as I get back to blighty!!

Cheers Dave.

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

Monday, 16 September 2013


Apologies for the lack of posts over the summer months but I have been busy setting up a new venture, which I will tell you about shortly.

Following Mad Moose's abortive attempt to entertain and frustrate in equal measures at Royal Ascot, it's been a busy summer with trips to Goodwood, York and Newbury although the vast majority of the runners have been at the Northern tracks, making constant travel to watch, financially prohibitive.

Star of the season has to be Lexington Place, a horse we had very high hopes for early in the season and who disappointed for Richard Fahey before getting a new lease of life at David O'Meara's and rattling up a quick 4 timer to add to his early maiden win. Very good runs at Goodwood and York have marked him down as a sprinter with a lot of potential and with his half brother Rex Imperator winning the Stewards Cup and half Sister Heavens Edge winning her 2 year old Maiden, a very good season for the Dam, Elidore.

Tatlisu came back to form with 2 wins already in his 3 year old season and looking to be improving. Ruth Carr got a win out of good old Victoire De Lyphar (his first since his 3 Year old Career) and the Ultra Consistent Our Boy Jack has been placed 5 times, without a win, his consistency and honesty meaning he gets little respite from the handicapper.

2 year olds Go Jamesway and Maupiti Express have been disappointing, Strange Magic has been waiting for some soft ground (better handicapped for the Autumn) and Stand my Ground is just back following a mid-season break.

Of course I musn't forget the tremendous success of Sandiva, which led to her big money sale to Sheikh Johaan of Qatar. I couldn't have been happier to see her win easily in France and she will almost certainly go into the winter as one of the favourites for 2014 1000 Guineas.

Which Brings me to my Mission..........

Regular Readers of my blog will know that my roots are in jump racing and that I have previously run my own partnerships and kept my connections with the West Country jumping fraternity. My experiences with Mad Moose and the fantastic Twiston-Davies team, have whetted my appetite to increase my connection with the yard and when I visited Moose in the Summer, I was shown a lovely 4 year old gelding that Nigel had bought at Brightwells April sale at Cheltenham. He immediately took my eye and I decided to try and form a partnership to buy him. My sale proceeds from my share in Sandiva, enabled me to buy 50% of the horse alongside a long standing friend of the Twiston-Davies family, David (Willy) Langdon. A combination of friends, Twitter and advertising on the excellent RaceHorseTrader website, enabled me to set up a small partnership under my Staplegrove Racing name.

And here he is .....

Mission to Mars has had 1 run in an Irish Point to Point, finishing 3rd to two horses who were also sold at the same Cheltenham sale. He is closely related to both Bosun's Mate and Nigel's superb chaser Young Hustler. His sire Presenting is responsible for jumping stars Denman, War of Attrition, First Lieutenant, China Rock, Ballabriggs and of course our own Mad Moose!!! amongst many others.
Mission to Mars (Marty) is working well at home with a Bumper debut on the cards in the next 3 to 4 weeks. It is incredibly exciting to be in at the very start of what we hope will be a long career over the sticks as we follow our boy through the various learning stages of the jumps game. I also hope that Marty will be the first of many Staplegrove Racing horses over the coming years.
Just hope that he doesn't listen to advice from his illustrious stablemate!!

Tuesday, 18 June 2013


It's been an extremely busy and eventful few weeks in the lead up to Ascot and today Middleham Park Racing announced that we have completed the sale of our extremely promising filly SANDIVA to Sheikh Johann Bin Ahmed Al Thani and that she will run in his colours in the Albany Stakes at Royal Ascot on Friday.

I'm sure a lot of people will wonder why the syndicate has chosen to sell a young horse, that is potentially on the verge of greatness, when that is surely our dream, to own a horse that can run in all the top races. A very valid question and one that all the syndicate members had to ask themselves this week.

When Middleham Park Racing but any horse, they are always looking for potential improvers or great value yearlings that have the potential to win prizemoney and hopefully increase their value. The majority of our syndicate owners are normal working men and women who love the sport and invest what they can afford in order to be involved as an owner in our wonderful sport. The pleasure we all get from watching our horses on the track, at the stables or on the gallops is immeasurable and worth every penny.

When SANDIVA was bought last August for just £18,000, her breeding value was already in place as a half sister to a Listed winner and Richard Hannon's exciting Wentworth. What she did on the track exceeded our expectations and it was inevitable that offers would come flooding in after winning so well at Naas. We turned down a number of deals before we got the 'offer we couldn't refuse'. Whilst it is a shame to lose out on a possible superstar, the money will be re-invested, no doubt in further purchases, to enable the syndicate owners to continue to enjoy their ownership experience for a while longer.

The financial reality is that we need to win prizemoney to pay the training bills and sell at a profit on occasions to offset the many that don't work out so well!!. Middleham Park Racing's fantastic placing of their horses is an enormous help - 3 More Yearling Bonuses won this year and a number of BOBIS bonuses bear testament to that.and their ability to buy well, alongside their trainers, is uncanny.


When one door closes, another opens or in this case, a stall opens!! The question will be whether the mercurial MAD MOOSE chooses to wander out of it, on his way to racing in the 2m 6f Queen Alexandra Stakes on Saturday at Ascot.

Since he got the better of us again at York, we've left it to Nigel and his team to 'Sort him Out'. He has recently enlisted the help of the brilliant and very successful Gary Witherford to help Moosie and he will be with him at the start on Saturday in order to improve Moosie's chances of getting away on terms.

MAD MOOSE is the horse who 'Dreams and Disasters' could have been invented for, but he has massively exceeded all our expectations as well as frustrated us with his antics (Trips from Somerset to both Aintree and York to see him stand still!!!)
However Moose has a very decent chance in this long distance race. Despite running over 1m 4f and 1m 6f on the Flat so far, Moose was third over a very testing 3 mile hurdle last Autumn, so no reason not to be confident he will stay the trip, something a lot of his opponents won't be able to match.

Will he start - Will he Win? Nobody will know until the last race of this years Royal Ascot on Saturday but we will all have a wonderful day, whatever happens.