Tullius - with KVT colours - wins the 2014 Group 2 Bet365 MileIf you are interested in racing, or even obsessed by it, and have always wanted to feel the thrills of ownership, joining a syndicate and buying a share in a horse is a first step. Racing manager Sam Hoskins can certainly find you a share in one of the horses Kennet Valley Thoroughbreds (KVT.)
The KVT syndicate was started in 1988 by Nick Robinson - the man who helped get Robert Sangster into racing. He suggested Sangster put a bet on Chalk Stream - a good Wiltshire name. The horse did not win, but Sangster bought the horse as a gift for his fiancée.
Nick Robinson, now aged 77, was a pioneer of horseracing syndicates. He was the publisher of the racing industry's Pacemaker magazine, which has now merged with Thoroughbred Owner and Breeder magazine.
Last year Robinson handed over management of KVT to a very much younger man - 28-year-old Sam Hoskins. And he has now retired as KVT's Chairman - but still owns shares on some of KVT's horses. Over the years KVT have sent out 122 winners and earned £2.8million in prize money.
Sam Hoskins at Newbury Sam Hoskins became interested in racing when his grandmother owned half of Errant Knight - a chestnut gelding trained by Martin Pipe who won sixteen races in the early 1990s. Sam got a great thrill from leading him in after races.
When he was seventeen - and still at school - he found out how to lay off his bets. Then one day he forgot to lay off what was for him then a huge gamble - a £20 bet on the Nicky Henderson trained hurdler Geos. It was the 2004 running of Newbury's Tote Gold Trophy Hurdle. Faced with a field of 25 runners, Sam spent an agonising time waiting to lose his £20. But the horse won and he pocketed £400 - that hooked him on racing.
Sam Hoskins trained on the Irish National Stud course - a course that covers many aspects of racing: "I lost a stone and a half mucking out!" He then worked at studs in Kentucky and Cambridge, New Zealand where there is a mix of breeders, trainers, polo, eventers and racing: "I learnt the ropes there."
Back in Britain, he spent two and a half fulfilling years working for the Niarchos family - leading racehorse owners and breeders.
With that £400 win behind him, and a head for the niceties of breeding and form, he went on to win racing's lottery prize: he landed the Racing Post Ten-to-Follow Competition for the 2008-2009 jump season - a cool £440,000 win. It allowed him to set himself up in business.
In 2012 he started the Hot to Trot Racing Club with Luke Lillingston. This is more a racing members club than a syndicate. They lease horses rather than buying them and so can provide a much more affordable way into racehorse 'ownership'. Hot to Trot currently has seven horses.
The KVT silks Sam and Piers Winkworth are continuing KVT's regime of selling shares in single, named horses - 16 shares for each horse at around £7,000 per share. With trainers' fees at between £50 and £60 per day, it is an expensive business. But winnings and any money left over at the end of the season is returned to shareholders.
The syndicate has horses with trainers Andrew Balding, Charlie Hills, Ralph Beckett and Richard Hannon. It is mainly involved with young horses - buying at the yearling sales in the £30-50,000 range. This season they have four two year olds - three colts and a filly.
They have one 'old timer' - the much cherished syndicate star Tullius. He is an Irish bred seven year-old chestnut gelding trained by Andrew Balding at Kingsclere. On 25 April 2014, Tullius, with Jimmy Fortune aboard, ran on strongly to win Sandown's Group Two BET365 Mile by three and three-quarter lengths. That win was worth £53,800 to KVT.
And last month he won the Betway Doncaster Mile Stakes by half a length. But Jimmy Fortune could only bring him in fourth of a field of five in last Friday's (April 24) BET365 Gordon Richards Stakes at Sandown - like humans, horses have to have 'off-days'.
Sam takes a realistic view of Tullius: "He's not the most straightforward horse. And we are already thinking ahead about ways to give him a good retirement after racing."
KVT horses earned their owners £238,477 in 2014: "Last year," Sam told Marlborough News Online, "was our most successful season for many years, mainly due to the fantastic year had by our star Tullius."
KVT's other horses for this flat season are: Bishop's Leap, Frenchman, Magical Memory, Match my Fire, Maxwell, Signal Hill and Stroke of Midnight.
Some people may find that joining a syndicate not only brings the thrill of winning, but also some doubts when something goes wrong with your horse. But the good days in the winner's enclosure always make up for any set backs.
Following his equal first dressage score at the Rolex Kentucky Three Day Event on Friday (April 24), Tim Price tweeted a photo of a calm and grazing Wesko: "Super happy with this pony!! Thanking ya'll for your support. Time to cross country up!!!!"
Without much ado and with rain affecting the course, Tim and Wesko, who are based near Marlborough at Mildenhall, rode a faultless cross country round. They remain top of the leaderboard with just the show jumping stage to come on Sunday (April 26.)
The Rolex Kentucky is one of the six highest rated four star eventing competitions held annually around the world. And with two of the three disciplines behind them Tim and Wesko hold a 0.4 of a penalty point lead over the German rider and Olympic Champion Michael Jung who is in second place on LA Biosthetique-Sam FBW and also in third place on Fischerrocana FST.
British entry and former winner of the event, William Fox-Pitt lies in fourth place on Bay My Hero.He was one of the last to compete on the cross country course and came home with 8.4 time faults.
Of the cross country's 71 starters, there were just six combinations clear and inside the optimum time, with 26 going clear but picking up time faults, 15 were eliminated and 10 retired on the course.
Elated by Tim Price's performance with Wesko, the New Zealand team also suffered a disappointment. Emily Cammock and Dambala rode a clear round with 11.2 time faults - moving them from 38th to 18th after the cross country.
However, she has to withdraw him from the showjumping: “After the second to last fence I felt something wasn’t quite right and as we pulled up at the end of the course it was obvious we had a problem,” said Cammock. She thinks an old injury has been revived by the softer ground.
General Manager of Al Basti Equiworld, Arun Menon with Greatwood Co-founders Helen & Michael Yeadon.Every year the spring sunshine brings Greatwood's retired racehorses out into the fields at Clench Common, just south of Marlborough - and after a winter being cared for mainly inside, they are looking very good indeed.
This spring has brought another very welcome development for Greatwood, the charity which combines delivery of pioneering education programmes with the rescue and rehabilitation of ex-racehorses. They have officially unveiled a brand new educational facility with the help of Al Basti Equiworld.
The Al Basti Equiworld Classroom will allow Greatwood to expand its teaching programmes which are specially designed to educate disadvantaged children and develop life skills in young adults with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND).
Greatwood's new classroom was formally opened by Arun Menon, General Manager of Al Basti Equiworld, the United Arab Emirate’s leading distributor of horse feeds, supplements and veterinary products which has funded the project. Al Basti Equiworld’s contribution also extends to supporting the salary of a newly appointed teacher for the next three years.
Racehorse owner, sponsor and Founder of Al Basti Equiworld, Malih Al Basti said: "I was introduced to Greatwood last year and was immediately impressed by the work they are doing with horses and children. The charity is unique both in its approach to education and the rehabilitation of former racehorses no matter how severe the need."
"I am delighted with the way the classroom looks and hope it will help Greatwood to enrich the education of young people for many years to come."
Helen Yeadon, who founded Greatwood with her husband Michael in 1993 said: "We are enormously grateful to Al Basti Equiworld for their support of this project which will enable us to provide enriched learning opportunities to some of the most socially and educationally disadvantaged children in our community."
"We are also delighted to be welcoming a new team member in Jane Muir-Brooks our new SEND teacher whose appointment is as a direct result of Al Basti Equiworld’s support."
|Arun Menon joins Greatwood students in the new classroom with SEND teacher Jane Muir-Brooks (right)
Barbury Racecourse - a specialist venue for point-to-pointsThere were two doubles on the card at the Tedworth Point-to-Point held at a bright and breezy Barbury Racecourse (April 12) where a large crowd gathered to watch the feature race of the day. The Tedworth Gold Cup (the JM Finn & Co Mixed Open Race) is a stayers test over 3 miles 6 furlongs.
Patiently ridden by Charlie Dando, the Michael Hawker trained mare, Cecile De Volanges, was tucked in behind the leaders for much of the race. Dando made his move five fences from home. Although Turtle Boys was not going to go down without a fight, the mare eventually got up to win by two and a half lengths.
"She travelled well although she made a couple of mistakes early which knocked her confidence," explained Dando. "But as the race progressed she became more fluent, winging everything down the back straight and running on well."
Hawker dashed off to saddle Bobble Mist in the next race, who duly obliged when finishing alone in the Simpsons Subaru and Jockey Club Mares Open Maiden, giving her trainer his second win of the day.
Trouble Digger, partnered by Joe Drinkwater gave elder brother and trainer Sam Drinkwater his first win in a tightly fought finish to beat Joe the Trucker by a neck in the William Bartholomew Party Organisers Club Members Race for Veteran & Novice Riders.
John Wills, who owned and bred the winner, is no stranger to the saddle himself having taken part in the Grand National - back in 1969! Drinkwater's second win came in the 2 mile 4 furlong Open Maiden Race with Breath of Blighty - having run out in his previous race - firmly anchored by jockey, Charlie Deutsch to beat Deal Of the Day, who has now been placed five times in Maidens this season.
Sent to post the 1-5 favourite, the Sally Alner trained Garstin under Luke Kilgarriff led for much of the way and stayed on well to hold off a challenge from Getyouractogether and Amelia Glass and take the Prestat Chocolates Confined Race.
Coeur Brûlée, owned, trained and ridden by David Turner won the Pheasant Inn at Lambourn Restricted Race cosily from Daves Venture. "He's kept and trained from a field belonging to Paul Coombes - my farrier", smiled Turner. "So I have him to thank."
In the Haddon Training sponsored pony races that preceded the main card, Harriet Godfrey, one of the leading pony race riders in the country won Division 2 of the 14.2hh race on Goldwell's Gucci, just ahead of the fast finishing Alfie Martindale and Otterburn Lady. Poppy Scott won the 13.2hh pony race aboard Coveham Generation followed by Division 1 of the 14.2hh race won by Ben Sutton riding Scribblin.
The day concluded with the Tedworth Hunt Charity Race, run in good humour in aid of the Wiltshire Air Ambulance and won by Michelle Williamson and Spider.