A Report by guest correspondent Russell….our Honourable syndicate member from Mansfield.
For the past 12 or 15 years I have been involved in syndicate ownership, with horses trained by Ferdy Murphy, Sue Smith and more recently Phil Kirby.
During this time, most of the days out to watch the horses race have involved a drive north up the A1.
Whether it be Catterick, Carlisle, Sedgefield, Doncaster, Newcastle, Wetherby or further afield to the likes of Kelso, Hexham, Musselburgh and Ayr all involving a large part of the A1.
Wednesday 27th November 2019 was no different.
A terrible weather day, the sort of day when your windscreen wipers cannot work fast enough.
At least though it was a relatively short journey from my home in Notts to Wetherby races and the prospect of seeing the exciting, most recent addition to the famous colours of McGoldrick Racing, our 4yo Blaster Yeats trained by Sue Smith whose horsebox does not register south of Doncaster on it’s compass !!
At least that`s the joke myself and my frequent racing companion, and fellow syndicate member John often crack on our many sojourns up the A1.
Previously Blaster had shown some promise.
On his first run for McGoldrick racing he finished a staying on 4th at Sedgefield, and then a few weeks later a good 3rd at Hexham.
So we were hoping he would continue to show improvement in his first handicap run which looked to be a very competitive looking race.
We were not to be disappointed!
Upon arrival at the course John and I duly collected our owner’s badges plus the all important food vouchers and race cards, before making our way to the owners and trainer’s bar.
To be fair to Wetherby the new facilities for owners there are very impressive and are much appreciated, especially on dismal weather days. We therefore settled down to read our Racing Posts and take advantage of the free tea and coffee plus biscuits.
There were not too many of us attending that day and next to arrive was our fellow syndicate member Carol.
Being involved with horses most of her life Carol has quickly been appointed both McGoldrick’s Equine and Veterinary Expert plus Paddock Analyst. Her knowledge in those areas is superb and I am learning a great deal from Carol.
Following Carol was Gareth, the very enthusiastic 50% partner with McGoldrick Racing. Finally, and as usual, last to arrive was our glorious syndicate leader “Lord” Richard Longley. Having just rolled out of his bed Richard was very excited like the rest of us to see Blaster race later. He had brought along with him his highly intelligent and beautiful daughter Frances, a lover of all things fizzy and alcoholic as we experienced during the afternoon.
As Blasters was the penultimate race of seven on the card, we settled down to an afternoon of banter and betting.
Whilst others studied the form in vain to find winners I resorted to the tried and tested method of ‘back the first horsebox you see’. Whilst driving up the A1 John and I had passed the Philip Hobbs horsebox on its long journey from the south, his one runner, which duly obliged albeit at restrictive odds of 2/1.
We also received a boost to the Blaster form during the course of the afternoon as the Nicky Richards trained Ribble Valley, in the famous Monet’s Garden colours, won the 1.50 race. Ribble Valley was the winner of the race at Hexham where Blaster had finished third and looks a very good prospect.
Finally it was time for our race and we all scuttled down to see Blaster in the parade ring, and meet the jockey and trainer etc.
Sue and Harvey were both there and in good form.
Following a lengthy spell on the cold list, Sue had trained three winners in the past few days so spirits were high.
Blaster looked superb and although not the biggest of horses, our paddock analyst Carol swung into action. She reminded me that he was only a 4 yo and that over the next couple of years he will only grow and strengthen. Blaster was the joint youngest horse in the race with most being at least 5 or 6.
Talking about youth, along came our jockey Sam Coltherd, a jockey I had not met previously, but a jockey with a bright future ahead I am sure.
After the customary shaking of hands we all clustered closely to hear tactics and instructions,”lay up in the first three” were the predominant instructions from Sue. Sound advice, as all the winners that afternoon had raced up with the pace. The bell went signalling time for Sam to get the leg up on Blaster.
The race commenced and as instructed Sam maintained a position of third or fourth. It was a beautiful ride but unfortunately Blaster was no match for the winning 6 yo Thomas MacDonagh. It certainly though was not a disappointing run as Blaster battled to finish a gallant second at odds of 10/1.
Once again, although green and making a couple of minor jumping errors, Blaster showed a great attitude to his racing, which bodes well for his future and was another big step forward.
After the race we returned to the paddock to receive a detailed debrief from Sam who was really pleased and appreciative of the ride.
As Sam left to be weighed in, our very pleased and delighted syndicate members returned to the owner’s bar, with our leader Richard clutching a voucher for a bottle of champagne kindly donated by our Wetherby hosts, for finishing second.
In the bar Richards daughter Fran showed her expertise with the champagne bottle, and we all raised a glass to Blaster.
After an hour or so of eagerly chatting about the race we`d just seen, and where / when Blasters next race might be, bar staff ready to leave and go home, eventually dimmed the lights, which was our cue to leave or be thrown out !!
After saying our goodbyes John and I returned to the car and with the wipers once again on overdrive, it was back home down the A1 again, safe in the knowledge that Blaster will provide us with many more exciting trips for us in the future, northward bound up the A1 of course
You never know though, one day we may even go south, Cheltenham maybe?
McGoldrick Racing member