Horses owned by syndicates and partnerships claimed their share of the headlines on the Flat and over jumps in 2019. He were reflect upon some of the star performances featured on In The Paddock during another memorable year for smaller owners.
Pentland Hills was a modest Flat handicapper with Newmarket trainer Chris Wall before being switched to Nicky Henderson, who transformed him into a Cheltenham Festival winner in March.
The Owners’ Group syndicate were out in force too see him win the Triumph Hurdle after only one run over obstacles at Plumpton, and three weeks later the gelding struck again to maintain his unbeaten record in the Grade 1 Juvenile Hurdle at Aintree.
The son of Derby winner Motivator was too keen to do himself justice in the Grade 2 International Hurdle on his return to action at Cheltenham this season but remains on course for a crack at the big one, the Champion Hurdle, at the 2020 Festival.
— ITV Racing (@itvracing) March 15, 2019
Bargain buy Vosne Romanee rounded off an unforgettable season for the 20 members of Foxtrot Racing who each paid just £500 for a share in the Dr Richard Newland-trained gelding.
Bought cheaply to go juvenile hurdling, the eight-year-old continued to progress up the chasing ranks enough to run in the Grade 1 Celebration Chase at Sandown in the spring before taking his proud owners Stateside.
Vosne Romanee was far from disgraced behind the mighty Altior at the Esher track and almost pulled off a fairytale victory in the valuable AP Smithwick Memorial Steeplechase at Saratoga in July.
Top British jockey Sam Twiston-Davies flew out to ride him in the Grade 1, finishing a close second to big race favourite Winston C, before an injury put paid to any hopes of a second run in North America.
WHO DARES WINS
Few horses take their owners to top meetings on the Flat and over jumps but the wonderfully versatile Who Dares Wins has turned up at just about every big party and came out on top in the valuable Northumberland Plate on the Newcastle Tapeta in June.
Runner-up in the Chester Cup the previous month, his triumph in the ‘Pitmen’s Derby’ was his fourth on the Flat and presented young jockey Tom Marquand – his regular partner – with one of his biggest successes.
That prize supplemented Who Dares Wins’ three victories over hurdles, and took his prize money haul for Henry Ponsonby Racing to over £300,000.
Tim Easterby has enjoyed a record-breaking year with over 120 winners, including the syndicate owned sprinter Hyperfocus who confirmed his promise with a handicap win at Ripon in June.
He didn’t manage to win again for the Ryedale Partners but took his shareholders to some big tracks and made the frame in the William Hill Silver Trophy Handicap at Ripon in August – the consolation race for the valuable Great St Wilfrid Handicap.
Hyperfocus was also a close third in another hot race at Haydock in September before beating 20 rivals to get within a neck of winner Gulliver in the £100,000 Coral Sprint Trophy at York in October.
Nick Bradley Racing’s smart handicapper continued his love affair with Ascot, taking his career earnings to just over £300,000 when winning the International Stakes in the summer.
The son of Oasis Dream wasn’t disgraced when stepping up to Group 3 company at Haydock after that and may have extended his winning sequence back at the Berkshire track but for suffering a set-back in the valuable Challenge Cup in October.
Bought by Bradley for just 16,000 gns three years ago, the Jamie Osborne-trained 2018 Balmoral Handicap winner has certainly given his 24 shareholders another year to remember.
Hot To Trot Racing, who lease well bred horses for more than 80 members to enjoy, achieved top level success when their classy filly Heartache won the Queen Mary and the Flying Childers Stakes in 2017.
But they were back in the spotlight again this summer when the Henry Candy-trained Kurious won at Listed and Group 3 level at Sandown Park in June and July.
Although she wasn’t seen in public again, this half-sister to Group 1 winning sprinters Tangerine Trees and Alpha Delphini has already given her paddock value a considerable boost and may yet be back to give Hot To Trot’s enthusiastic owners more to cheer about in 2020.
Kennet Valley Thoroughbreds were in overdrive when their Flashcard won the valuable Porsche Handicap at the King George meeting at Ascot in July en route to a Group 3 placing at Salisbury.
The Andrew Balding-trained three-year-old headed to Ascot on the back of a creditable second to the useful Motakhayyel in another mile contest at Newmarket earlier in the month.
Flashcard, who has 16 proud owners, won his first two races as a two-year-old last season before finishing second in a valuable sales race at The Curragh and looks set to make his mark at Group level next year.
ROSE OF KILDARE
Mark Johnston never fails to provide his Kingsley Park partnerships with big race successes and 2019 was no exception, thanks mainly to bargain buy Rose Of Kildare.
Snapped up for just 3,000 euros as a yearling, the precocious filly won five of her 12 races as a juvenile and got better with every run as her season came to a close.
She won the Group 3 Firth Of Clyde Stakes at the Ayr Western Meeting before heading to Newmarket to score again at that level in the Oh So Sharp Stakes, taking her prize money haul beyond £115,000.
Middleham Park’s Raymond Tusk took his owners on a great adventure in the autumn after posting an eye-catching finish to be fourth in the first ever £1 million Ebor Handicap.
Richard Hannon’s colt flew down under to take his chance in the race that stop a nation, the Melbourne Cup. He didn’t enjoy the clearest of passages but was only beaten around five lengths.
The son of High Chaparral proved he was quickly over his demanding schedule when getting up to win a Fast Track Qualifier at Newcastle in mid-December for the All-Weather Championships Marathon Final at Lingfield Park on Good Friday.
TOP VILLE BEN
Philip Kirby has made his name this year as an up and coming trainer of jumpers, with the wonderful mare Lady Buttons flying the flag for his Richmond stable.
But he has high hopes for improving chaser Top Ville Ben, who built on his third to the smart Lostintranslation in the Grade 1 Mildmay Novices’ Chase at Aintree in April with a battling third in the Listed Rehearsal Chase at Newcastle in November.
Owned by the Harbour Rose Partnership, the seven-year-old could be set for a crack at one of the big chases at the Cheltenham Festival in March – he was travelling well when coming to grief in the Grade 1 RSA last season – but connections also have one eye on Grand National glory.
Stroud trainer Tom George is hoping to go one better with classy chaser Bun Doran at this season’s Cheltenham Festival.
The eight-year-old gave his owners the Crossed Fingers Partnership a day to remember when finishing a gallant second in last season’s Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Challenge Cup Handicap Chase.
But George believes the imposing gelding now has a better chance of triumphing in the two-mile Grade 3 at his local track come March – a comment underpinned by his fine second in a valuable handicap chase at Newbury at the end of November.
The prospect of victory in the £150,000 3YO Final at the All-Weather Championships at Lingfield Park on Good Friday will be keeping Maystar’s owners excited all winter.
The Hambleton Racing-owned gelding made every yard to win a Fast Track Qualifier at Wolverhampton in early December for Archie Watson and regular rider Hollie Doyle and flew out to Qatar to contest a valuable conditions race before Christmas.
Meanwhile, Yorkshire-based trainer David O’Meara has worked wonders with Hambleton’s veteran sprinter Watchable this year. The nine-year-old smashed the five-furlong track record at Epsom in June before striking on the All-Weather at Newcastle and Lingfield Park.