Big Targets Lie Ahead For Ebury

Features | 21st July 2022

Ebury Racing’s owners are bracing themselves for an exciting second half of the British Flat season with a string of talented performers including this month’s rejuvenated Ascot winner Mountain Peak.

Ed Walker’s sprinter became one of five winners this year for the six partnerships under the banner of Ebury Racing, founded and run by long-time enthusiast Philip Afia.

They also have highly rated sprinter Great Ambassador, who could bid to make it third time lucky in top handicaps in the Coral Stewards’ Cup at the Qatar Goodwood Festival later this month.

Speedy two-year-old Union Court and dual winner Above It All complete the quartet in training with Walker while fellow Upper Lambourn handler Tom Ward has won three times with Diamond Bay and has charge of un-raced juvenile Cabaret Show.

“We’re having a tremendous amount of fun with Ed and Tom, who do such a great job for us,” says Philip. “The horses have been running well all year and we have some exciting targets to look forward to.”

Mountain Peak has been a revelation for his owners. He was on the brink of being retired last year but took his win tally to 10 with a hard-fought verdict in that £100,000 sprint handicap at Ascot on 9th July, elevating his official rating 6lb to a lofty 108.

“We discussed calling it a day, but Ed has handled him differently this year, basically allowing him to train himself, and he’s bounced back better than ever at the age of seven to become our winning most horse,” explains Philip.

Victory at Ascot under regular partner Tom Marquand followed a head defeat in the Epsom Dash, one of the fastest five-furlong sprints in the calendar, and whilst plans are fluid, Walker has suggested a crack at the Breeders’ Cup could be on the cards.

Great Ambassador, meanwhile, is among the leading fancies for the Stewards’ Cup – a race he finished third in last season before beating all but Bielsa in another big handicap, the Ayr Gold Cup in September.

“He deserves to win one of these races,” insists Philip. “Ed bought him speculatively as a three-year-old off top owner-breeder Jeff Smith and we were lucky that he sold him to us. He’s won us three races including the Listed Garrowby Stakes at York and is now rated 107.”

Ebury Racing’s owners come from all walks of life. Trevor Harris of Lordship Stud owns a share in Mountain Peak while other shareholders are from the world of construction, bookmaking and the medical profession.

Union Court, however, is described by Philip as a “family horse”. The filly is named in memory of two relatives and backed up her two wins with a creditable run in the Listed Windsor Castle Stakes at Royal Ascot.

“I used to run the partnerships with my good friend John Hobson, who sadly passed away two years ago, but since then his wife Liz has come on board to help me with the day-to-day running of Ebury Racing, which is invaluable.

“Shared ownership has worked brilliantly for the like-minded people involved in my partnerships but they key is working with such good, honest trainers. With Ed and Tom guiding us, I hope we can look forward to many more special days,” he adds.

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