"Once In A Lifetime" trip on horizon for friends from Bolton

Features | 27th July 2022

A group of business friends from Bolton are planning a “once in a lifetime” trip to the Breeders’ Cup with sprinter Acklam Express - but success at the Qatar Goodwood Festival is the first objective.

MPS Racing’s four-year-old son of Mehmas is among the leading contenders for the Group 2 King George Qatar Stakes on 29th July following a remarkable performance at Royal Ascot last month.

Trained in Malton, North Yorkshire, by Nigel Tinkler, Acklam Express out-ran his massive odds of 200-1 to finish third in the Group 1 King’s Stand Stakes behind Australian ace Nature Strip and Twilight Calls.

Paul believes a reproduction of that form can make Goodwood ‘Glorious’ for Acklam Express’s enthusiastic band of owners, who have some big plans for the autumn, too.

“Acklam’s already proven he’s a high class sprinter and we’re very hopeful of a big performance after his achievement at Ascot,” says Paul Crowe of MPS Racing, who own the gelding in partnership with Mike Spence.

“He came out of the traps like a bullet and when he was still right there in contention in the closing stages I just felt numb with excitement. Nature Strip put the burners on and it was all over but our lad only just missed out on second,” recalls Paul.

“He broke the track record over five furlongs at Goodwood as a two-year-old so we know he will handle the track and he loves fast ground, so hopefully the hot weather will continue.”

“He’s also got an entry in the Group 1 Nunthorpe Stakes at York in August but the main plan is to take him to the Breeders’ Cup in the autumn if everything goes well at Goodwood. Nigel’s already had a taste of it with Ubettabelieveit, who was third to Golden Pal in the Juvenile Turf Sprint in 2020, so he’s very keen to go back, too.”

Acklam Express is no stranger to international success himself, having spent two productive winters in Dubai. He was third in the Group 1 Al Quoz Sprint on World Cup night last year, finishing first in his group, and was runner-up in a Group 2 at Meydan for the second winter in a row back in February.

MPS Racing’s six shareholders continue to enjoy fun on the Flat with a string of horses including recent winners Dandy Dinmont and Selfish Brian, and the syndicate has plenty more ammunition to fire this season.

Two-year-old Parr Fire won on debut at Doncaster in May for Tinkler who also has promising youngsters Smalleytime and Sydney’s Son to run in MPS’s distinctive lime green silks.

The syndicate is also hoping for further progress from juvenile JM Jungle, a close fourth in the valuable Two-Year-Old Trophy at Beverley in May after taking a Hamilton maiden for fellow Malton trainer John Quinn.

“Acklam Express is our star and has already taken us on an amazing adventure and we pinch ourselves to have a horse as good as him,” adds Paul. “Going to the Breeders’ Cup will probably be a once in a lifetime experience but first we’re hoping to reach new heights at Goodwood – my favourite track.”