Syndicate Stars Light Up A Memorable Jumps Season

Features | 22nd April 2022

A fairytale win in the Coral Welsh Grand National, Cheltenham Festival glory and a string of other valuable victories! The 2021/22 National Hunt season was certainly an unforgettable one for syndicate groups all over Britain and Ireland, too.

Christmas arrived in style on 27th December for the members of the Diamond Racing syndicate when IWILLDOIT produced a stirring performance at Chepstow to win the Welsh National for trainer Sam Thomas and jockey Stan Sheppard.

The gelding’s performance defied a troublesome start when he was shuffled to the back of the field, but a spring-heeled display in the testing conditions he loves saw him bound nine lengths clear on what was to be his final start of the season for the long-established syndicate group.

At the Cheltenham Festival a couple of months later Middleham Park Racing’s continued expansion from Flat racing to the jumps yielded a notable success when their flagship horse MARIE’S ROCK claimed the Grade 1 Close Brothers Mares’ Hurdle.

Trained by Nicky Henderson and ridden by his stable jockey Nico de Boinville, the seven-year-old defied her big odds to score a comfortable success over the better fancied Irish raider Queens Brook. A relatively cheap purchase at 35,000 euros, Marie’s Rock supplemented her two Listed wins to give Middleham Park their fourth top level success following three Group 1 wins on the Flat.

Cheltenham also made some magical memories for the owners of LOVE ENVOI, who extended her unbeaten record to six as she stormed up the hill under Johnny Burke to win the Grade 2 Ryanair Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle, better known as the Dawn Run.

It was a proud occasion for former Festival winning jockey Noel Fehily, as the mare was running in the colours of his increasingly successful syndicate Noel Fehily Racing, who were celebrating again when the Harry Fry-trained six-year-old finished second in Grade 1 company at Fairyhouse in Ireland over Easter.

Meanwhile, Ireland’s Flooring Porter Syndicate were also popping the champagne corks when their horse of the same name won them Grade 1 Paddy Power Stayers’ Hurdle at The Festival. Trained by Gavin Cromwell, FLOORING PORTER made all under Danny Mullins before finding only Sire Du Berlais too good in the equivalent at Aintree, the Grade 1 Liverpool Hurdle.

Success in that Cheltenham feature would have been a distinct possibility for Nicky Henderson’s gallant grey BUZZ, but for a season-ending injury sustained soon after his success in the Cesarewitch Handicap on the Flat and the Grade 2 Ascot Hurdle.

Buzz, who raced in the familiar emerald green and yellow Thurlowe Thoroughbreds colours to raise vital funds for the Royal Marsden Cancer Charity, fractured his pelvis in his final preparations for the Grade 1 Long Walk Hurdle in December. As he continues his rehabilitation at Seven Barrows, Thurlowe are hoping he will return to the racecourse next season.

Canter Banter Racing have also enjoyed plenty of fun with Henderson. Their THEATRE GLORY completed a hat-trick in a Listed mares’ novices’ hurdle at Cheltenham before Easter and looks an exciting prospect for next season.

Another celebrated trainer Kim Bailey has enjoyed top level success with syndicate horses in recent years and DOES HE KNOW and TWO FOR GOLD enhanced that record last season. The former confirmed the promise of his novice Chase success at Cheltenham last October by landing the Grade 2 Reynoldstown Novices’ Chase at Ascot in February for the Yes He Does Syndicate.

Bailey’s May We Never Be Found Out Partnership was out of luck in the Grand National but exciting chaser Two For Gold had already given them a season to remember, winning a valuable handicap at Lingfield’s inaugural Winter Million Festival and finishing second in the Grade 1 Betfair Ascot Chase.

Finally, CORACH RAMBLER had given his owners the coveted thrill of winning at Aintree and Cheltenham before returning to Prestbury Park to take the Grade 3 Ultima Handicap Chase. Trained in Scotland by Lucinda Russell, the gelding won going away for Derek Fox to spark his owners The Ramblers into celebration.

These performances and many others made it a truly memorable winter and now the new season promises even more headlines for syndicates and partnerships dreaming of further top flight success.