Yorkshire Syndicate Hoping For Royal Ascot Glory with Commonwealth Cup Contender

Features | 10th June 2022

Yorkshire based syndication company Grange Park Racing has cheered home over 80 winners since it was founded over a decade ago - but it’s never had a horse as exciting as leading Commonwealth Cup contender El Caballo.

The “horse of a lifetime” they paid only £16,000 for is among the favourites for the Group 1 showpiece at Royal Ascot after winning six races in succession for trainer Karl Burke.

“He’s put us in the premier league,” says Grange Park founder Alan Crombie, whose owners share the colt with John Hughes of Owners For Owners and Dr Chris Emmerson, whose colours he carries.

“I never thought we’d have a horse this good and we might never have one like him again, so we’re living the dream. It feels quite surreal to have the second favourite for a Group 1 race at Royal Ascot worth half a million pounds. We’re more used to running for a fraction of that in little handicaps in the north.”

Alan’s shareholders include his son Marshall, who works as a postman; a doctor, a fencing contractor and two more owners from the building industry, and all but one will be at Ascot to cheer El Caballo home.

Grange Park agreed to syndicate a half share in the son of Havana Gold after he arrived at Burke’s Leyburn stables from the sales for £30,000 as a yearling and by the following summer his owners quickly began to realise they had something special.

El Caballo finished a close second to subsequent Group winner Armor in a Doncaster maiden in April 2020 before romping home in a six-furlong novice at Carlisle three weeks later, only for a setback to curtail their plans to run in the Group 3 Prix du Bois at Deauville in France.

“He sustained a hairline fracture on the gallops which prevented him from running again until the winter, but it was probably a blessing in disguise,” recalls Alan. “It gave him time to grow and strengthen up before his comeback run last December.”

That was another clear-cut victory in a Wolverhampton sprint, this time a Fast Track Qualifier for the £150,000 All-Weather Championships 3YO Final at Newcastle on Good Friday.

Burke was keen to run him again before the Final and sent him to Gosforth Park for a dress rehearsal which he also won convincingly. That set him up for the Listed Spring Cup at Lingfield Park where he stepped up to seven furlongs to duly complete a four-timer with the minimum of fuss.

“To have a Listed winner was beyond out wildest dreams,” adds Alan. “If that had been the height of our success with him we’d have been happy but little did we know there was much more still to come.”

El Caballo then fulfilled his engagement in the All-Weather Final and produced another gritty performance to beat the highly regarded Tiber Flow in the hands of regular rider Clifford Lee – a performance Alan had to watch from home due to testing positive for Covid.

“Karl had always considered him a Commonwealth Cup horse so the next logical step was the Group 2 Sandy Lane Stakes at Haydock Park,” he explained. “It was a step into the unknown and we’d have been thrilled to be placed, but he went and won again – his sixth in a row.”

Victory in the North West prompted a lucrative offer for the colt that was unanimously declined and propelled him to the forefront of the betting for Ascot’s coveted six-furlong sprint, which is restricted to three-year-olds.

Alan and his shareholders, together with co-owners Hughes and Emmerson, plan to be at Ascot to cheer him home in the hope of becoming Group 1 winning owners.

“People I talk to can’t believe we have a horse that is one of the favourites for a big race at Royal Ascot,” adds Alan. “I went to get my haircut for the big day and my hairdresser was convinced I was going to watch a friend’s horse. No, he’s ours, I told her. Our horse is racing at Royal Ascot.”


The aim of Grange Park Racing is to offer fun, affordable syndicates with the very best communications, making the shareholder feel like they are the sole owner.

We are Northern based and our horses are trained mostly in the North, by some of the best trainers.

As well as Owner’s Badges when your horse runs, you will also receive your percentage of all prize money. You will get regular updates on your horses progress, as well as race reports after every run, with Trainer & Jockey Feedback . A monthly newsletter with all the latest GPR news. Regular Stable Visits, & other Social Events, including Lunches & Racecourse Social Days. Visit our website for further details.