AP McCoy, the greatest jump jockey ever, celebrated riding an incredible 4,000 winners recently and I’m proud to say one of those wins came on board a horse I owned at the time. Well, owned is a bit of an exaggeration, part-owned is more accurate and, if you want to be pedantic, my share was five per cent. In other words, slightly less than a quarter of a leg. The horse was Golden Dream and at Bangor-on-Dee on August 19 2011, after looking beaten at the last, AP delivered one of his trademark finishes to get the horse home in front.
I was on a cruise ship in the middle of the Adriatic with my wife, Sally, at the time. Instead of cheering on Golden Dream at the track we had to listen to the race commentary on my mobile phone. And it wasn’t easy when you consider that it was being relayed from my colleague Daniel’s phone, which he was holding next to the speaker of his computer, tuned into the William Hill website.
I had mixed emotions, delight at the victory but regret at not being there with my brother Ashley – also a five per cent shareholder – to enjoy the success. It probably ranks as both the highlight and lowlight of my career in racing ownership to date.
I never thought I’d ever become involved in owning a racehorse. But the advent of racing clubs and syndicates has made it more affordable with packages available to suit every budget.
I took my first steps into ownership with my brother three years ago when we joined Koos Racing Club and took a share in a horse called Bring Sweets. Since then, in many respects, we’ve been incredibly lucky.
Many owners wait years to experience the thrill of winning and quite a lot never do but within three months Bring Sweets had managed to win a race for us at Southwell. Unfortunately, for various reasons neither of us was there to see it and that proved to be the last win of Bring Sweets’ career. He was eventually sold and we took shares in Golden Dream instead which, as well as winning at Bangor, also won a race for us at Uttoxeter.
Golden Dream did help me fulfil one of my dreams by running in a race at Wetherby, my favourite track, but that was his last race for us. We now have a share in a horse called Taxi des Obeaux, trained by Phil Kirby at Middleham. Unfortunately, Taxi has given us experience of the downsides of racehorse ownership. On his hurdling debut at Sedgefield on Boxing Day last year he unseated his jockey at the very first hurdle. Then, in his second race he damaged a tendon, which has prevented him from racing since.
Taxi is now on the comeback trail and fingers crossed he will be fit to run again soon. With a bit of luck he will win a race at some point. But whatever happens I will always be able to say: “AP McCoy rode my horse to victory.”