Syndicate chief Nick Bradley has high hopes for bargain buy Mystery Angel

NICK bradley was confident that he’d made a shrewd acquistion when he purchased the promising filly Mystery Angel at the breeze-up sales.

This was Mystery Angel winning the Pretty Polly Stakes at Newmarket under Ben Curtis for Nick Bradley Racing.
This was Mystery Angel winning the Pretty Polly Stakes at Newmarket under Ben Curtis for Nick Bradley Racing.

By the time he’d driven his £22,000 purchase from Newmarket to his farm at Goxhill near Barton-upon-Humber, all the shares had been sold.

His reputation meant he ended up with a smaller share in the horse than he intended because he didn’t want to turn away prospective customers.

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And now the 25-strong syndicate harbour realistic hopes of landing tomorrow’s Tattersalls Musidora Stakes, the day one highlight of York’s season-opening Dante Festival.

This was Mystery Angel winning the Pretty Polly Stakes at Newmarket under Ben Curtis for Nick Bradley Racing.

Entrusted with George Boughey, an emerging trainer, Mystery Angel confirmed her class when landing the Listed Pretty Polly Stakes back at Newmarket 10 days ago under Ben Curtis.

The win came just 75 minutes before the Richard Fahey-trained Fev Rover, another filly to run in the white black colours of Nick Bradley Racing, finished third in the Qipco 1000 Guineas to Frankie Dettori’s Mother Earth.

But both results offered further evidence why syndicate ownership is becoming increasingly successful in racing – and why Bradley was right to swap his job as a primary school maths teacher for a career in racing.

And, while he gained immense personal satisfaction from his work as a teacher, his second career as a professional gambler – and then syndicate owner – was always going to yield greater dividends.

“The workload is higher – but the rewards are far higher,” Bradley tells The Yorkshire Post ahead of Mystery Angel’s toughest test to date.

“She (Mystery Angel) has come out of the Newmarket race as well as any race. We were thinking of the French Oaks but, with all the restrictions, have decided, to stay closer to home.

“Ben gave her a great ride at Newmarket and it was great for all the owners to be there. I am confident she is a Group One horse in time.”

The confidence is discernible from Bradley who has never been afraid to back his own judgement when it comes to the purchase and placing of horses, first with Middleham Park Racing, and now with his own enterprise which he launched in 2015.

His modus operandi is a simple one – to buy fillies with plenty of promise, like Mystery Angel, Fev Rover and Dandalla who won at Royal Ascot last year for Karl Burke, to perform well enough to earn ‘black type’ and which, in turn, enhances their future value at stud as broodmares.

Crucially, says Bradley, it provides a chance for syndicate members to fulfil their own racing dreams with the possibility of a financial return if their filly is subsequently sold to one of the more illustrious breeders.

It helps that he has an encyclopaedic knowledge of the breeding and form books – helped in no small part by many late-nights watching American racing.

He also likes to see all prospective purchases; hence the fortuitous trip to the Craven breeze-up sales last year to buy Mystery Angel after being visually impressed by the way she moved over the lush turf.

And while he says she’s unlucky to have only won three out of her 10 starts to date, he is confident that both this horse – and Fev Rover who is named after Featherstone Rovers – will win at Group One level.

It’s a bold claim from a Malton-born businessman who continues to make no secret of his ambitions as racing’s finances continue to evolve. “It will be Coolmore (Aidan O’Brien and Ballydoyle); Godolphin (Sheikh Mohammed) and syndicates at the top in five years time,” he predicts.

“There is a big market for people who want to be successful and see their dreams come true. I don’t suffer fools. Every decision I make is following a long thought out process. I go to bed thinking about racing and I wake up thinking about racing – and making sure our horses, and owners, come first.”

As for the Musidora, all eyes will also be on Sir Michael Stoute’s Noon Star and the Roger Varian-trained Teona as they put their respective Cazoo Oaks credentials on the line.

Noon Star, who runs in the Juddmonte colours, is a daughter of brilliant mare Midday, a multiple Group One winner for Sir Henry Cecil. Third on her debut at Salisbury, she subsequently beat Hugo Palmer’s Ocean Road, who was placed in the Lingfield Oaks Trial, at Nottingham.

Noon Star gave some idea of just how good she might be when carrying a 7lb penalty to success at Wetherby on her seasonal bow, with Lingfield winner Sherbet Lemon back in fourth.

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