DECEMBER OWNER INTERVIEW - ALAN JAMES

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BACKGROUND - A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOURSELF (OCCUPATION , WHERE DO YOU LIVE, FAMILY ETC)

We live in Solihull. Sally has two sons Mark and James and we have 5 lovely grandchildren, Millie, Evie, Theo, Lexie and Charlie. Prior to retirement I owned a contract flooring company and Sally a Deli and sandwich shop. According to Sally I play golf at least 4 days a week, spend countless hours planning golfing trips, have currently played on almost 500 golf courses worldwide, and avidly follow West Bromwich Albion Football Club.
 
 

HOW DID YOU FIRST GET INVOLVED IN RACING

My father owned a horse in the 1960’s called Gay Throstle, Throstle being one of WBA’s nicknames, and Gay meant something rather different in those days.

He was trained by Gavin Hunter at East Ilsley and was placed on a couple of occasions before eventually winning a selling plate at Chester, and was promptly sold.

WHAT HORSES ARE YOU/HAVE YOU BEEN INVOLVED WITH BOTH KIM AND OTHER TRAINERS?

Originally we had shares in Royal Supremo and Peeping Tom, both now sadly retired through injury, but thankfully happy in new homes. We now have shares in Lord Apparelli, Donnie Brasco, Does He Know, Shinobi and Voyburg.

WHAT WAS YOUR BEST/FUNNIEST EXPERIENCE ON A RACECOURSE

Watching our first horse, Royal Supremo, win at Southwell. Our first visit to watch him race was at Kempton Park where he burst a blood vessel and was pulled up. When he returned to the unsaddling enclosure, both he and David Bass were covered in blood. I think our ownership career nearly ended then, but to see him restored to full fitness and to win was a thrill.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE RACECOURSE/RACE MEETING

Anywhere one of our horses runs well and comes back safely.

HOW DID YOU FIRST GET INVOLVED WITH KIM

Through Robert Steele who has a lot to answer for.  At the time he was a golf professional at my golf club, Ladbrook Park.  He had shares in horses with Kim and over a morning cuppa he would regale me with tales of his racing experiences, and his thoughts on that day’s racing. It sounded so much fun that I arranged a visit to Thorndale.  Everyone made me so welcome and I was instantly hooked.  Subsequently I have found friendliness, accessibility and communication superb. The horses have a wonderful life there, with their welfare being paramount.

IF YOU WERE IN CHARGE OF RACING FOR A DAY WHAT WOULD IT BE

An increase in prize money would be good.

NOW AWAY FROM RACING, IF YOU COULD TRADE LIVES WITH ONE PERSON FOR AN ENTIRE DAY, WHO WOULD IT BE AND WHY

Rory McIlroy - to experience what it is like to drive a golf ball 350 yards and generally straight.

IF YOU COULD INVITE 5 PEOPLE TO DINNER WHO WOULD THEY BE

David Jason, Peter Kay, Eric Morecambe, Bob Monkhouse and John Bishop - a very funny evening.

DO YOU HAVE A SWEET TOOTH OR A SAVOURY TOOTH

Sadly both.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE FOOD, HOLIDAY, RESTAURANT, TV PROGRAMME

Roast Lamb

Both Sally and I enjoy attending major sporting events worldwide. We have been lucky enough to go to the Olympic Games in Los Angeles, Sydney and London, Ryder Cups and tennis majors.
Our apartment on the Costa Del Sol for relaxation

Gordon Ramsey’s restaurant, Chelsea - quite the best food I have eaten (other than at home!)

Most sports and Coronation Street

IF YOU COULD DO ANYTHING YOU WANTED RIGHT NOW WHAT WOULD IT BE

Along with many others, finish Brexit once and for all and ban the word for ever

WHAT ARE YOU MOST LOOKING FORWARD TO

Our next winner, West Bromwich Albion getting promoted (with Nottingham Forest one place behind - Mat) shooting my age on the golf course and a great family Christmas

 

 

 

 

 

NOVEMBER OWNER INTERVIEW - STUART BALLANTYNE

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BACKGROUND – A little bit about yourself (Occupation, where do you live, family etc)

I live near York which is too far away from Thorndale farm than is ideal but means we really look forward to our trips down. I have my own Management Consultancy business but am desperately trying to wind down so I can spend more time watching horses, playing golf and watching with despair the inexorable decline of Newcastle United! I have a lovely wife Lucy and two daughters at college, Rosie and Amy who both love the horses we are involved in with Kim.

How did you first get involved in Racing?

My godfather taught me how to use Timeform at the age of 7 and had me immediately hooked – although my subsequent punting suggests he didn’t do a great job! I’ve always followed horseracing and took my first job after university solely because it was in Cheltenham. I’ve been a member for each of the 30 years since. My best mate from University, Phil Andrews, came to stay on my floor for 20 years of Cheltenham Festivals and when he retired, he invested in some horses with Kim and drew me into it too – albeit on a much smaller scale.

What horses are you/have you been involved with both with Kim and other trainers?

I have shares in Arthurs Sixpence and Donnie Brasco, both complete gentlemen who have won our hearts totally!

What was your best/funniest experience on a racecourse?

Last year watching best mate Phil’s horse, Mr Grey Sky, win his second bumper at Christmas time, with his Mum, Dad and an assortment of his wonderful elderly scouse Aunts was a wonderful day with amazing people. Phil’s mum Mavis and ‘Auntie Shirl’ can also drink wine at a rate that puts people a third of their age to shame! Sharing any day at the races with great friends and family is about as good as it gets.

What is your favourite racecourse/race meeting?

Kelso – and I only went there last weekend for the first time! Beautiful setting and wonderfully helpful and kind people at the course.

How did you first get involved with Kim?

Through my best mate Phil who has a number of horses with Kim. Once I met Peter, Kim, Matt and all the team I took little persuasion. Wonderful people all, whose passion and commitment not just to the racing but also and most importantly to the welfare of the horses is a joy. You couldn’t find nicer people.

If you were in charge of racing for a day what would you change?

Not much really, I suppose I’m not sure I like the way that bookmakers depend so heavily on tempting often vulnerable people into their shops to play on machines which are little more than daylight robbers.

Now away from racing - If you could trade lives with one person for an entire day who would it be and why?

The manager of Sunderland, so I could wreak havoc.

If you could invite any 5 people for dinner who would they be?

Bruce Springsteen, Joe Strummer, Michael Eavis, Tony Benn and Alan Shearer

Do you have a sweet tooth or a savoury tooth?

Savoury

What is your favourite food, holiday, restaurant, tv programme?

Food is sashimi, holiday is Kalkan with family, restaurant is The Man Behind The Curtain and TV programme is The Wire

If you could do anything you wanted right now, what would it be?

Watch Newcastle win champions league whilst listening to radio commentary of Sunderland game in which they were relegated to Non League football.

What are you most looking forward to?

See above!
 
 
 
 
 

OCTOBER OWNER INTERVIEW - PETER BENNETT-JONES

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BACKGROUND – A little bit about yourself (Occupation, where do you live, family etc)

Married to Ali with three kids (Ludo, Tilly & Bertie)  in their late 20’s – a fine triumvirate. I live in Oxford, work in Soho and have a holiday home in Anglesey- another fine triumvirate. I work in the entertainment business as producer and agent through PBJ Management, having started Tiger Aspect Productions in the 80’s. Ex chair of Comic Relief ,  Save the Children and National Theatre Productions.

 

How did you first get involved in Racing?

A school chum Piers Pottinger seduced me into buying Prince Madoc from Mark Bradstock 20 years ago, followed by sharing ownership with Piers of his brother King Harald (winner of Jewson Novice Chase at the 2005 Festival)

What horses are you/have you been involved with both with Kim and other trainers?

In addition to above syndictes with Bradstocks, Andrew Balding via  Kennet Valley Thoroughbreads, Emma Lavelle via Thurloe and expensively unsuccessful co-ownerships with another chum via  the mighty John Goldstone. Total blank with two Jamie Osborne 10 x tenth ownerships!

What was your best/funniest experience on a racecourse?

Prince Madoc winning his Newbury bumper @66:1 by 30 lenghts (‘no longer a race but a procession” on the commentary) and winning the Jewson Novice Chase when jockey Mattie Bachelor lost his stirrup footing stumbling over the last at Cheltenham..a tense 30 seconds ensued..

What is your favourite racecourse/race meeting?

A cliché but the Cheltenham Festival, despite a Liverpool upbringing.

How did you first get involved with Kim?

I met him fishing on the Tay courstesy of a mutual friend – he can fish and sip a night-cap oor two..!

If you were in charge of racing for a day what would you change?

Double( at least..)the jumps prize money

Now away from racing - If you could trade lives with one person for an entire day who would it be and why?

The Prime Minister so that I could abolish Brexit – the event and the word ever being used again


If you could invite any 5 people for dinner who would they be?

I have been lucky meeting many interesting people over the years- I would like to dine again with Michael Palin, Joanna Lumley, Justin Welby, Alistair Campbell & Michael Bloomberg. From the long gone I would like to go to the pub with Cicero..

Do you have a sweet tooth or a savoury tooth?

I have no sense of taste or smell..so academic I am afraid

What is your favourite food, holiday, restaurant, tv programme?

The Rose and Crown public house in north Oxford is my happy second home – no music (apart from jazz on Sundays) , no tv and no phones. A haven with great beer and clientele- from porters to professors

If you could do anything you wanted right now, what would it be?

Recover my sense of taste…for all that delicious wine I bought over the years..

What are you most looking forward to?

A forthcoming November week in Mauritius with all the family is pretty high on the list- sea, sun, golf, grub, grog and the oldest race-track in the southern hemisphere! Paradise.

 

 

 

 

 

SEPTEMBER OWNER INTERVIEW - STEVE & CHRIS ADAMS

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BACKGROUND – A little bit about yourself (Occupation, where do you live, family etc)

Steve & I are farmers who live in Stoke-on-Trent, we have been happily married for 40 years! We feel very lucky that we share our love of horses & racing & have had some fantastic days racing at many racecourses. We have two children, Clare is a maths teacher & Peter who is a partner in our business, we rear beef cattle & make haylage which we supply to many aspects of the horse industry. Our son Peter & Vicky his wife also run their own livery yard.

How did you first get involved in Racing?

As a youngster Steve hunted with the North Staffs Hunt, he also rode in hunter trials & did team chasing, then point to pointing followed on, this gave Steve the bug for racing, Chris also.

What horses are you/have you been involved with both with Kim and other trainers?

We first had shares with Favourites racing & a horse called Kaiserstolz trained by Ian Williams, he was our first winner & went on to win 3 more races. Then there was Mr Mustard he also won 4, of which 3 of them were under A P @ Fontwell. We had a share in Brigadier Miller with Nicky Henderson, he won a bumper. Then we ran our own mare Miss Lucky Penny with Ian Williams she ran 10 times & was placed in 6 of them, she is now a brood mare at home & has had 4 colts, 2 by Gentle Wave, 1 by Pethers Moon & the latest one by Telescope. They are all for sale!!!  With Kim we have a share in the two time winner Silver Kayf & a share in Pond Road who is looking very exiting for this season & we were involved with the unlucky Desaray

What was your best/funniest experience on a racecourse?

Our best moment was experiencing our 1st winner on a racecourse when Kaiserstolz won at Sedgefield. Our funniest experience was when we won £1300 on the placepot at Cheltenham festival in 1989, we were staying in a caravan across from the racecourse, the facilities left a lot to be desired!!! So when we collected the money Chris put the funds in her underwear for safe keeping to stop the pickpockets getting it.

What is your favourite racecourse/race meeting?

Cheltenham November meeting, followed by the festival, now that the marvellous improvements have been completed.

How did you first get involved with Kim?

We saw an advert for a 3 year old grey gelding for sale, so we used that as an excuse to go & have a look around Kim’s stables. 24 hours later we had bought a share in Silver Kayf,  cunning litte devil that Peter Kerr, but joking apart it was a great decision & we always enjoy our visits to the stables & of course to the races.

If you were in charge of racing for a day what would you change?

We would like to try to educate the public & some people in racing that the persuader (whip) is so well padded it does not hurt the horse, & that it is a vital aid to help the jockey steer the horse into a fence or get around a bend. Race riding would be far more dangerous if it was banned.

Now away from racing - If you could trade lives with one person for an entire day who would it be and why?

Steve, Sir Ian Botham so I could sit by Bumble & commentate on the cricket & watch it from the best seat in the ground.
Chris, Sue Barker so I could be at top sporting events. i.e Wimbledon

If you could invite any 5 people for dinner who would they be?

Kim, Richard Phillips, David (Bumble) Lloyd,  Rob Brydon & Harry Redknapp for a good fun night & definitely no boring politicians!!!

Do you have a sweet tooth or a savoury tooth?

Steve both
Chris savoury

What is your favourite food, holiday, restaurant, tv programme?

Steve Rib eye steak to keep the beef farmers in business
Chris Satay Chicken
Both love Skiing in the French Alps
The Royal Oak @ Gretton
This Racing Life which gives a wonderful InSite into stables & studs & racing life in general

If you could do anything you wanted right now, what would it be?

To lead in the winner of the Gold Cup with a horse we had bred or at least lead one of our own home breds into the winners enclosure anywhere!!!

What are you most looking forward to?

October when the National Hunt Season gets properly underway & watching our talented grandson Artie hopefully playing sport at the top level
 
 
 
 
 

AUGUST OWNER INTERVIEW - DAVID SHUTTLE

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BACKGROUND – A little bit about yourself (Occupation, where do you live, family etc)


After travelling a little as a young man, I started my own retail business in Beaconsfield. It was a fairly up market venture and the business was very rewarding, I enjoyed it everyday. Now retired, I live in Princes Risborough with my lovely partner Shantha. I have a daughter Lara who was a very good rider and a son Joseph who played a good level at cricket.

How did you first get involved in Racing?

Boxing Day 1965, my parents took me to Kempton Park. My first bet (I was 13) was on Glenn, ridden by Terry Biddlecombe…..it won!

What horses are you/have you been involved with both with Kim and other trainers?

At present I am with “Does he Know” at Kim’s. I have also been involved in “Fizzy Dancer” a most beautiful mare and Desaray a very unlucky horse. I also have an interest in a six year old chaser “Classic Ben” with Stuart Edmonds.

What was your best/funniest experience on a racecourse?

We took my grandfather a racing innocent to Sandown Park. In those days, touts would sell racecards costing a shilling (5p) marked with “the winners”. He cornered my Grandfather who was now overwhelmed and demanded silver, Grandad gave him sixpence (2.5p) and walked off, the touts bottom lip hit the grass.

What is your favourite racecourse/race meeting?

Cheltenham Festival is in a class of its own however, for friendliness at Wetherby takes some beating.

How did you first get involved with Kim?

I always admired Kim’s racing credentials and a mutual friend spoke highly of him so I signed up.

If you were in charge of racing for a day what would you change?

Racing is in the competitive entertainment business – treat your customers to excellence in customer care!

Now away from racing - If you could trade lives with one person for an entire day who would it be and why?

I would wish to be Marcus Evans, the owner of Ipswich Town FC to show a blend of love and hard nosed business. To put the feel good factor back into the club and sense of belonging. Having sad that Frankel has a steady job!


If you could invite any 5 people for dinner who would they be?

My friends say never meet your heroes as you are always let down! My five would be Geoffrey Boycott, Bill Bryson, Diane Keaton, Hilary Benn (as a stand in for his father) and David Mould….an eclectic mix.

Do you have a sweet tooth or a savoury tooth?

Both

What is your favourite food, holiday, restaurant, tv programme?

Any well crafted vegetarian dish. In my opinion New Zealand is the finest country in the World. My favourite restaurant is Champers in Barbados, a lovely setting, good food and kindly serviced, also not pompous like many of its rivals. Best TV programme…University Challenge.

If you could do anything you wanted right now, what would it be?

I want to continue my riding lessons learning to jump, and then ride a racehorse over a couple of fences. Whilst having a six month sojourn on a narrow boat.

What are you most looking forward to?

My family close and extended is very sporty, spending time at Lords with my son or at horse trials with my daughter, Badminton with my partner. I am very lucky, long may it continue.

 

 

 

 

 

JULY OWNER INTERVIEW - TOCKY MCKIE

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BACKGROUND – A little bit about yourself (Occupation, where do you live, family etc)

Ian and I live and farm in Northumberland at the foot of the Cheviot Hills. We have a mixed arable and livestock farm, lots of Luing cows and calves and Romney sheep. Oh, and far too many horses, hunters, point to pointers, brood mares and foals and competition horses. We have two grown up daughters, Jess, who is mad about Eventing and Rose who helps run the office and manages our holiday letting business, www.crookhouse.com We moved north from Buckinghamshire in 2003 to escape from the rat race.

How did you first get involved in Racing?

When I was very little, some of my early memories were of my mother and father going off racing, they had horses in training with Tim Forster, who Kim spent some time with, learning how to muck out properly. Also I vividly remember the mares and foals on the stud, and was brought up with the Sporting Life all over the kitchen table, so I suppose it was inevitable that racing was going to play a big part in my future.

What horses are you/have you been involved with both with Kim and other trainers?

When Kim first took out a licence sometime in the seventies, not quite sure exactly but it was shortly after the war anyway, I was in one of his first syndicates with several of his other girlfriends. So it is exciting to be involved again all these years later with Yeavering Belle, it brings back lots of memories.

What was your best/funniest experience on a racecourse?

I was fortunate enough to train a few winners in the eighties and nineties, one or two at some big meetings. But of late, aged 61, I thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience and the preparation of riding in a charity race at Aintree. I finished a close third, Ian won it needless to say. I well remember, before we were married, Ian and I rode together in a Maiden Point to Point at Kimble. There were 26 runners and I was a long last, and terrified, for most of the way. Ian was having a shocker on his horse and it was just a matter of time before he fell. When he did so, three from home he got kicked a hundred yards from the fence by the other runners. He eventually got up on all fours and was just catching his breath when I came along and knocked him over again, I never heard him swear like that before, completely unnecessary I thought. It was a close run thing that our friendship survived, especially as I got up to win.

What is your favourite racecourse/race meeting?

I have two favourite Racecourses. Towcester, sadly no longer and Kelso, voted Britain’s friendliest racecourse. I was leading trainer at Towcester for several seasons, so it holds a special place. Kelso is such fun, a country racecourse run by sporting people, we were slightly disappointed that Yeavering Belle didn’t make it in May, maybe next season. I love the Goodwood July meeting, more relaxed than Ascot, but still an excuse to dress up, and as much as I try, I can find nothing can better Cheltenham in March, just to see the quality of the horses makes my neck shiver.

How did you first get involved with Kim?

Drinking gin with Ken and Biddy, his parents. They lived just down the road and they were both extremely kind to me and great fun.

If you were in charge of racing for a day what would you change?

In the morning I would take on the BHA as they need to get a grip of regulation. There are so many mixed messages coming through causing unnecessary damage to our sport. They do not appear to take into account the practitioners interests or understand simple horsemanship. As an amateur steward I hear a lot of dissatisfaction from a senior level. British racing is the envy of the world, why do we need to emulate the mundane stuff from the far reaches of the globe. The goodwill is there, I may need a little help from Kim though. In the afternoon I would go to the House of Commons, lobby all the detractors, and not leave until I have secured a deal on the levy to guarantee the future of racing. Oh, and I would tell the RSPCA to go and ……. themselves, our poor queen.

Now away from racing - If you could trade lives with one person for an entire day who would it be and why?

It would probably be a sports star, maybe Joanna Conte or someone like her. Just to be so fit and in the zone, working out how to get the edge and understand the mental strength. It would only be for a day though, I would need a strong gin by the evening.

If you could invite any 5 people for dinner who would they be?

Rod Stewart for a little light entertainment during and after dinner, the Princess Royal for her straight forward approach, Boris Johnson to discover what he is really thinking,  Alastair Down for his in-depth knowledge of the wine list and Jeremy Clarkson for his calming influence.

Do you have a sweet tooth or a savoury tooth?

I am afraid the sweeter the better.

What is your favourite food, holiday, restaurant, tv programme?

Anything with a baked potato goes down very well, simple food, nothing too rich. Mallorca with the family is still a favourite, even after all these years, but the Maldives, just to put the feet up, is hard to beat, and the beeches of the West Coast of Scotland for taking the dogs. The Platja Mar, Formentor, Mallorca, a real treat, they cook fresh fish straight in front of you. You cannot beat Sunday lunch at the Dunraven Arms and for a night on the town Quaglinos has everything. I usually fall asleep after about ten minutes of the television being switched on. I did manage to stay awake during Killing Eve so it must have been good.

If you could do anything you wanted right now, what would it be?

Just right at this moment I could think of nothing better than a long soak in a hot bath.

What are you most looking forward to?

To see Jess ride around Badminton would be a dream, I am not sure if I could actually watch though, and it has been a long time since I led in a winner at Cheltenham. 
 
 
 
 
 
 

JUNE OWNER INTERVIEW - LOUIS GILL

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BACKGROUND - A little bit about yourself (Occupation, where do you live, family etc.)

I run a video production and photography company (The Cotswold Film Company) with my friend Pete. I live in Cheltenham with my girlfriend Emily, she is slowly getting into racing although isn’t happy when I order framed photographs of horses for our house!

The business is also based in Cheltenham, although the beauty of the video Industry is that you end up working in many different locations. My family live locally and my brother now helps me with video projects. The love of being behind a camera came from my father; he is a very talented photographer. I don’t come from a racing background but have definitely given my mum the racing bug; we go to Cheltenham and Royal Ascot together every year.

How did you first get involved in racing?

My love for racing really stems back to the Cheltenham Festival. Being from Cheltenham I loved the way the town transformed for that one week in March. My family were not into racing although did watch the Gold Cup. I was always curious about the buzz that surrounded the Cheltenham Festival and had to discover what it was all about. I’d buy the Racing Post on the way to school and highlight all of the horses that I thought would win. Eventually I started going every year, my teachers would joke that ‘Louis is ill that week’, no questions asked! A few years on and I wanted to combine my interests, I wanted to start filming and photographing racehorses and this would eventually lead on to getting involved with racehorse ownership.

What horses are you/have you been involved in both with Kim and other trainers?

I have a share in Mergeela with Kim. Mergeela provided me with my first winner on a racecourse, a night that I’ll never forget. I also have shares in three point to pointers in training with Max Comley. They are Knockaderry Flyer, Cloudy Joker and Bitofblinding. They all run for ‘The Jump On Board Partnership’, a new syndicate that I help manage. I also used to have a share in a horse with Richard Phillips called Tangley.

What was your best/funniest experience on a racecourse?

There are too many to choose from although a few stand out. Having my first runner at Cheltenham at the hunter chase night this year would be one of them and feeling so proud of the horse (Knockaderry Flyer). The best though has to be my first winner, when Mergeela won at Wincanton we all had a pleasant surprise. Walking back to the winners’ enclosure in an empty racecourse with my friend Cam. We were all laughing in disbelief but also really happy that she’d left her first two runs behind. Sometimes it’s the little stories in racing that mean the most.

What is your favourite racecourse/race meeting?

Cheltenham on that special week in March, it’s one of the greatest sporting spectacles. I am a fan of Warwick racecourse as well and always have a good day out there.

How did you get involved with Kim?

As mentioned above, I really wanted to combine my two big passions in life, video production and horse racing. I contacted Kim with the idea of making a documentary back in 2015, he kindly invited us to the yard and we started talking through ideas. Kim brought up the issue of staff shortages in the racing industry and we decided to make a video that would help show what goes on behind the scenes of a racing yard (Racing Stories - Life At The Yard). We followed a number of Kim’s staff doing their daily routine, they also narrated the documentary. Kim has a fantastic online presence and that original documentary really helped kickstart us to make many more films in racing. In the future we are planning to launch a production company specifically for the equine industries. When we first came to Thorndale Farm I said to the crew that one day I’d love to have a horse with Kim, never did I think that four years later I’d have a winner!

If you were in charge of racing for a day, what would you change?

Prize money, I think there needs to be a bigger incentive to get new owners into the sport and more importantly to keep current owners in the game. This has to start from the bottom up. The prize money effects field sizes which then lead to small attendance levels at the smaller racecourses. Owning a racehorse is brilliant fun, the memories made from it are far more important than any prize money won, however seeing a bigger ROI would definitely be a good thing for owners!

Away from racing - If you could trade lives with one person for an entire day who would it be and why?  

Rick Stein. Then I’d spend the whole day cooking myself lovely food!

If you could invite any 5 people for dinner who would they be?

I think I’d reunite 5 of my friends. I could think of an endless list of celebrities but how often is it that you can catch up with your 5 best mates all at once?

Do you have a sweet tooth or savoury tooth?

Savoury.

What is your favourite food, holiday, restaurant, TV programme?

I like French food, especially seafood. There is a lovely French restaurant in Cheltenham called ‘Petit Coco’, me and my girlfriend really enjoy eating there. I actually love France for a holiday destination too, good food/wine and some stunning coastline.

I don’t watch a lot of TV; in fact I only ever watch live sport and the news. Maybe being behind a camera and editing screen so much makes it hard for me to watch TV?

If you could do anything right now, what would it be?

I’d play 18 holes at Augusta National!

What are you most looking forward to?

I’m looking forward to trying to expand The Cotswold Film Company; we’re always looking at new technologies and ways to develop. I also look forward to the journey with all of my current horses and hope for many more good days out!


 

 

 

MAY OWNER INTERVIEW - MARK & MARION HUDSON

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BACKGROUND – A little bit about yourself (Occupation, where do you live, family etc)

We met through politics in the late 1990’s and moved to rural Kent in 2006, complete with dogs and the children’s hunters.  Marion retired from farming and politics then, whilst Mark worked in the City before moving in 2018 to work for an Investment Bank in Abu Dhabi where he lives.  Marion travels between the two and Mark flies back for race meetings when he is able to, and to see his beloved dogs!  We have three children (Charles, Lucinda and Ellie, all of whom love racing) and three young grandchildren (Harry, Daisy and Verity).

How did you first get involved in Racing?
BOTH: Marion has always ridden and the three children grew up ‘Pony Clubbing’ and hunting with the West Norfolk. Mark is far too uncoordinated to be able to ride and instead regularly donated to various bookmakers’ retirement funds over the years.

What horses are you/have you been involved with both with Kim and other trainers?

BOTH: With Kim: Milord, Sunblazer, Un Ace, Younevercall, Bandon Roc and, most recently, Espoir de Romay courtesy of our friends, the formidable Foreman sisters.

We were also previously in two of Amanda Skiffington’s syndicates with Nidnod and Magical Path, trained by Hugo Palmer.

What was your best/funniest experience on a racecourse?

BOTH: We are very fortunate to have had a few.  Within four months of racehorse ownership, Milord came 4th in the Fred Winter at the Cheltenham Festival.  We made so much noise in the O&T stand that people were taking pictures.  Then A.P McCoy rode Un Ace as his last ever winner at Ascot in the Waitrose Novice Handicap Chase in 2015: we have watched that race once or twice and still cannot believe that the horse won.  Last week, on Champions Day, Younevercall won the Betfair365 Grade 2 Select Hurdle at Sandown in some style.

Daughter Lucinda warming her hands under Willie Mullins’s waistcoat at Ascot one year is also of note.

What is your favourite racecourse/race meeting?

BOTH: The Open Meeting at Cheltenham in November - a big picnic in the car park with family and friends followed by excellent racing.

How did you first get involved with Kim?

BOTH: Mark was introduced to Kim by a friend at the 2011 Open Meeting at Cheltenham.  A large glass of red was immediately proffered, and Mark came back to Marion informing her that they were going to look at a horse at Andoversford the following day. That horse was Milord and that was it!  We have loved every minute of it and would never have horses with anyone else.

If you were in charge of racing for a day what would you change?

Mark: probably the prize money.  There are so many syndicates and partnerships now that I do worry about the long term viability of some lovely smaller courses without encouraging more owners.

Marion: extend the break between the end of one season and the start of the next, to give not just the horses, but all of the staff, a breather.

Now away from racing - If you could trade lives with one person for an entire day who would it be and why?

Mark: Theresa May – to show her that it’s not that bloody difficult.

Marion: The writer of The Archers.

If you could invite any 5 people for dinner who would they be?

Mark: Margaret Thatcher, Ronald Reagan, Roger Moore, Kim Bailey and my darling wife.

Marion: Assuming it’s a joint dinner party with my husband - The Princess Royal, Jilly Cooper, David Hockney, William Hague and Nancy Mitford.

Do you have a sweet tooth or a savoury tooth?

Mark: savoury – Buck’s Club Welsh rarebit

Marion: Chocolate!  Enough said.

What is your favourite food, holiday, restaurant, tv programme?

Mark: A cooked breakfast / African safari (for my 50th in 2020) / The Sportsman or Wiltons / Millennium – a late 1990s spin off of The X Files that no one will have heard of.

Marion: Fish (esp. sea bream) / Italy (esp. Florence) / The Sportsman in Seasalter, Kent / Endeavour

If you could do anything you wanted right now, what would it be?

Mark: Be with my three dogs……and, of course, Mrs H.

Marion: Fly in a TARDIS to Abu Dhabi to be with Mark

What are you most looking forward to?

BOTH: Brexit
 
 
 
 
 

APRIL OWNER INTERVIEW - JOHN & SUSIE KOTTLER

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BACKGROUND - A little bit about yourself (Occupation, where do you live, family etc)

We both grew up in Northamptonshire, and vaguely knew each other as children. We've been married since 1962, spent a few years in Northern Ireland but have lived in Worcestershire since 1966, bringing up our four daughters with their ponies, guinea pigs, cats, racing pigeons, a jackdaw, and a fine terrier of uncertain pedigree whom they named “Bruvvver” and humanised practically to the point of basic conversation.

How did you first get involved in Racing?

J: From a very early age being taken by my parents to meetings at our lovely local NH course at Towcester.  At the age of 16 I was made (unofficial) school bookie. Turf accountancy didn't really come into it; I made my own odds, very dangerously offering extremely high prices on what I thought were no-hopers.  I somehow survived, but had M'as Tu Vu won the 1956 Grand National, I would have had to have disappeared for a long time.  I had enticed people to back him at 200/1, versus the market odds of 40/1.  (He mercifully failed to finish the race).


S: I was a member of the Pytchley Hunt Pony Club, and I have many happy memories of the Pytchley point to point at Guilsborough.

What horses are you/have you been involved with both with Kim and other trainers?

We've had interests in a few horses over the years, but the first horse we owned outright was Fed on Oats. He was a hurdler trained by David Nicholson, who won a few races and gave us a lot of fun.   We also have Charlottes Webb owned jointly with our daughter Emma, and a number of her offspring including of course Sea Story with Kim who won a couple of bumpers last year.

What was your best/funniest experience on a racecourse?

Impossible to choose the best between Arkle's third Gold Cup, Sea Bird in the Arc and Frankel in the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot; and Alleged when he won the Arc for the 2nd time, in a hack canter. With regard to this last race, when we arrived in Paris on the Saturday evening (1978) it was pouring. The local evening press decided that the very soft going would ruin Alleged’s chances, and its odds lengthened accordingly but with extremely good fortune we encountered the incomparable triumvirate of Vincent O’Brien, Tommy Stack, and Lester Piggott staying in the same little hotel as us; I asked them if Alleged would cope with the ground, and they assured me that he would love it; our winnings covered the cost of our trip. 

Numerous funny incidents of course but one that sticks in our mind is years ago travelling home from the Arc with a friend who struggled to understand the difference between imperial and decimal measurement and at huge cost found himself taking home for his wife a truly colossal container of Chanel No 9 which having ordered and had gift-wrapped he felt he couldn’t refuse to pay for. We think she must be still going strong on it after 40 years.

What is your favourite racecourse/race meeting?

Obviously our local course Cheltenham, but also magnifique Longchamp and wonderful Newmarket. As you scan the racecourse and the surrounding area at Newmarket, we always feel that you sense the history of the sport. We think it is a most special place.

How did you first get involved with Kim?

One visit to Kim’s yard was enough to make us decide to send our horse to him. A good decision.

If you were in charge of racing for a day what would you change?

J: I would have all betting done through the Tote, as in France, in order to put an end to all the bookies’ horrible telly adverts. The mute button is the most used on our remote.

S: I’m very happy with things as they are!

Now away from racing - If you could trade lives with one person for an entire day who would it be and why?

S: No-one I can think of!

J: The world's Number One golfer.

If you could invite any 5 people for dinner who would they be

S: John Betjeman, Hillaire Belloc and my three best school friends.


J: T.E. Lawrence, Winston Churchill, Marilyn Monroe, Gina Lollobrigida and Sofia Loren. We'd all have a lot to talk about.

Do you have a sweet tooth or a savoury tooth?


S: savoury
J: sweet (Jack Sprat)


What is your favourite food, holiday, restaurant, tv programme?

S: I like holidays in the sun.

J: Holidays on Scottish rivers where the food is the best.   Cape Town in wintertime.

Both: We like Caraffini, Le Colombier, and Boisdale, all in London.   Our 2 favourite TV programmes are both highly intellectual: University Challenge and Dad’s Army.


If you could do anything you wanted right now, what would it be?

J: I'd like to find a miracle cure for my dreadful putting.

S: I'd like to go on a lovely relaxing holiday in the sun.

What are you most looking forward to?

J: See above

S: Sea Story racing in the autumn.

 

 

 

 

 

MARCH OWNER INTERVIEW - EMMA BUCHANAN

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BACKGROUND - A little bit about yourself (Occupation, where do you live, family etc)

I'm married to Alexander (Lander to most people) and we have two sons and a daughter (Rory 26, Johnnie 25 and Saphy 19) who are still very demanding on my time even though they are no longer at home.  They put this down to my need to meddle.  I meddle, or at least dabble, in various other things that keep me busy and interested.  Home is in a village near Wantage. I own Sea Story jointly with my parents, John and Susie Kottler.

How did you first get involved in Racing?

I started gambling as a very small child.  I'm joking really, but my father used to get me to call the bookies and place his bets so he wouldn't miss the TV coverage.  Mum and Dad always went to Cheltenham with their friends, and took me and my three sisters, Polly, Sarah and Lulu, often crammed into a sports car, not remotely suitable for a family of six.  We all loved the routine and tension of a race day, which invariably started with missing the first race because of the "bloody traffic" and ended long after the last race, stopping outside Cheltenham to pick up fish and chips to take home in newspaper.  The racing itself had us all transfixed as children, and we carefully scrutinised every horse from a knee height view in the paddock before standing on tiptoe at the Tote to place a 30p bet.  We'd say solemnly "It's for my father", whilst pointing to the stranger behind us in the queue, and it usually worked.  

What horses are you/have you been involved with both with Kim and other trainers?

My first horse was about 15 years ago, owned jointly with Mum and Polly, a novice hurdler called Dash for Cover with Jonathan Portman, who gave us some fun but retired early through injury, the horse not Jonny.  A couple of years later Henrietta Knight phoned Polly and said she'd found a promising mare in Ireland that would make a nice broodmare one day, so the three of us bought her and she ran in our colours with Hen, and then with Tor Sturgis.  Breeding was the last thing I wanted to get involved in back then, but as it turns out, I love this other dimension to racing, and here we are with her sixth foal due in May.  Sea Story is her second foal, and is the first in training with Kim for me and my parents.

What was your best/funniest experience on a racecourse?

My favourite moment was Sea Story winning a bumper at Ludlow, because when you breed a horse, I think you long for a moment of justification, but being at Ascot for Frankel's last race was fabulous too.  There go Frankel and Sea Story being mentioned in the same sentence again!

What is your favourite racecourse/race meeting?

Cheltenham has it all and nothing beats the first day of the Festival.  Naturally I'm also a fan of Ludlow now.  
 
How did you first get involved with Kim?

When Sea Story was in pre-training with Willie and Mandy Bryan we asked them who was particularly good with mares.  They suggested a few, but of those it was Kim we saw first, and there was no need to look elsewhere as we immediately liked the whole atmosphere of the yard, the way they do things and the level of communication with owners. And Kim's blog!


If you were in charge of racing for a day what would you change?

I'd arrange discounted or free entry to racecourses for the under-25s; Lots of them can't afford it.

Now away from racing - If you could trade lives with one person for an entire day who would it be and why?

Theresa May, so that I could have a big Cabinet reshuffle.  

Failing that, my daughter as she's on her gap year in South East Asia.

If you could invite any 5 people for dinner who would they be?

Joanna Lumley, Jeremy Paxman, James Dyson, Peter Crouch and I suppose if we had his wife, Abbey Clancy, too it would keep Lander happy.  Lander loves ballroom dancing.   I'm exaggerating, but he was glued to Strictly week in, week out, when Abbey Clancy was on and talked of little else at the time.
 
Do you have a sweet tooth or a savoury tooth?

Both!

What is your favourite food, holiday, restaurant, tv programme?

Food: I love any food that's freshly made with good ingredients, and it doesn't have to be complicated.  Really good buffalo mozzarella and very ripe tomatoes can be perfection.

Holiday: Family holidays, with friends too, that involve being out all day, like skiing or stalking / fishing and reconvening for supper and late nights.

Restaurant: Atmosphere is as important as food.  I love Cecconi's (Burlington Gardens) where the food is fab and the green chairs and bar stools were designed by my sister, Lulu about 15 years ago.  If we want a restaurant where we can get stuck in, Boisdale of Belgravia is a favourite with wonderful fresh Scottish food, great service, live music and a cigar terrace.

TV:  Killing Eve was the best thing I saw last year.  ITV Racing and University Challenge are weekly fixtures.

If you could do anything you wanted right now, what would it be?

I'd love to go and spend three to six months in another country.  No offence to anyone!

What are you most looking forward to?

The Festival.  Politics returning to normal.  Friends coming to stay next weekend.  Liverpool winning the Premier League. The Spey in May.  

 

 

 

 

 

Bailey’s Blog

06-12-2019 06:59:29 in General by Admin
Plus 11 and raining when driving in. I have to say I find Leicester one of the most depressing racecourses to attend. Torrid drive when off the motorway and then when you arrive there is absolutely no atmosphere or encouragement to enjoy your day. They do at least look after owners well. My day there yesterday started ok but went down hill after. Shanacoole Prince again ran a stormer to finish ...

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