Ashforth's Angles: A pirate's life for Henry Morgan


Hamilton Park, where Henry Morgan will reappear on Wednesday

  PICTURE: John Grossick (  

 By David Ashforth 6:00PM 7 JUN 2016 

AHOY there, matey! Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum! Batten down the hatches and shiver me timbers! Just practising for Henry Morgan’s appearance at Hamilton (9.15). If the horse is anything like the 17th century privateer, his opponents will die of fright.

Henry Morgan terrified the Spanish and alarmed the English but managed to die of natural causes, unlike the horse’s half-brother Jack Rackham, a notorious pirate hanged in 1720. His crew included the female pirate Mary Read, also half-sister to Henry Morgan, the horse.

They have fared better as horses than pirates, Jack Rackham winning five races, Henry Morgan four and Mary Read two. All belong to owner-breeders Fiona and Alan Denniff. Maybe the Denniffs are descendants of pirates, maybe they are bloodthirsty and should change their colours to a skull and crossbones, maybe they had a lucky escape when not buying Captain Kidd at the 2005 yearling sales.

Nobutaka Tada, acting for Hidetoshi Yamamoto, bought the Galileo colt for 800,000 guineas but Captain Kidd never raced while Blackbeard proved a disappointment for Francois Boutin. It’s not easy turning a bloodthirsty pirate into an amenable thoroughbred.

Not much success for Carbon

Jimmy Long, a former Glasgow shipworker turned UAE businessman and owner of Thistle Bloodstock, has been trying to turn his stallion The Carbon Unit into a success but it’s been hard going. A half-brother to the Group race winning King Jock and Perfect Touch, The Carbon Unit’s own race record was exotic but modest. He raced in the UAE, the USA and Canada but his four wins from 29 tries were all in Ireland, where he won a listed race in 2005 and reached a rating of 96.

The Carbon Unit has sired winners but only of small races, none worth more than £6,000 and none at all so far by Carbon Dating who brings his extraordinary curriculum vitae to a maiden race at Hamilton (7.45).

Last year, having been well beaten on his debut in a maiden race at Cork, Carbon Dating ran in the Epsom Derby Trial, the Leopardstown Derby Trial, the Irish 2000 Guineas, the Derby and the Irish Derby, starting at 150-1 in each of the three Classics.

His sights were then lowered to a listed race at Hamilton where, at 22-1, he finished fifth of ten, beaten 18 lengths. Even so, surely this Classic contender, rated 93, could win a humble maiden race at Ffos Las? Starting the 7-4 favourite, Carbon Dating finished third of seven.

Long probably wanted to see the horse for himself and over the winter Carbon Dating raced in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, unsuccessfully. Now he is back at Hamilton.

Even in a potentially weak race, only the proverbially brave man would be keen to back him.

Carbon Dating has, at least, helped to make Thistle Bloodstock’s colours – those of Partick Thistle FC – better known and three other horses run in the same colours at Hamilton, Lilliard (6.45), Lara Carbonara (7.15) and Jocks Wa Hae (8.15), all trained in Ireland by Pat Shanahan and ridden by Tadhg O’Shea.

Good luck.

Horse Racing News | Racing Post

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.