Ashforth's Angles: Hemingway out to follow Bogart's lead

Bogart - York 18.08.2011

Bogart bags the cash in the Premier Yearling Stakes in 2011

  PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (  

 By David Ashforth 6:00PM 17 AUG 2016 

EVERYBODY loves York but few people can love it as much as trainer Kevin Ryan and owner Angie Bailey. Together, they have enjoyed some great days there.

At the 2011 Ebor meeting they won the Premier Yearling Stakes with Bogart. Two years later, when Bogart won a valuable handicap at the meeting, Astaire won the Gimcrack Stakes and went on to win the Middle Park Stakes.

Astaire was a birthday present, rather a good one, from Bailey’s partner Pete Tingey whose Blue Line Taxis company, based in Barnsley, boasts a fleet of over 170. Maybe they’ll arrive in one.

Bogart and Astaire, like Bacall, Brando and Laughton, are named after famous actors and actresses. In time, perhaps Bailey and Tingey will have horses called Humphrey, Fred, Lauren, Marlon and Charles.

Bogart and Bacall appeared in the film version of Ernest Hemingway’s To Have and Have Not and Hemingway tries to follow Bogart’s equine example for the same owner in the Premier Yearling Stakes (1.55).

Extraordinary double

If Hemingway was at York (obviously, he’s not), he would have eaten well, drunk a lot and backed himself because that’s what he used to do in France.

After arriving in Paris in 1921, Hemingway was allowed to time horses working on private gallops near Maisons Laffitte and, while there, met another American export, Eugene Leigh. Leigh had trained a Kentucky Derby winner and was now training in France.

In 1922 Hemingway was told that Leigh had a two-year-old called Epinard that “might be the horse of the century”. He should back it on its debut because Epinard would never be as long a price again.

Hemingway was not yet famous or rich. “I hit everyone for cash,” he later recalled. “I even borrowed 1,000 francs from my barber. I accosted strangers.”

Epinard appeared in the prestigious Prix Yacowlef at Deauville. Hemingway got almost 6-1. “He won in a breeze,” he said, “and I was able to support myself for six or eight months on the winnings.” Leigh had barely exaggerated because Epinard was that year’s champion two-year-old and in 1923 completed an extraordinary double by winning the Prix d’Ispahan and the Stewards’ Cup.

One of life’s great lessons

Back in Paris in 1949, Hemingway was a regular racegoer at jumps meetings at Enghien and Auteuil. He and Aaron Hotchner formed The Hemhotch Syndicate, intended to exploit Hemingway’s jockey contacts. As Christmas approached, the syndicate was showing an unhealthy loss. Then, at 5.00am on December 21, Hotchner received a call from Hemingway. He had just been talking to a jockey.

“We have to raise all the francs we can get,” Hemingway said. “I’ll meet you at the Ritz Bar at noon.” The horse, Bataclan III, was over 20-1. As the field approached the last fence, he was 20 lengths behind Killibi and Klipper. Killibi fell, Klipper was brought down and The Hemhotch Syndicate moved into profit.

“Now, Hotchner,” said Hemingway. “You’ve learned one of life’s great lessons; never lose faith in the honesty of a jockey room tip.” Hemingway might need similar luck today.

Horse Racing News | Racing Post

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