Ed Walker trains Poseiden for Siu Pak-kwan, who cost €320,000
PICTURE: Martin Lynch (racingpost.com/photos)
By David Ashforth 5:50PM 31 AUG 2016
AS EDNA O’BRIEN wrote, “August Is A Wicked Month” but then September’s quite naughty, too. Perhaps O’Brien had been grappling with all those races for two-year-olds, sent to test the endurance of owners, the willpower of punters and the verbal skills of trainers.
There were 209 races scheduled for two-year-olds in August and another 194 are due to be run in September, the peak months for juveniles. Owners have been waiting, dreams intact, ever since paying (usually) for an infant racehorse at the sales. There have been progress reports and no-progress reports, enjoyable visits to the gallops and other visits from vets and farriers and bills to be wondered at. At last, the big day has arrived. Now there’ll be a transport bill.
On Thursday, Salisbury stages five races for two-year-olds, with Haydock and Chelmsford chipping in two apiece. Some of them are nurseries, the necropolis of punters, designed to show whether or not you can resist having a bet. Do try not to.
Some owners, as well as 22 two-year-olds, are making their debuts while for others it’s just a routine day. Godolphin unwrap Alqamar (Haydock 3.00) and Cheveley Park Stud unveil Interweave (Salisbury 3.10) but the day probably means more to the Three Bags of Sand Syndicate, having their first runner with Ten In The Hat (Chelmsford 5.40). He was bought in for €20,000 last autumn and ended up with Shaun Harris. Good luck.
Interesting owners gracing Thursday’s racing
There are some intriguing owners with Thursday debutants. Lael Stable, alias Roy and Gretchen Jackson, run home-bred Pennsylvania Dutch (Haydock 2.30). The Jacksons have a relatively low profile here – although they bred George Washington, winner of the 2000 Guineas and Queen Elizabeth II Stakes in 2006 and won this year’s German 1000 Guineas with Hawksmoor – but a high one in the US. On the same day that George Washington won the 2000 Guineas the Jacksons won the Kentucky Derby with Barbaro. They have won many Graded Stakes races in the US.
Then there is Dr Bridget Drew & Partners, owners of Mach One (Salisbury 1.40) Mach One is home-bred, too, because Bridget Drew OBE, B.Sc., Ph.D., C.Biol., FSB, FRAgS owns Mildmay Bloodstock with her husband, John. If Mach One was a cow (hopefully he isn’t) Drew would be able to deal with it herself, as her OBE was for services to the dairy industry.
There’s Diane Engelhardt, cheering on Cubswin (Salisbury 2.40). If I’ve got the right person, Engelhardt and her husband Henry are enormously rich but, refreshingly, also enormously giving.
Not forgetting Siu Pak-kwan, the owner of Poseidon (Haydock 3.00). Siu is a business tycoon whose family are among the biggest owners in Hong Kong. In 2009, Siu paid $ 1.5 million for Black Mamba and he has a select band with Ed Walker. Poseidon cost €320,000 and four others – The Perfect Show, Ultimate Avenue, Experto Crede and Stormy Antarctic, who won this year’s Craven Stakes and finished second in the Group 1 Prix Jean Prat, all cost between 200,000 guineas and €340,000. I expect Walker’s very polite to him.