Roy Rocket looks a good thing at Brighton. Or does he?
PICTURE: John Connor Press Associates
By David Ashforth 4:57PM 20 JUN 2016
Kung Hei Fat Choy. It’s not the name (Chinese New Year good wishes) that attracted my attention but the trainer’s name next to it. For almost five years and 70 races the name has been James Given but today (Beverley 3.00) it’s Lucinda Egerton.
Kung Hei Fat Choy served Given well, winning nine times for owners Danethorpe Racing Partnership and The Cool Silk Partnership, both vehicles for Peter Swann, chairman of Scunthorpe United, and Barbara Wilkinson, Swann’s mother in law.
Kung Hei Fat Choy has not run since January, when the seven-year-old finished last in a selling race at Southwell, the scene of five of his successes. It was the latest in a string of disappointing performances and a few days later, although still rated 80 on the all-weather, Kung Hei Fat Choy was sold to Egerton for just £800.
Kung Hei Fat Choy is best on all-weather surfaces and runs today off 66, still 3lb more than for his sole turf win at Musselburgh last June. It will be interesting to see if Egerton manages to revive him for new owner Becky Robinson.
Egerton’s ineteresting past
Both trainer and owner have interesting histories. Egerton’s ancestors include Leonard Jewison, evidently a famous 18th century jockey and trainer. I’ve never heard of him. After all, it was a long time ago.
Egerton herself spent a long time as an assistant film and television director on productions such as Aliens vs Predator and Misfits, both useful when dealing with racing society.
Successful, sometimes, in point-to-points, Egerton boasted a spectacular riding record under Rules. She had just two rides, both in 2013. On the Flat, she finished last on An Spailpin Fanach at Ripon while over jumps she finished first on Cara Court at Catterick, at 66-1, to show a fantastic level stakes profit.
At the end of that year Egerton launched herself as a permit holder, graduating to a full licence a year ago. From her small stable near Malton, she has won six races over jumps.
She has won them with cheap horses, cast-offs from other yards. Sunshine Quest and Quite Sparky cost similar amounts to Kung Hei Fat Choy while Monsieur Chevalier, a Group race winning horse in his prolific heyday, cost £1,000.
He is also owned by Robinson, who rode the nine-year-old in a charity race at York earlier this month. It was a terrific achievement since Robinson, 44, had not ridden until she was 32. Egerton and Robinson are both great charity fund raisers and York’s Macmillan Charity raceday was ideal because Robinson has worked as a nurse specialising in palliative care for 25 years.
So I’ll be watching to see how Kung Hei Fat Choy performs as well, of course, to see how many horses drawn high in the 17 runner sprint (5.30) find themselves unable to attend.
The getting out race at Brighton (5.45) should be a lot easier, especially with the very competent Mr Ross Birkett partnering triple course winner Roy Rocket against unchallenging opposition. Unfortunately, Roy Rocket likes fast ground and it isn’t. There’s always something, isn’t there?