Natalie Lloyd-Beavis: Seeking an elusive win for Tax Reform
By David Ashforth 6:01PM 4 JUL 2016
SO NEAR and yet so far. Reform was a wonderful racehorse, winning the 1967 St James’s Palace Stakes, Sussex Stakes, Queen Elizabeth II Stakes and Champion Stakes.
Tax Free wasn’t as classy but between 2005 and 2013 he won 18 races for David Nicholls, including a Group 2 and three Group 3 races. So you’d think that Tax Reform would a cracker.
Sadly, the six-year-old goes to Brighton for his 39th attempt to win a race, any race. In this case the 0-55 Frosts Ladies Day 4th August Handicap (7.10), off a mark of 45.
You can’t say that Tax Reform, or at least his trainers and jockeys, haven’t tried hard to turn that lingering 0 into a triumphant 1.
In Ireland, trainer Andy Oliver and jockeys Shane Foley and Chris Hayes tried. In England, Mark Hoad enlisted Robert Havlin and Louis Steward to help.
Then Gary Moore took over and immediately, armed with Hector Crouch, almost pulled it off at Brighton. Two weeks later Moore called up his son, Ryan, just to make certain. Tax Reform finished last of 13.
Clearly, it wasn’t going to be easy but perhaps it was just a matter of getting the right rider. Hayley Moore tried and so did Patrick Vaughan, George Baker and Shane Kelly. Victory remained elusive and towards the end of last year Michael Baldry, Tax Reform’s owner since the horse arrived in England in 2013, moved him on again, to the splendidly named Natalie Lloyd-Beavis.
Responding immediately to a double barrelled surname and change of scenery, or just seizing another opportunity to flatter only to deceive, in November 2015 Tax Reform promptly finished second at Kempton under Philip Prince.
A month later, in a performance reminiscent of his early days with Gary Moore, Tax Reform finished last of 13. Hollie Doyle tried, Paddy Pilley tried and so did the hugely experienced John Egan.
It was no good and so, in an inspired move, in April Lloyd-Beavis ran Tax Reform in the Guineas, the Jersey Guineas, worth £2,380 to the winner. Tax Reform, ridden by Eoin Walsh, finished second.
In May he finished second in Guernsey, with Mattie Batchelor on board, before returning to Jersey to be beaten twice more (Philip Prince then Ryan Clark).
It doesn’t bode well for Brighton but hope springs eternal (although only among overoptimists) and if the day ends with 0-38 graduating to 0-39 at least there’s the possibility that Michael Baldry is related to the late, great Long John Baldry and everyone can sing his 1967 classic, Let The Heartaches Begin.
By the way, if anyone’s got my once cherished 1962 LP R & B From The Marquee, with Baldry on board, can I please have it back. Thank-you.
A bit earlier we’ll be able to see if John Berry’s splendid Roy Rocket (6.40) can pull off a quick-fire course and distance treble, by which time Palmerston might already have won at Pontefract (5.10). If Palmerston can be persuaded to convert back from being a horse to being Prime Minister again, it might be helpful.