Horseracing at Redcar, Sunday 17th July 2022

Back, I think, in 2019 I joined a horseracing syndicate put together via a football message board. It was interesting to get involved with but when I took the job in Moscow it proved less enjoyable to follow from afar and so I gave it up. A couple of years later, there was an option to rejoin. Jen and I were back in the UK by then and so ended up with a twentieth share in a two-year-old that, after a tight vote, was named Ironopolis.

He’s a horse whose grandad won the Derby and is likely to do best at distances around the mile mark. Isla and I have been to see him ride on the gallops a couple of times earlier in the year at his stables at the top of Sutton Bank. Oddly, he declined the carrots that Isla had brought. Maybe we’ll try apples next time.

With him not being bred for the shorter sprints there was little opportunity for him to run early in the flat season. Besides all that, he’s a bit of a late developer and so it was mid-July before he finally made it to a track.

Jen and I got Owner’s passes and Soph and Isla came along as well to see how he got on. On entering the grandstand at Redcar, Soph and Isla were given free entry by a bloke who had some spare passes. Result.

We watched the first race of the day from the steps at the front of the grandstand and then I made my way over to the Owners and Trainers stand to catch up with the other syndicate members. Some I knew from the stable visits or from the message board, others I was meeting for the first time. The word from the stable was not to expect too much and that this opening outing was primarily intended to get the horse used to the experience of racing. Nevertheless, it was hard not to see it as an opportunity to gauge how he compared to the other horses in his 7f maiden.

He started slowly out of the stalls and was trailing in the opening stages but picked up as the race went on. Once he got into his stride he began overhauling other horses to finish in fourth position and in the prize money. I think he won around four hundred quid for the syndicate kitty which isn’t far off a week’s worth of training fees.

We got a debrief from the jockey and assistant trainer in the parade ring afterwards. The gist of it being that it took the horse a while to realise what he was supposed to be doing and it wasn’t until he went past the horse in second last position that he started racing.

A fast-finishing fourth place was seen by everyone as a very pleasing outcome for a first race. Hopefully he’ll be back on the track again before too long to gain some more experience.

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