Geegeez Syndicate: Very Exciting ‘Ready To Run’ Hurdler


Following hot on the heels of geegeez' recent syndication of East Wing, an untried National Hunt 'store horse', I'm delighted to offer shares in another horse, though this one has a quite different profile. This will be the last such syndicate for some time, so if you might be interested do please read all of this post.

East Wing, like The Geegeez Geegee at the same stage in his career, has never raced before and is learning everything about being a racehorse at the moment prior to a first rules run around the turn of the year.

The new lad is, as I say, a different proposition. He comes to us from the flat, where he was good enough to be rated 80 at his peak, and he's still rated 75 in that discipline. So, while it's possible he could be a dual purpose type (already a winner on the all weather), what excites us most is his scope to jump a hurdle.

His name is Dragoon Guard. By Jeremy - the same sire as the ill-fated but brilliant Our Conor - he's bred for stamina on the dam side, just like Our Conor was. All the best Jeremy progeny over hurdles - Our Conor, Stocktons Wing, Fisher, Goodwood Mirage, and on - have had stamina influences in the dam side of the pedigree. Our lad is out of a Dalakhani mare, a fine influence for stamina.

Indeed, Dalakhani mares have been responsible for very few National Hunt runners so far, but they have tended to produce quality rather than quantity. Of the five hurdlers to have run in Britain and Ireland out of Dalakhani mares, two were multiple winners and two placed second. The other was rated 51 on the flat at its best, compared to our top of 80 and current mark of 75.

Those two winning hurdlers weren't just any old hurdlers either. One was Zarib, Dan Skelton's dual winner who ran sixth in the Fred Winter at the Cheltenham Festival in March... and the other was Nichols Canyon. That one won five out of seven last term, including an incredible four Grade 1's!

Now I'm not saying Dragoon Guard can scale those heights - of course not - but he is bred along similar lines, and was only six pounds behind Zarib on the level. We'd ultimately love for him to prove good enough to compete in big Saturday races and perhaps even at the major Festivals, but that is no more than the dream at this stage. Still, it's why I've put this syndicate together...

The boy is 16 hands, a good size, has lots of bone and moves well. Below is some video of him walking, cantering and schooling.



SCHOOLING (in rear, 1st ever time over a schooling hurdle)

He seems to be a pretty natural hurdler, and has plenty of upside potential to make into a really nice timber-topper and, potentially, dual purpose horse.


Your first 30 days for just £1


As always, I like to keep things as affordable as possible, but you are buying into a racehorse, and such animals are 'not cheap'.

The cost of the horse, transport from Ireland to Dorset, and four months (July to October) stabling and training he's received prior to our monthly obligations starting is more than the £20,000 for which he's been acquired.

It's a very fair price, for a really exciting young untried hurdling prospect with dual purpose capability, and my intention is the following:

20 equal shares at £1,100

Monthly payments, from November 1st, of £100 per month.

There are no 'admin fees' or hidden costs with this, or any of my syndicates. The 'kick back' for me is that the horse will run in the colours of I have added an extra £100 to the base price to cover insurance costs, and all funds are held in the account and will be distributed between members at the end of the term.

The term of the syndicate will be an initial two years, and you can read a draft copy of the syndicate agreement here.

In summary, it is £1,100 up front and then a monthly standing order/direct debit for £100 starting on 1st November.

The monthly payment covers training, feed, stabling, shoes, minor medicines, minor vet's bills, racecourse transit, race entries, and jockey fees. So it's all inclusive, barring significant unforeseen incidents (those that would cost more than £100 per syndicate member to address). In those cases, we discuss as a syndicate what to do.

The shares are offered on a first come first served basis - I am taking one naturally, I expect some firm commitments from existing syndicate members (who, naturally, get first refusal on new horses), meaning things could move fast. (The last syndicate sold out in less than two days!)



As well as outright ownership of a 1/20th share of the horse, you will receive owners' badges every time he runs. You'll also be able to visit him at the stables, either as part of a group get-together or when you're in the area (by prior arrangement, obviously). All owners will receive an equal share of any prize money, which is divvied up at the end of the initial two year term.

And you get to buy into the dream of having a horse that might - just might - be good enough to race in big Saturday contests or even, whisper it, at the Cheltenham Festival. I'm obviously not promising that - far from it - but that's where we'd love to be headed.

All owners have a say in any significant decisions affecting the horse/syndicate. For day-to-day operations, that's left to the trainer (Anthony) and the syndicate manager (me). Naturally, we keep members in the loop with regular updates on progress, entries, chances and so on.

I'm really excited about this lad. He's a pretty straightforward sort who is ready to race (actually had an entry on the flat this week but I requested him not to run). And the fact that he's got the ability to run competitively in all weather races gives us a really nice alternative option.


If you'd like to join the syndicate - which will run for a minimum term of two years, please email me by clicking here.

I will be seeking fees for the horse pretty much straight away (I'll have to pay for him no later than early next week, so will be 'in the hole' in the short term) - if you need to pay over a couple of instalments, we can discuss that, no problem. And I will ask members to sign and email/post the last page in our syndicate agreement when they come on board.

Really looking forward to getting started, and I'm excited to share this prospect with a very knowledgeable group of racing fans.

One last thing: if there's anything I haven't answered in this post, and isn't in the syndicate agreement above, leave a comment below and I'll be happy to help if I can.


Champion Hurdle contenders shake off the summer

Jezki - Champion Hurdle contender?

Jezki - Champion Hurdle contender?

The early winter market for the Champion Hurdle next March is starting to take shape, with The New One firmly established as favourite for the race on the opening day of the Festival. Read more

Tony Stafford: My Cheltenham Week

Tony Stafford

Tony Stafford

Sunday supplement

By Tony Stafford 

Friday at Cheltenham was typical of all the Festival days I’ve ever experienced over more than 40 years’ attendance – I started late! – encapsulating the undying appeal of the experience. Rain, bad ground, bad luck and above all dashed hopes were there in equal measure.

I’ve always loved the Triumph Hurdle, but until Friday, no winner I’d backed – a fair number and some of the Henderson ones – or more frequently the near misses, even remotely challenged for my “best performance ever” accolade in competition with Golden Cygnet, the 1978 hero of the Supreme Novice Hurdle.

He won it by 15 lengths, making it six wins in a row over hurdles after a Flat-race career starting as a four-year-old with a win and a debut first but disqualified before taking up his true metier.

Edward O’Grady had picked him up for 980 punts. That price had long been shown as the bargain of the century for the first-crop son of star jumps stallion Deep Run when he lined up or the Scottish Champion Hurdle at Ayr. This was the first run outside novice class for Golden Cygnet and he was in the process of beating two great Peter Easterby-trained Champion Hurdlers, Sea Pigeon (who gave him 1lb) and Night Nurse, receiving a few pounds, when he sustained the last-flight fall that ended his career.

Your first 30 days for just £1

This was still an extraordinary effort by a novice, but after being taken to Edinburgh University to make his recovery from the injuries, he died some days later from a brain haemorrhage.

O’Grady has been one of Ireland greatest Cheltenham Festival trainers, and another of that ilk, Dessie Hughes has not only produced a son, Richard, to be reigning champion jockey in Great Britain, but has known just how to win a Champion Hurdle, Hardy Eustace collecting the race twice at age seven and eight.

The 2013 Triumph Hurdle attracted the right horses from the right stables. Henderson, Nicholls and Mullins were all well represented, just as they had been all week, with feasible candidates, but they all were just making the numbers up. In the event Our Conor gave a display that for me was the best individual performance I’ve ever seen, certainly in the Triumph and probably in any Festival race, such was his superiority.

Unbeaten in three starts at home, the first two at odds on, the third remarkably at 100-30, simply because Mullins-trained Diakali, an Aga Khan-bred import from France had started his jumping career with a 12-length maiden win and then a 28-length Grade 3 romp over the subsequent Fred Winter winner Flaxen Flare, Our Conor had already shown everything needed leading up to the Triumph.

Not quite in the less than a grand Golden Cygnet class of bargain, he was still purchased for just 4,500 Euro before winning a couple of his six Flat races all at age three. A son of Jersey Stakes winner Jeremy, he campaigned at around a mile, but the stamina he displayed at Cheltenham earmarks him as a potential Group-race winner if sent over longer distances on the level.

Whether Dessie will be prepared to risk him changing codes again, though, is questionable, even with an eye-catching 84 Flat rating. No doubt, though, his ever-shrewd son will be mentally calculating how best to exploit him once the riches of Punchestown have been added to the Men About Town Syndicate’s swelling coffers.

I’ve not actually dwelled on the bare statistics of his run. Second behind his old adversary Diakali from the outset, he strolled along unconcerned until Bryan Cooper sent him into the lead around the home bend. He simply cantered away with nothing more than minimal urging, jumped the last as though he was starting his race, and surged up the hill for a 15-length win over Far West (Nicholls), winner of all four British runs after a debut third in France. Samategal, Nicholls again, was third, Diakali fourth and Henderson’s Vasco Du Ronceray and Rolling Star the next two home.

Trainers always reckon the five-year-old season is tough for grade 1 hurdles winners, but Katchit, nine-length winner of the 2007 Triumph, won the Champion the following year while Punjabi, fourth to him as a four-year-old, chased him home back in third in 2008 before winning his own championship the following year.

I’ve no doubt that Our Conor, injury apart, will win next year and maybe emulate See You Then, the triple winner in the three years after he just failed to win the Triumph as favourite after I’d secured 25-1 about him earlier in the season.

Punjabi was already in the saddling area, six years on from his Festival debut, while Our Conor was striding up the hill. Conditions were worsening as the rain intensified, but that possibly does not account for all the extra five seconds it took the 27-runner field of smart, experienced hurdlers to complete the County Hurdle ordeal.

Punjabi’s mud-spattered colours could be seen (?) running on into 13th, and Barry Geraghty told Nicky Henderson and me (yes those two talked to me before they won the Gold Cup!) that he was outpaced but stayed on and is sure to get two and a half miles. That seems reasonable enough given that old adversaries Solwhit and Celestial Halo fought out the business end of Thursday’s Stayers’ Hurdle, and Raymond Tooth hopes Punjabi will line up at Aintree for one of the handicaps.

Horses don’t like mud. Nor do phones, binoculars, spectacles, shoes, trousers or coats. My keen-to-get-away passenger showed not a jot of politeness in going missing at the time of our designated early getaway for his (not my!) hostelry, so I made my way to the car thinking he’d already be there.

Instead we had to conduct a conversation about whether to turn left out of the weighing room area, (“I said left!”), “so, I go right?” and that was repeated four times, until I set a new standard for the conduct of beached whales as I slipped in the mud within 20 yards of the car. Down on all fours with caked mud everywhere and phone and binoculars thrown clear into an even muddier patch, I was stuck. I wish I’d been able to catch up with the oldish couple who walked serenely past me presuming me to be drunk. Well I did have a tomato juice with extra Worcestershire sauce.

Not to worry, the winning bet of the day was that on Friday morning I’d replaced the ancient and irreplaceable Crombie with a warmer-, wetter-weather option in the Barbour raincoat with the deep pockets. Pity I’d not kept either my Racing Post (wet through) or bins in them. As to my long-lost and even a fair bit older colleague, when he finally arrived to see my dishevelled state, he merely said, “I slipped twice”, to retain the moral high ground. “Well you weren’t trying to give directions to a cretin, were you?” should have been my last word on Cheltenham 2013. To retain my dignity, I refused to wash the mud from the left side of my face until armed with some wet wipes from his car, I performed the task with due ceremony in Burford High Street an hour later.

Hughes to Bump along at Cheltenham

Sgt Reckless - Richard Hughes Festival ride?

Sgt Reckless - Richard Hughes Festival ride?

You just can’t keep Richard Hughes out of the news at the moment. After returning via Dubai from a winter riding in India to set out his season’s targets at the Stud and Stable Staff Awards (see yesterday’s posting) Hughes announced that he hopes to be in the line up for the Weatherbys Champion Bumper a week today at Cheltenham. Read more