Meeting Racing Legends (Part One)

| July 25, 2018 | Reply

Today is the fourth instalment of a brand new series called ‘The life of a racehorse owner’ which, would you believe, is about the life of a racehorse owner!

The owner in question is Mel Gee, who you may well know from his successful Nags to Riches service.

This is a series that I am personally really looking forward to as it will contains some fantastic behind the scenes insights into the racing world that could really help aid our betting.

I hope you enjoy it and, if you’d like to contact Mel, you can do so by emailing bettingrant@agorapub.co.uk.

Matt Houghton

P.S. Mel’s tipping service offers a fantastic 12 month money back guarantee if his selections fail to make a profit. If you’d like to give it a try you can do so by clicking this link.

P.P.S. This instalment is a bit of an epic so I’ve split it into two parts.


Dear Betting Rant Reader,

This is going to be one of my favourite articles to write!

I have tried to get across to you in previous articles what horse racing and the entire industry meant to me, where it began, and why…

There was no privileged start in life, no family involvement in racing to provide the hand up, and certainly no finance nor ability to become directly involved in the Sport of Kings.

If I was to enjoy this new found feeling to its full, then it was always going to be from the outside looking in. I could live with that. I had to make sure that I caused this sport no harm, and never to bring it into disrepute. This sport was my love! Why would I harm her in any way?

Let me take you back to 1972–1973. Oh! “The Seventies!”

It was quite a special time in history all around the world, but that is for someone else to comment on with a far greater knowledge and skill than me.  For me, it was a horse racing dream come true! Let me explain further…

I had somehow landed a sales position with a London company and I was given a territory to cover which included Suffolk–Newmarket. I had no experience of sales, nor travelling the country, nor particularly meeting people as I was quite shy.

I was certainly not worldly nor well educated but I could talk with people if given a chance, but always as the underdog. I wanted to get people talking because I wanted to learn. I wanted to grow up and out of my shell. I was just 20 years old.

At my job interview I was told I could have the job provided I got my hair cut! It was, as I said, the seventies.

I later asked why I was given the job as sales representative selling greetings cards and I was told it was my enthusiasm and total lack of knowledge of sales – there were no bad habits already learned. And, can you believe it, they gave me a brand spanking new car!! Anyway, back to racing…

At this age I was well versed in racing names – trainers, owners, jockeys, courses and, most importantly, the horses and where they were trained…

I could absorb so much information with ease and I had instant recall, a really good memory. It wasn’t long before I made my journey plan for the sales company to include Newmarket. Priorities first, though, and I made sure orders were in the bag first and then Newmarket was mine!

I sought out every stable yard, and which trainer trained there.

Every gallop was found and of course the easiest of all, Warren Hill, leading up to the new kid on the block at Warren Place, Henry Cecil (he later became my second human hero long before he became the racing world’s Doyen and later to be knighted). I had the pleasure of meeting the great man several times but I might keep those encounters for another day.

I learned Newmarket. I toured Newmarket every time I was there on business which was every 4–6 weeks.

I drove to the stables in the hope of seeing horses or jockeys or trainers or all three! I walked past Nell Gwynn’s house each time as though I was Charles II arriving for some home comforts!

In those days it was the A45 that by-passed Newmarket on the way to Ipswich and Felixstowe and the east coast…

Norfolk was also part of my sales area and I could not ever pass Newmarket without dropping off the A45 By-pass, driving past both the July Course and Rowley Mile Course, along the High Street through the Town Centre in the hope of seeing horses and riders and then out past the Clock Tower, past Luca Cumani’s, Clive Brittain’s and Michael Stoute’s and pick up the A45 again at the By-Pass!

And guess what? Do the same on the way back!! I loved it and would do the same again today except it’s now the A11.

I had numerous visits to Newmarket as you would guess, but I only had two main accounts that I dealt with, and later a third. I would ask at every opportunity with people I met in these shops, if they knew anyone connected with any of the stables as I would like to make a stable visit. I drew a blank for many, many years, but one day, in a Newmarket betting shop, I met a stable lad, Tony…

I was in the betting shop, not betting, just watching. I must have stood out like a sore thumb, suited and booted, and an obvious stranger in town.

We got chatting and eventually I asked him who he worked for.

“I’m at Beech House” he said.

I knew immediately it was Michael Stoute.

The conversation continued and he said he had to get back for evening stables and I offered to give him a lift back as he said he would show me around. Yes! My first Newmarket stable visit was about to happen…

We arrived and I followed him in. I was introduced to this horse and that horse and another horse, names forgotten. Then it was to this horse that had his head proudly over the stable door, a striking white blaze.

“This one,” said Tony, “We are not going for the Guineas, we are waiting for the Derby.”

I thought Tony was trying to impress me, but that didn’t matter. I was in a top Newmarket stable yard!! I casually asked the name of the horse as I stroked the forelock and patted its neck, as you do.

“Shergar” he replied.

And on that cliff hanger, we’ll leave it for today and return with part two in the morning.

Email

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Category: Betting, Horse Racing, Horse Racing Tipsters

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