horse racing

Owners Insight – High Moor High Jinks….

Phil Boyle returns today with his next ‘Owners Insight’ article.

Over to you Phil….

Greetings to anyone who is reading these and I hope you have had a really great Christmas!

High Moor Racing own several horses all with John Weymes at his yard at High Moor in Middleham, North Yorkshire and after an exchange of emails with Peter Bickley and Dave Dunford who run High Moor Racing, we took the plunge and bought a 5% share in an unraced two year old called Maid of Lamancha.

Peter is the racing manager for High Moor and manages all of the horses alongside John the trainer.  Based up on the Scottish Borders, Peter travels down regularly to visit John and see the High Moor horses.  High Moor Racing operates similarly to the way that I now run BG Racing, which is not surprising given how much help Peter gave me when I was setting up BG Racing!

We paid 5% of the purchase price up front and then Peter charges a flat monthly fee to cover all other costs.  The only other payment we needed to pay was for entry to one of the valuable sales races and this followed a vote to determine whether this was what the majority wanted to do.  In return for your payment you get full ownership rights including owner’s badges when your horse runs and a full share of any prize money won.

In my opinion, Peter runs High Moor brilliantly.  He emails owners regularly, he calls them o frequently and he is always available on the telephone or email if you have a query and will always arrange a visit to the stables for you on request.  John Weymes, his partner Kirsty and the staff at his Ashgill Stables are also great to work with.  Despite having up to 20 owners (plus their families) for each High Moor horse, John is always happy to see High Moor owners at the stables, in fact whilst on holiday, my father in law visited the stables with his wife and spent most of the morning with John, visiting the gallops and being shown all the horses in the yard not just ours.  I had brownie points for weeks after that!

A couple of times each year, Peter and John organise a High Moor open day for all High Moor owners to get together and visit the yard.  Usually followed by lunch at a local pub, this is a great chance to meet the owners of the other High Moor horses and you build a real sense of support for the other horses even if you do not own a share.

We loved the place from our first visit.  We have friends in Shipley near Bradford and in Harrogate and we managed to combine stable visits with staying up for weekends with our friends.  The one hour drive up to Middleham from Harrogate on a sunny early morning is quite beautiful and winding up through some lovely countryside.  Middleham is a classic racing town and passing through the village on the way to Ashgill, you will almost certainly follow or pass a string of horses on their way out to or back from the Low Moor gallops.  Mark Johnstons runners are particularly noticeable as the string of expensive flat racers are ridden out by some very smart looking stable staff!

Leaving the Low Moor gallops behind, the road works it way out to the Forbidden Corner tourist attraction and John’s stables are tucked away down a lane a few yard beyond the car park.  Ashgill is a proper working yard, the horses are very well looked after, but the accommodation is not five star luxury.  Although the buildings are not brand spanking new, the yard is kept very clean and tidy and is a lovely location to visit your horse.  The High Moor gallops just up the hill from the yard are beautiful (in good weather) and offer a great view of your horse chugging up the gallops towards you.

High Moor Racing aim for affordable ownership.  Realistically with the money that they are spending on purchasing horses, they are unlikely to end up with a group race winner, but if you live in the North and want to experience ownership with a share of a flat racer, they would carry my recommendation!  They are on the web at and tell Peter than Phil sent you!

Our experience however was did not go so well, but if you are thinking about owning horses, you need to experience some downs so that the ups are more enjoyable.  Also there are a lot more unsuccessful horses than there are successful ones, so you should get the opportunity!

Maid of Lamancha had problems with her feet before we had even got her to the racecourse and several months of fees came and went without any chance of seeing her on the racecourse.  It was with great excitement that we did finally arrive at our first ever race as owners and ironically it came on a day when we were unable to get away from work.  Being that the run was in Newcastle, it was not the most convenient spot for the Surrey owners to visit!  We excused ourselves from the office to pop to the bookies to watch the race and were gutted when our girl lugged right out of the stalls over to the rail and was quickly tailed off.  The following morning confirmed our worst fears as Peter rang to confirm that Maid of Lamancha has reinjured her foot and that the decision had regrettably been taken that she should be retired.  Fortunately she was found a good retirement home in Middleham, but it was not exactly an encouraging start to owning horses!

Next time – I will move onto our second horse.  I actually saw this one run, but the end results were not much better!

All the best – Phil

Thanks once again to Phil for his brilliant article.

NTF 2011 Xmas Quiz

Many many thanks to all of you that took part in this years quiz.

The winners are as follows –

Winner – Geraint Owen

Runner-Up – Matthew Taylor

Both have been contacted with details of how to claim the FREE BETS.

I will have the full set of answers up tomorrow as I know some of you are dying to be put out of your misery!!

Thanks again to everyone that took the time to enter.

Regards – Ben (NTF)


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