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Magical Moments

First appeared in the December 2016 issue of 
Thoroughbred Owner & Breeder

Antony - Robin Brown

AntonyJumping at Ascot and rugby in Bermuda would probably have little crowd crossover, but Robin Brown experienced both within a fortnight, watching his horse Antony land the £100,000 Sodexo Gold Cup before heading to the Caribbean for work purposes, but where he was able to indulge in another sporting passion in the shape of the Bermuda Classic rugby tournament.


A chartered accountant, Brown shares ownership in Antony with his sister Louise, a vicar, and their friend Len Bloggs. Brown was bred into horseracing, his grandfather and great-grandfather both having been vets at Cheltenham, while his parents were from Cheltenham and nearby Winchcombe.


“I always had the thought of racing there,” he says, “and with my birthday being in November, the annual treat as a lad was to be taken to the Hennessy. The first time was when I was seven, in 1963. I saw Arkle a few times, including when he was beaten by Stalbridge Colonist trying to concede 35lb. That was a sad day!” Brown was offered a job at Fred Winter’s yard, “but found the good life after that!” and his success in business allowed him, come 2003, to take a share in his first racehorse. He is the only one of an original gang of four to still be an owner but is glad he stuck at it.


Brown has been involved with 11 horses now, Gary Moore having trained all of them, and has had 24 winners. His second horse was Cusoon, who broke the course record twice in a year at Lingfield, and was All-Weather Horse of the Year in 2007.


“I’ve the picture in front of me now from the Racing Post,” says Brown proudly, adding: “I’ve been reasonably successful for an ‘amateur owner’, and I like the fact that for me it’s just a great hobby; there’s less pressure that way and it’s more fun.


“We’re very lucky to be involved with such a great team as Gary, Jayne and his family. There’s not much I enjoy more than going to the yard early on Sunday morning, when Gary’s mucking out and I help to carry the buckets.”
On the course, Brown and his partners in Antony certainly experienced a magical moment at Ascot recently, when the sixyear-old made the most of his light weight in the Sodexo Gold Cup, sparking dreams of the Grand National, though he is considered too young to be challenging for it this season.


“My sister is keen not to give her parishioners the wrong impression but she was very animated at Ascot, and her sermon was very good the following day!” says Brown.


“I’ve had several magical days as an owner and Ascot was certainly one of them. Cusoon winning the Winter Derby Trial would be another, as was when Josh [Moore] rode his first winner on our Artreju at Newmarket in 2008. He should have been doing his GCSE in Religious Education but my sister was happy enough that he could sit it another day.


“Josh’s first winner was a lovely day for the Moore family, but Antony at Ascot probably topped that from a personal point of view. I would have been happy if he’d been in the first five but he kept going and it was all a bit surreal.”
As President of his local sports club, Brown’s phone did not stop buzzing for days after with texts and calls to say ‘well done’, several messages being received from friends a little better off than they had been a few days earlier.
Antony’s success will enable the partners to replace their other current horse, ten-year-old Gaelic Silver, who is likely to be retired in the next few months, but whoever the next Winning Hand horse is, it is Antony who is the dream-maker.


“The 2018 National is certainly in our minds if he continues to progress,” says Brown, “although we’d like to have him for another three or four years and it would be nice if he can contest a few big races each season, rather than us get hung up about one big target.”


That said, with January and February the busiest months in Brown’s tax and financial planning world, Cheltenham or Aintree could surely be something to sustain and look forward to!

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