Tom Chadney may be retired from the world of banking and financial services but he is as busy as ever as a racehorse owner, running syndicates big and small and enjoying plenty of success.
Black Mischief provided a magical moment for 73-year-old Chadney and his four partners on Betfair Chase day at Haydock when winning a valuable handicap hurdle. The Harry Fry-trained six-year-old was bought as a foal by Chadney, as most of his horses are. He has been interested in racing for 60-odd years and an owner for around half that time.
He runs four or five such smaller syndicates but his main pursuit is Chasing Gold (www.chasinggold. co.uk), a thriving, and for now full up, 50-member racing club that he founded in 2006 and which has eight horses currently in training. There is also a French offshoot, which has a yearling and two-year-old, who will race in France in 2019.
Chadney’s horses were on a roll at the time of this interview, with five winners from the last five runners – repeating a sequence also enjoyed in 2013 – and he was looking forward to two more runners at Doncaster the following afternoon. Two became one due to unsuitable ground, while Dilson was unable to add a sixth straight success.
The very next runner, however, Whitehotchillifilli scored on her debut in a bumper at Southwell to make it four winners from five runners for Chasing Gold and six from seven for Chadney.
Jumping is mainly the name of Chadney’s game, though he also has interests on the Flat, while he is a breeder as well as an owner, with three jumping mares in Ireland and a Flat mare in England.
“Jump racing is my favourite but I just love horses,” he says. “And horses are horses, Flat, jump or equestrian.
“Chasing Gold’s trainers are Colin Tizzard, Nick Williams, Harry Fry and Jamie Snowden, while on my own, or with a few others, there are Colin and Harry again, plus Tom George.
“I live in Surrey and like to get around the yards, and we had a Chasing Gold stable visit to Nick’s just the other day. When I was in business I sponsored Robert Alner’s yard for six years, and had horses with him.”
Getting new blood into ownership through the syndicate route is a big focus for the racing industry right now, and Chadney is well aware of their importance.
He says: “Syndicates are, I believe, the lifeblood of racing’s future, because it gets people involved and from syndicate members come new individual owners, which racing badly needs.
“Racecourses need to look after them and provide the right environment and make them feel welcome. They have improved a lot over the last couple of years.”
Surprisingly, perhaps, given its reputation for decent prize-money, one track Chadney says does not fit into this bracket in his experience is Ludlow, so he does not have runners there.
Of his route into ownership, Chadney says: “I used to go to the Cheltenham Festival for the week with half a dozen others, and did for years. We were in our 30s or 40s and educating our children – that’s where the money was going so there was none spare for horses at that time!
“We said that when the children’s education was complete, the money would go on horses. The first was Free Mover, with Neil Graham. He was with Dick Hern, but when Neil moved to Newmarket to set up on his own, Free Mover went with him.
“That’s where it all started. I would say I’ve had up to 40 horses down the years, probably more.” Glory days
Of the best moments so far, Chadney says: “They certainly include Black Mischief’s win at Haydock. That was fantastic, and a brilliant ride from Richard Johnson.
“My biggest win on the Flat so far was in the 1996 Bunbury Cup at Newmarket with Crumpton Hill, ridden by Michael Roberts.
“Chasing Gold’s best horse so far has been Jumps Road, who was third behind The New One in the 2013 International Hurdle at Cheltenham, and he repeated that next time out when third in another Grade 2, the Champion Hurdle Trial at Haydock.”
Potentially the racing club’s best horse, says Chadney, is Outofthisworld, who is very highly thought of and another purchased as a foal by Chadney.
So too was Danny Kirwan, for whom Chadney paid €12,000 and who was later sold for a significant six-figure sum – unfortunately for Chadney there was one much less lucrative sale in between!
“I buy foals and feel I can pick them out; I’ve never bought a horse who has not won,” says Chadney.
“I go to the sales in Ireland in November, among others, look through the catalogue and then go and look at them, walking, trotting, at their conformation.
“Born To Sting, who like Danny Kirwan is by Scorpion, is with Tom George and has the potential to be a top horse. I recently bought Black Mischief’s half-brother for another syndicate – he will also go to Tom. My pre-trainer in Ireland thinks he could be even better.”
Plenty, then, to look forward to in 2019 and beyond for Chadney and the members of Chasing Gold and his smaller syndicates.
“I’m there to see the horses run 99 times out of 100, and I do enjoy Chasing Gold,” he says. “It was called that because the question was, ‘Can we win the Gold Cup?’ Well, we haven’t, so the dream is still alive!”