Not many owners have a 100% record at Royal Ascot but that is the case with Martyn Macleod, whose Snoano sprung a 25-1 surprise in the Wolferton Handicap.
Snoano is one of 30-plus horses to have run for Macleod in his six years as an owner. “I’m properly hooked,” he admitted, speaking to Owner & Breeder while perusing an online sales catalogue at work – he is the boss, mind, so is free to disclose such matters!
Macleod has followed racing for more than 20 years, attending big days at York and festival meeting; ownership is a more recent development, his first horse being Master Of Dance with former trainer Peter Salmon – he was his first winner, too.
A fair few have been through his hands since, though as he points out, it costs the same to keep a 45-rated horse as one rated 105, and if it is clear to Macleod that a horse is nearer the former than the latter in ability, he will move them on. He currently has 11 in training, six with Tim Easterby and five with Richard Fahey.
“I don’t live too far from Richard and Tim, who are both successful trainers, and the advantage with Malton is that I can visit horses at both stables the same day,” he says.
“It’s a simple business decision not to have all my eggs in one basket with one trainer, and I’ve had some good days with both.
“Richard provided me with my first Group winner when Good Old Boy Lukey won the Superlative Stakes – he’d be the pick of my horses so far and was sold to Hong Kong.”
He continues: “I’ve had some really nice handicappers and Snoano is turning into a Pattern horse. He’s five now, and with older horses it can take a season to find out what their best trip is, and ground preference. With Snoano we haven’t looked back since it all clicked with him.”
Society Red and Appointed were twoyear-old winners for Macleod who have gone on to make three-year-olds this year, with Society Red in particular subject of big hopes, while My Reward and One Word More are among the older-horse brigade.
“I’ve a broad spectrum of horses,” says Macleod. “I buy two-year-olds who will hopefully make three-year-olds, and I like to have older horses for heritage handicaps and who can run to a reasonable level. I breed as well – that’s a small sideline – but you do get left with some!
“It’s always been Flat racing for me, it all happens too slowly over jumps for my liking. I like the speed and adrenaline of the Flat.”
There would have been plenty of the latter at Royal Ascot, and Macleod, asked for magical moments to date, replies: “Snoano was the first horse I’d run at the Royal meeting, and that was an extremely good day at what is a fantastic event. I backed him at 33-1.
“I know a lot of people who have tried to have a winner there, and at the July course, where Good Old Boy Lukey won. They were two fantastic days, while I’ve also won handicaps at Haydock, Ayr’s festival meeting and York.”
Winners aside, Macleod has gained new friends through racing, and has enjoyed getting to know some of the people who work in the sport, along with fellow owners at Easterby’s and Fahey’s, and looks out for their runners, as he does jockeys that ride for him when they are in action for others.
“Dave Allen is a very good and underrated rider,” he says, “and I can tell when he means business when he’s putting on his leather gloves and not saying much. He’s ridden a lot of winners for me.”
Macleod gets to see most of them, with work commitments at his fire door manufacturing and distribution business only occasionally restricting him to watching a runner on television, and as many of his string are good enough to be considered ‘Saturday horses’ he and his family – who are as “mad keen” on owning racehorses as he is – should have plenty to look forward to over the next few months.