The Monday shops opened and brought some relief to lockdown Britain was far from a happy one for the Happy Mondays star Bez, whose venture into horse racing got off to the worst possible start when Mystic Moonshadow, the horse bought to earn money for a charity, refused to race at Redcar.
Bez, real name Mark Berry, dancer and maracas-shaker for the Happy Mondays, launched his racing club last month with the aim of raising money for Manchester-based homeless charity Coffee 4 Craig but their flagship filly let them down on her very first trip to the races.
“It looks like she was being a bit of a diva and she wouldn’t go in the stalls,” explained Berry, who had travelled to the north-east track to see Mystic Moonshadow run. “We’ll just have to hope [for better] for next time now.
“These things happen, it’s her first race. She was being a bit of a diva yesterday so it’s part of her character. Once she gets used to coming out for the day I think she’ll get better. It’s an unhappy Monday at the moment but, you know what, it’s all about the experience. She’s come down [to the track], she’s had some experience and hopefully she will learn from it.”
Trainer Jedd O’Keeffe is hoping for better luck next time. He told the Racing Post: “I’m at Newmarket for the breeze-up sales and she just didn’t want to go in. She took exception to the blindfold as well, so they couldn’t use that and I can’t tell you much more.
“She’d obviously done lots of practice at home, including with the blindfold, and we’d had no trouble, but the occasion just got to her. We really like her and think she’s a nice filly. She’s bound to improve an awful lot for her debut – mine always do – but we like her a lot and can see her winning races.
“She’ll have to pass a stalls test before she can run again, but I wouldn’t anticipate trouble and we’ll do lots more practice at home and hopefully resume her career on the track.”
Bez’s Racing Club was put together by the Burrow Seven Racing Syndicate, part of a wider charity effort in the name of Rob Burrow, the Leeds Rhinos, England and Great Britain rugby league player who in 2019 announced he had been diagnosed with motor neurone disease.
Tuesday’s tips, by Greg Wood
It is a fairly low-key opening to the new season at Newmarket on Tuesday, with ITV’s coverage not kicking off until tomorrow, but the Fielden Stakes at 3.20 is an interesting contest with all eight remaining runners holding an entry in the Dante Stakes at York next month and five – Highland Avenue, Fancy Man, Secret Protector, Youth Spirit and Royal Champion – still entered for the 2,000 Guineas in two-and-a-half weeks’ time.
Money often talks at the Craven meeting and it is encouraging – having tipped it – to see the market speaking in favour of Roger Varian’s Royal Champion (3.20). His dam was a half-sister to Dubawi and he was a ready winner (beating a Godolphin-trained favourite with a race under his belt) on the Rowley Mile last September. The extra furlong today should be just what he needs on pedigree.
Hortzadar (2.45) put up one of the best performances of his career to finish third in the Lincoln first time up and has an obvious chance if he can build on that, while Rewaayat (4.30), lightly-raced for a six-year-old, was a winner first time up last season and still looks to be on a fair mark.
Thats The Truth (2.20) has a decent chance at around 3-1 on the jumps card at Newton Abbot, while Chichester (6.00), sold for 30,000gns from Sir Michael Stoute’s yard in October and subsequently gelded, catches the eye starting out for Keith Dalgleish at Newcastle this evening.