Members of the Hambleton Racing syndicate can finally take in what it means to be Group One winners, following Glen Shiel’s breakthrough success at the highest level at Ascot.
Having gone close in the Haydock Sprint Cup, Archie Watson’s charge was surprisingly overlooked in the betting under Hollie Doyle on Saturday.
However, Doyle was on the crest of a wave after winning the opening race on Champions Day on Trueshan – and she took the early initiative before holding off the late lunge of Kevin Ryan’s Brando by the narrowest of margins in the Qipco British Champions Sprint Stakes.
“Saturday was a massive moment for us,” said Hambleton’s Simon Turner.
“Our blueprint has always been to buy in the more affordable area of the market with top trainers, and try and compete at the highest level possible.
“At £45,000, Glen would be one of our more expensive purchases – but he seemed ridiculous value at that level. He’s been a revelation since dropped back to sprinting, and has been superbly handled by Archie Watson, who is destined for the very top of his profession in my opinion.
“Archie’s numbers are simply superb. Some have him pigeon-holed as two-year-old trainer, but there are countless examples of Archie achieving superb results with cast-offs from other yards too, many of them cheaply acquired.
“On a personal level, to win a race at the highest level with Hambleton Racing makes me very proud. We owe much of our success to Kevin Ryan, who has always looked after us exceptionally well and has provided us with any number of good horses along the way.
“I regard Kevin as a good friend, and it was no surprise he was the first on the phone on Saturday to congratulate me, despite the fact he’d just missed out with Brando. That’s the mark of the guy – he’s not just a just an outstanding trainer, but a true sportsman too.”
There are many different business models that syndicates adopt, with some offering shares for as little as £50, but Hambleton Racing hope theirs is one of the more robust on the market – with the loyalty shown by members as living proof.
Turner said: “Owning with us isn’t cheap – typically an owner will spend between £2-4,000 on their share and another £3,000 on the annual costs.
“We’d be among the more expensive syndicates but operate with some old-fashioned values. We certainly don’t penalise owners when their horses do well, so won’t be taking a penny of the £275,000 that Glen Shiel has won for his owners this year.
“We’re very proud of the fact many owners have been with us for over 10 years, which must mean we’re doing something right.
“I don’t think we’ll suddenly change our approach and start spending twice as much at the sales now. We’ll continue to seek out the best value we can at the sales. Thankfully, there seems to be a lot of value around at the moment.”
While most of the publicity around Glen Shiel’s win concerned Doyle, given it was her first Group One win, the same also applied to Watson – who was understandably delighted.
“I’m so proud of Glen Shiel, Hollie, and the whole team after the Champions Sprint,” said the Lambourn trainer.
“Hollie gave him a fantastic ride, and he was so tough. He hasn’t stopped improving all year, and to win a Group One is unbelievable.
“I am so pleased for Hambleton Racing, who are such huge supporters of ours, and for all his owners.
“Huge credit must go to Tom Biggs, who bought Glen Shiel for just £45,000 as a five-year-old horse in training last year.”