A Rory Bannerman musing

Reflections of My (Racing) Life, by Rory Bannerman

Rory is the founding member of the Potassium Partnership, who have both racing and breeding syndicates

As a now hardened owner of sixteen plus years, I thought I should give testimony to how fantastic a time we are enjoying at being involved in ownership of racehorses at Dodlands Steading.

The staff are really top notch and with young Aidan adding to that conveyor belt of calm, competent and talented work riders, we know our horses are in safe hands. I am the type of owner who wont even set foot in a stable box with my beauties but really enjoy the cut and thrust of the yard, with the snippets of info, the eye opening pieces of work and the all round good humour.
Previously Bruce Mactaggart (both a talented cricketer and trainer) gave my syndicates a fine start with affordable, competitive racing and breeding, and who, with a touch more luck, would have trained a few more winners for us.

Down at Donald Whillans' yard, we have the extra benefit of his sons Garry and Callum being based at the yard. Their feedback as professionals is invaluable and has emboldened me to form a fourth syndicate to buy a horse for the flat.
With Newcastle's all-weather track near at hand and Garry riding well and with such knowledgeable racing brain, I have no doubt we will have great fun.
I am also looking forward to the stable's flat string expanding.....in direct proportion to Donald's waistband!

Having bred our own trouble in King Kalium, Ellistrin Belle and the greatest horse to be trained in Hawick since Ken Oliver's wonderful chasers of thirty five plus years ago - the indomitable Shades of Midnight - we have hit the nail on the head. The 6yr old 'Shady' will aim for some big prizes this season over hurdles, and not without any justification given his rise during 2015-16 to be the highest rated staying hurdler trained in Scotland.
Donald has brought him on so masterfully and gradually over the last 3 seasons when many bigger yards would have ruined his potential long ago. My pals in the syndicate are very grateful to all at the yard for the wonderful times you have brought us, and with Goodknight Percy purchased for us with your keen eye at the sales (afforded by 'Shady's' winnings) we look forward with anticipation to some exciting days out in lesser races with the long tongued one!

I started this syndicate with 'Gracie' after watching the million pound colts blaze up the Old Vic, lost my best-said-pal and fellow founding member, got my brother to organise us and parents in to join the fun (with my folks rearing Shady in their back garden!), losing a couple of home-bred foals, winning for the first time with the lion hearted Old Nosey (trained by Bruce), persuading Reidy to part with cash, having cross words in our syndicate with difficult decisions, usually making up, having Big Art return, seeing friends hugging with delight, hiring viewing boxes, drinking it down and in.
And now facing my annual pilgrimage to Punchestown next May, possibly in the company of a hero of a horse whilst at the same time expectantly awaiting the birth of the third syndicate's newest arrival to that exciting brood mare Xpectations.

Phew! What a journey!!

Thanks Donald and all the Dodlands Team Members for making dreams come true.

Shades of Midnight (Callum)


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