Over the last ten years probably my favourite horse to follow in flat racing has been Nanton, a grey horse, nicely quirky, who was competitive at any distance from a mile to two miles plus. In 2011, at the age of 9, he came storming through to win the Zetland Gold Cup at Redcar at 28-1 for me. Yes, he owes me nothing! He ran in the Cambridgeshire and Cesarewich (the Autumn double) in the same year, and should have won the former when 4th, having to cross the track from a terrible draw to lose by a length under a great ride from Danny Tudhope. He ran in Listed and Group company, probably to the annoyance of his adversaries, finishing 2nd in a Group 2 and 3rd in a Group 3, achieved a BHA rating of 107 in his prime, and won 14 races and over £300000 by the time he retired this summer at the age of 13. A true star, followed by thousands, he seemed to produce an emotional response in punters and tv commentators alike. Top Group horses come and go quickly, heading off to stud, whereas the top Handicappers, just like the top class jumpers, invade our hearts over the years as lovers of the sport.
Anyway, Nanton has now retired and has left Jim Goldie. He has gone to New Beginnings at Hanging Grimston, between Malton and York, to which I reverently and emotionally made my pilgrimage on their opening day. What a fabulous place it is, with staggering countryside views! The charitable venture was opened by the Countess of Halifax and the turnout was excellent, with everyone welcomed by smiling volunteers and hard working realistic individuals who understand the horses and have their best interests at heart. New Beginnings is dedicated to re-educating retired racehorses back to being a normal horse that can enjoy the rest of their lives loaned out to normal people. Meanwhile, Nanton, alongside Mister McGoldrick and Golden Hello, is likely to remain at New Beginnings to hopefully become a racecourse ambassador for the charity. Yes, New Beginnings is a not for profit charitable organisation and is obviously in need of financial support. Me? Well, I intend giving a donation. As I said, Nanton owes me nothing but I owe him a lot for the ten years of fun he’s given me.
Thanks for reading.
Please take a look at New Beginnings website:
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The Countess of Halifax cuts the ribbon to open New Beginnings
Great views for Nanton
Nanton looks out from his new home
Nanton at York races