Chris Edwards’ experiences as an owner of racehorses have been a key part in the development of Yorton Racing.
Working alongside David Futter, Chris is part of a team which buys or breeds embryonic racehorses, organises their early preparation, liaises with trainers and then deals with bloodstock agents or auction houses when the time is right to sell. He also acts as a link with investors from all backgrounds who join Yorton Racing.
It differs from traditional racehorse syndication by involving investment in groups of jumping horses who range in age from yearlings to four-or five-year-olds. It benefits from association with a leading stud farm.
Chris has known highs and lows in racing, but is unequivocal when naming the occasion that was his first inspiration. He says: “That was the 1973 Grand National when Red Rum beat Crisp. I was a kid, and watched the race at my grandparents – the sight of Crisp trying to make all, then wobbling on the run-in as Red Rum came to win fired my imagination.
“That was the start of my interest in racehorses and a love of racing. “Years later I decided to buy a racehorse with a mate called Ross Sankey, and we established Zen Racing. I had played football with Ross when I was young and we remained friends, often going to Chester races for a lads’ day out. We were both running successful businesses and so we approached trainer Mark Brisbourne, who was local to us and often had runners at Chester.
“Buying a racehorse also seemed a good way to get our families involved, and my daughter, Molly, was becoming particularly keen on horses – now she’s an apprentice jockey in New Zealand! “The first horse we bought did win, but wasn’t up to much. However, our next horse, Zennerman, went to Haydock for his second race and won at 100/1 and ended up being rated around 90 on the flat. That really gave us the bug.”
Bringing the story closer to the present, Chris had seen a filly going through the ring at the 2017 Tattersalls October Yearling Sales in Newmarket and bought her for 20,000gns.
Chris says: “She was trained by John Quinn and we named her Signora Cabello. She won at Bath, and then landed the Listed Marygate Stakes at York. I was there with my wife, and immediately following the race we headed to Aintree for an evening meeting where Virgilio, who is in a Yorton-based partnership, also won. That was a special day.”
While Chris and David were celebrating at Aintree the phone started buzzing with offers to buy Signora Cabello, and a 75 per cent share in her was subsequently sold to Phoenix Thoroughbreds. She went on to win Royal Ascot’s Gr.2 Queen Mary Stakes, followed by the Gr.2 Prix Robert Papin in France before she finished a close second in the Gr.1 Prix Morny.
The fairytale with the filly was completed a few months later when Signora Cabello returned to Tattersalls for the December Sale, and was knocked down for 900,000gns to Phoenix Thoroughbreds, which had bought out Chris and Ross’s quarter share.
“That sort of result is not something you can do every day, but it shows what can be done,” says Chris. “The same principles apply be a National Hunt or a Flat horse, and whether it be a foal, a yearling or a three-year-old store – surround yourself with knowledgeable people and keep learning, as I have done from David and bloodstock agent Richard Venn. Their understanding of the conformation of racehorses, and their contacts within the industry, are second to none.
“As we found when we started, setting up small partnerships is an effective way of sharing both the risk and the cost, and can be a great entrance for newcomers to racing, breeding, buying and selling.”