Mar­cus Army­tage

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Sport Racing - Rac­ing Cor­re­spon­dent Ker­shaw’s gi­ant mar­row beaten to win­ning post in vil­lage com­pe­ti­tion An­dover Advertiser.

Mark Ker­shaw, for­mer clerk of the course or man­ag­ing di­rec­tor at Sandown, Ep­som, New­bury, Ayr, Mus­sel­burgh and Ffos Las, and a nonex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor at Down Royal, did not sit on his hands dur­ing lock­down.

The vet­eran race­course ex­ec­u­tive not only or­gan­ised, but took part in a com­pe­ti­tion to grow a gi­ant mar­row in the vil­lage of Linken­holt, and, though he re­mains a maiden in this dis­ci­pline, he fin­ished in the frame and has, to a cer­tain ex­tent, made it; a pho­to­graph in the

Just to give you con­text, I be­lieve the record for a gi­ant mar­row is about 118lb, which was grown in South Wales in 2013. It was about 3ft long and was, by all ac­counts, “heav­ier than a hippo” (a slight ex­ag­ger­a­tion and I dare say it did not taste too good ei­ther but that is not the point).

Ker­shaw (be­low) “fed” his with ma­nure pro­vided by lo­cal cat­tle baron Colin Pon­tin, a friend of both Richard Han­non and Mick Chan­non, who has threat­ened to own a race­horse but has never quite gone through with it.

How­ever, if John

Gos­den was de­scrib­ing Ker­shaw’s mar­row in terms of a race, he might have used one of his great Amer­i­can­isms and said it

“ran out of real es­tate” in that it only started to grow ex­po­nen­tially in the past fort­night and the win­ning post came too soon for it.

At the weigh-in, it tipped the bath­room scales at 28lb.

If, as it seems, it is the done thing to com­pare one’s mar­row to an aquatic an­i­mal, then Ker­shaw’s was about the same weight as a new­born seal pup.

The com­pe­ti­tion, though, was won by Linken­holt’s for­mer post mis­tress Tina Ab­bott, whose spec­i­men weighed in at an im­pres­sive 44lb, the equiv­a­lent in weight to a wet, large-sized dog but still some way off a hippo.

She knew she had a win­ner on her hands a long way out and, to pre­vent any skul­dug­gery, em­ployed her hus­band, Rob, to act as night­watch­man and keep an eye on the shad­owy Ker­shaw’s move­ments in early

On Thurs­day week at Ch­effins Au­tumn Sale in Cam­bridge, a col­lec­tion of im­por­tant works, from the mid 18th cen­tury to the end of the 19th cen­tury, by some of the most em­i­nent equine artists of the time, come un­der the hammer.

They in­clude paint­ings by John Woot­ton, James Sey­mour and Peter Tille­mans (who, to­gether, formed the English School of Sport­ing Paint­ing), Fran­cis Sar­to­rius, his son JN Sar­to­rius and Emil Adam.

The col­lec­tion was put to­gether by John Dunn Gard­ner and, in due course, his son Al­ger­non for their home, Den­ston Hall, in Suf­folk. They were left to his daugh­ter Miriam who was mar­ried to the pop­u­lar New­mar­ket trainer Har­vey Leader, who sad­dled the 1926 Grand Na­tional vic­tor Jack Horner as well as nu­mer­ous big Flat win­ners.

They in­clude a paint­ing by putting Ara­bi­ans to Bri­tish hunter mares to pro­duce the thor­ough­bred was all the rage.

The myth be­hind the blood­yshoul­dered Ara­bian is that his dam car­ried a sheikh into bat­tle in the desert.

The sheikh was cut to rib­bons in the fight and, as the mare car­ried him home, he bled all over her shoul­der be­fore cark­ing it. The next day, so the story goes, the mare gave birth to a grey foal (the bloody-shoul­dered Ara­bian) which had a red pig­ment down his shoul­der. Spooky.

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