Batten resurrects famous scarlet silks
One Night Stand will carry the colours worn by Classic winners in the 19th century
On Saturday, One Night Stand will carry the hopes of trainer William Jarvis and owner David Batten and his partners in the Tattersalls £150,000 October Auction Stakes. Of course Batten, who worked for Tattersalls man and boy, clocking up 47 years’ service, would dearly love to supplement his meagre pension with a dollop of his old employer’s cash.
But the well-named gelding – he is out of Tipsy Girl – will carry the all-scarlet silks that, during the latter half of the 19th century, were as famous and successful as the all-blue of Godolphin today.
Back then they belonged to William Stirling-crawfurd, who was married to the dowager Duchess of Montrose, an enormous lady whose size was only matched by her fortune and who dyed her hair red – it clashed badly with the silks, earning her the nickname “Carrie Red”.
In those days the Jockey Club did not acknowledge the existence of women and they were not allowed to own horses, let alone train or ride them.
But the Duchess, who had “an uneven temper, little of the Duchess about her” and fell out with every jockey who rode for her, bred them and ran them in her third husband’s name.
They were carried to victory in the 1878 Derby by Sefton (after whom she named her Newmarket stables, Sefton Lodge).
Other Classics included the 1,000 Guineas winners Mayonaise (1859), Thebais (1881) and St Marguerite (1882), the 2,000 Guineas winners Moslem (1868) and Gang Forward (1873), the Oaks with Thebais (1881) and St Leger with Craig Millar in 1875.
Gradually the silks have worked their way downwards and sideways through Batten’s pedigree. Though there was a fallow spell when the colours were not used much, he resurrected them when he had a few syndicate horses in the Eighties and eventually inherited the famous silks a few years ago.
If nothing else, One Night Stand deserves to win for Batten’s long service. He only had one other job in his working life, which was in the now defunct Dillons University Bookshop in Gower Street. In order to get a job there, you had to be going to a university, which Batten had no intention of doing.
When asked what subject he was going to study, he recalled what a friend was about to read and replied: “Law and philosophy.” He was duly put in the department dispensing books on the subject and, after a month of being asked for books by “yet another weirdo author”, he quit, joining Tattersalls as a tea boy.
Well done to the strawberry roan 16-year-old 138cm racing pony Push The Button, who won her 50th race in the Charles Owen (racecourse) series at Musselburgh on Sunday. She and Thomas Bradburne, her 12-year-old jockey (I had better declare an interest here, he is my nephew) won by a nose. If you add in her wins in Pony Club and point-to-point races it comes to about 70 victories, and she can claim to have set Charlotte Greenway, Sean and James Bowen and Sophie Smith – shortly to be an apprentice with Ed Dunlop – on their way.
Like a lot of ponies which come out of Ireland, her origins are not entirely clear, but it is believed she started life as a driving pony and I can only imagine collecting the groceries cannot have taken long, with her pulling the cart.
It is a mark of Gee Bradburne’s powers of persuasion that when it came to funding her purchase, she not only roped in godparents and friends, including BBC racing correspondent Cornelius Lysaght, Hennessy-winning trainer Lavinia Taylor and Eve Johnson-houghton, but she even persuaded the pony’s former owner, Kate Smith, to retain a quarter share.
When she was taken to run at the Fife point-to-point so that Thomas’s grandparents, trainers Sue and Johnny Bradburne, could see her run, the bookmakers had never heard of her and she opened up at 5-1. After everyone had helped themselves, she was sent off at 1-10.
Half-century milestone: Thomas Bradburne and Push The Button