The Daily Telegraph

Banks hoping her star mare can top the charts

• Music agent will turn her attention from Kylie Minogue and Katy Perry to Royal Ascot when Lady Bowthorpe runs

- By Marcus Armytage

Emma Banks may be agent to Kylie Minogue, Katy Perry and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, but tomorrow her focus will be on a four-legged superstar – Lady Bowthorpe, in the Duke of Cambridge Stakes.

Banks, from Bedfordshi­re farming stock, has a pedigree in horses. Her grandfathe­r Sidney has been commemorat­ed in a handicap hurdle at Huntingdon ever since his death in 1973.

Her uncle Michael trained jumpers on a small but successful basis while her father, Richard, rode a horse once, fell off and swore to avoid them for the rest of his life. His passion became Luton

Town FC, where he is a vice-president.

“When I was seven or eight, I was already petitionin­g for a pony and when I was 11 I got one,” Banks recalls. “A few years later I got handed an ex-racehorse who had clearly had no retraining.”

After school, she wanted to be a vet, then an actor, but, figuring that “everyone has to eat”, she studied food science at Reading. It is not such a quantum leap to an agency from there, however; she started putting together and promoting university shows.

“From the age of 14, I’d been organising gymkhanas and there’s not much difference between running one of those and a gig,” she says. “There’s a bit of an organiser element in me. I like starting with nothing and ending up with something. Reading was entirely responsibl­e for introducin­g me to the music business.” It was her father who pushed Banks into ownership. “He thought I was getting onedimensi­onal,” she recalls. “I pushed back for a bit, went to Goodwood, where my aunt had a runner, met William [Jarvis, the trainer] and went to the paddock, where talking to the jockey seemed like going backstage at a gig.”

After that, she relented. “I was in New York, Uncle Michael and William called to say they’d bought a horse who was mine if I wanted him. I said, ‘what colour is he?’ because that is the only thing you ever ask when you get a racehorse! But Lackaday was a fantastic entry [into ownership]. He won a race, was placed in a couple more and gave me the bug.

“The next thing was to get a yearling so I could name it. I got a colt, he had a cyst, he was operated on but had to be put down. I remember where I was when I took the call – in Bogota with Florence and the Machine having breakfast with Florence’s manager with tears streaming down my face.”

Three years in, Mrs Gallagher won in a photo-finish at Ascot, won two Listed races and took her owner to Royal Ascot. “I didn’t think we’d get better than that,” she recalls.

But then along came Lady Bowthorpe. “William says I’m lucky but it’s been painful as well. First time out, as a two-year-old, she was fourth and Josephine [Gordon] said she was not the easiest but that there was something there.

“Unless you have an arranged phone call from a trainer before 8am it’s never good news. ‘It’s not a disaster but the ambulance is here,’ he told me. ‘She has a fracture.’ She had five screws put in at the Newmarket Equine Hospital and that blew all our plans. There was no point in rushing after that.

“A year ago, no one was talking about her until that ride Kieran Shoemark gave her at Ascot in July which showed what she was made of and her incredible turn of foot.

“When I started, William said don’t get emotionall­y attached. When Lackaday was sold, I cried for two days. His new owners recently got in touch to say he’s just won his first showing class. I cried again.”

Lady Bowthorpe will be a short price tomorrow. “That doesn’t mean we can win – things go wrong,” Banks says. “I’d love to see a shower of rain but we’ll take it as it comes. She owes us nothing.”

 ??  ??
 ??  ?? Leading lady: Lady Bowthorpe, owned by Emma Banks (left), runs at Ascot tomorrow
Leading lady: Lady Bowthorpe, owned by Emma Banks (left), runs at Ascot tomorrow

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United Kingdom