Ro­mans can’t wait for his Es­cape to vic­tory

The Racing Paper - - News - By Sam Jack­son

FIND­ING a horse ca­pa­ble of per­form­ing on the big­gest stages is the dream of ev­ery owner – and John Ro­mans hopes El­e­gant Es­cape can be­come his own spe­cial one in the Ladbrokes Tro­phy at New­bury to­day.

Hav­ing watched on as other own­ers based with trainer Colin Tiz­zard have cel­e­brated big-race glory, the 59-year-old is keep­ing his fingers crossed that after bid­ing his time pa­tiently cen­tre stage mo­ment will ma­te­ri­alise in the his­toric hand­i­cap.

With Ro­mans’ pride and joy at the head of the mar­ket for the three-and-a-quar­ter­mile prize fol­low­ing his game suc­cess on his re­turn in a Listed chase at Sandown, the chances of cel­e­brat­ing the big-race vic­tory he has long craved look solid.

Ro­mans said: “El­e­gant Es­cape is with­out doubt the best horse I’ve had. I was at the Punchestown Fes­ti­val with Joe (Tiz­zard) and Colin and the three of us thought there was some­thing about him and we have never looked back. I think that ‘some­thing’ about him is his spirit.

“He was ex­cel­lent at Sandown when he won the Fu­ture Stars In­ter­me­di­ate Chase – and a fu­ture star is what he is. He is such a con­fi­dent horse.

“I think it is the right race for him. He won on Ladbrokes Tro­phy day last year, so we know he likes the course. I have to say he likes the soft ground, so we bet­ter do a rain dance.

“I own Ul­tragold with Garth and Anne Broom and Terry Warner and I’ve had some good fun with him, as he has won the Topham on two oc­ca­sions, but there is noth­ing like hav­ing a horse on your own.”

He ex­plained: “It started about ten years ago for me. I was in my lo­cal pub and there were one or two who sug­gested a syn­di­cate.

“I had al­ways en­joyed rac­ing and went to my lo­cal cour­ses like Win­can­ton. The first syn­di­cate horse was with Sea­mus Mullins. I wasn’t re­ally in­volved, I was just the new boy on the block.

“With the se­cond horse, the syn­di­cate de­cided to go to Colin Tiz­zard and from there I re­ally got the bug had my own horses with Colin.

“I have had good horses be­fore but we’ve not al­ways had the good times. We pur­chased a horse for quite big money called Kil­murry.

“He had won at Chel­tenham ear­lier in the sea­son and was be­ing aimed at the Arkle. In the trial at War­wick in Fe­bru­ary be­fore the Fes­ti­val, he suf­fered a fa­tal in­jury just be­fore the last fence.

“In this game there are ups and down and you have got to make the most of the good times.”

De­cid­ing which trainer to place horses with can be tricky, but for Ro­mans, who owns eight park home sites across the south west of Eng­land, there was no other team he wanted to see horses car­ry­ing his black and yel­low silks.

He said: “Where Colin, Joe and the Tiz­zard team suc­ceed is they are the most so­cial yard in the coun­try.

“Ev­ery­one en­joys their job and from the head girl down­wards. They all work hard and play hard and that sums up the Tiz­zard team ethos.”

As the count­down to the big day gets ever nearer for Ro­mans, the nerves are start­ing to in­ten­sify.

He said: “I’m al­ways ner­vous when they run, as I am such an an­i­mal lover. I stay on my own watch­ing the races nor­mally, as I like the si­lence of that.

“It is nerve-rack­ing, es­pe­cially when he is be­ing hyped up. In your own mind you hope the horse will do well, but you never know as it is a horse race at the end of the day.

“I’m a quiet per­son when watch­ing it, but I get quite ex­cited when I have suc­cess. I’m more of a pes­simist than an op­ti­mist and if I stay that way you are more de­lighted when you suc­ceed.

“It would be the best day I’ve had rac­ing in my life if he does win and it’s ex­cit­ing to think about it.”

Dream ma­chine: El­e­gant Es­cape and, in­set, owner John Ro­mans

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