Sunday 14 October 2018

Ron Boss: A Welshman in Newmarket

I was lucky enough to celebrate 35 years in racing last year and one man I remember fondly from the early days of my ‘career’ is former Newmarket trainer Ron Boss. Ron hails from Barry, in the Vale of Glamorgan, Wales, as do I. Coincidentally, the gentleman who introduced me to racing all those years ago, Bruce Barnes, knew Ron personally, so I had the pleasure of speaking to him few times during, and after, his career.

A quiet, unassuming man, Ron is probably best remembered, if remembered at all, for saddling Olywyn to win the Irish Oaks in 1977. Thought good enough to contest the Criterium des Pouliches at Longchamp as a two-year-old, the Relko filly lined up at the Curragh a maiden after nine races, having been beaten in the Pretty Polly Stakes, the Warwick Oaks, the Oaks proper, the Lancashire Oaks and a maiden race at Bath, at long odds-on, just for good measure.

However, Ron clearly knew the time of day because, forcefully ridden by John ‘Kipper’ Lynch, Olwyn was never headed and held on to win in a blanket finish with Sassabunda and Nanticious. Ron later recalled, “I thought after Epsom that we had the best staying filly even though she only had one pace. She was a long-striding filly and I knew the course at Epsom didn’t suit her, but that the track at The Curragh would.” 

Ron enjoyed two victories at Royal Ascot, Cramond in the 1976 Queen Mary Stakes and Emboss in the 1977 Norfolk Stakes and won the Middle Park Stakes at Newmarket two years running with Mon Tresor in 1988 and Balla Cove in 1989. He retired back to Barry in 1997 after 25 years at Phoenix Lodge Stables in Newmarket and later described the victory of Captain’s Wings – who was backed from 50/1 to 13/2 – in the 1978 Lincoln as one of his “best highlights”.