Monday 8 July 2024

Horse Trainer Bill Turner: Brocklesby Stakes Review

If Bill Turner is associated with one horse race it has to be the Brocklesby Stakes. The first two-year-old race of the season. Finally, the Flat turf season has arrived after a cold winter and the eternal hope for winners warms the spirit.

I’ve never been to Doncaster racecourse. However, watching a replay of this year’s Brocklesby Stakes I saw Bill Turner attending his two-year-old colt Bob The Bandit, a sizeable son of Aclaim. The horse looked a picture and groomed perfectly with stars on its hind quarters.

It would have been a pleasure to congratulate him on a gallant second place behind Zminiature, who ran out a fair winner. I would like to shake Bill Turner’s hand and say: ‘Thanks for all those Brocklesby Stakes memories...’

Bill Turner, as for so many other handlers across the country, has a passion that comes from his love of the sport. We can only imagine how difficult it must be to find an owner with money to spend, or a breeder who chooses a smaller stable to send their horse. And for that horse to keep sound and have enough ability to win a race.

Look through the results in the Racing Post it seems every horse is a winner. You couldn’t be further from the truth. Winners are few and far between. I have the statistics for every trainer of two-year-old horses and even the biggest trainers have times when they struggle to win. It’s fair to say some of the powerhouses make it look easy.

It’s sad that so many smaller stables struggle to find wealthy owners. One person with a pot of cash could transform their career. It happened with Dominic Ffrench Davis when Amo Racing Ltd sent class horses his way. It proves the point, a trainer is only as good as their horses. In fact, many of the smaller trainers may be better because they have to try harder not being able to rely on a classy thoroughbred.

Unfortunately, I don’t have the money to visit Bill Turner at Sigwell’s Farm, Dorset and say: ‘Bill, have you ever fancied training a Frankel colt?’

Wouldn’t that be a lovely day.

Now, I’m sure Bill Turner isn’t a man to be down on his luck. Certainly not a gentleman to feel sorry for himself. After all those years of training horses he is a realist and someone who appreciates success when it happens. He doesn’t take it for granted. And that’s why seeing Bob The Bandit claim second place in the Brocklesby filled my heart with joy.

There’s always hope of that elusive win.

He’s been waiting for the next Brocklesby victory since 2013 when Mick’s Yer Man won for the yard.

True, he will have to wait another year if not longer. However, the stable staff, and their governor, would have been smiling when they returned with Bob The Bandit. I’m sure on the drive home a few of the stable’s Brocklesby Stakes winners were mentioned.

‘Bob The Bandit did us proud. He’s a winner waiting to happen.’

You can bet he is.

For me horse racing is more than simply the next winner and then moving swiftly on. True, for many punters it is exactly that. But those who do are missing out on the reality of life. They miss out on the story beyond the gamble. Don’t ever forget that every horse, trainer, jockey, owner and punter have their story to tell.

But for that to happen there is a need for someone to listen.

Someone like you.