JUST Smokey is preparing to begin her racing career representing the Chester-based syndicate Essential Racing.
The enthusiastic members, headed by Alan Martin and secretary Dave Pearson are all keen Chester City supporters and registered the blue and white colours of the football club that are worn by jockeys riding for the syndicate.
The four-year-old, by Cloudings, is trained in Cholmondeley by Donald McCain who said: 'She's from a good family and should run in a bumper before Christmas. She's a grand filly doing well at home and I hope she'll give the group a lot of enjoyment on the racecourse.'
Essential Racing, which is sponsored by Paul Baker of UK Sameday, was formed 12 months ago.
Martin, now retired, said: 'I've been interested in racing for over 50 years thanks to my grandfather.
'I always went to Chester races and worked there in the 60s on the turnstiles, updating the number boards and selling programmes.'
When asked about his favourite racehorse Martin had no hesitation.
'Without a doubt, the best I've seen was Shergar in 1981 winning the Chester Vase by 12 lengths,' he said.
The first horse to represent Essential Racing was West Hill who quickly had the syndicate in the winners' enclosure at Sedgefield back in February and was consistently placed, including a good third at Bangor on his chasing debut in May.
Racing is a sport of highs and lows however and the gallant five-year-old suffered a tragic accident at Hereford last month and the search began for a replacement.
McCain was selected as trainer because of the family pedigree. Martin explained: 'In Ginger you're talking to a man who has trained four Grand National winners, he knows what he's talking about.
'He told us that all he could guarantee is that we will have a lot of fun and we have.
Essential Racing decided to stay with Donald when he took over from his father.
'It was a big factor, Donald taking over,' said Pearson.
'He's served with top train-ers, his father sent him out to learn his job and he's computerised.
'They are a great combination, an old sage with the up and coming future and we love the surrounds and setting at Cholmondeley.'
Essential Racing represents the growing band of syndicates who are able to enjoy racehorse ownership in an affordable way and they welcome any inquiries to join their enthusiast group by calling Dave Pearson on 01244