Today (18 June), Sir Mark Todd is donning his top hat once again. But this time, it’s not for an eventing dressage test, but instead for an outing to Royal Ascot as the former Olympic champion saddles his first runner at the meeting as a trainer.
Tasman Bay, a three-year-old colt owned by Sir Peter Vela, who was also a supporter of Mark during his eventing career, runs in the Group Two King Edward VII Stakes at 3.05pm.
“It’s a bit hard to believe that I’m having my first Royal Ascot runner, but I’m really looking forward to it,” Mark said in an interview for FEI Global. “I ride Tasman Bay at home – luckily he’s big enough to take me. He’s a beautiful horse, well-balanced, well-mannered and just a joy to ride. He’s got a huge, relentless stride and I’m really looking forward to him having a go.
“I’ll be wearing the same top hat that I wore while I was eventing and it’s the same one I had throughout my career, including riding at the Olympics.”
Tasman Bay has a soft temperament, as Mark explains.
Sir Mark Todd reminisces his career with the small but mighty Charisma
Petit Bay, owned by Bobby Allan, got the four-time Badminton winner off the mark with a win at Leicester on
“I do all of the morning feeds and when I go into his stable, he has to have a cuddle – he puts his head on me.”
Tasman Bay is currently sixth favourite in the eight-runner race, but has been backed into 12/1 from 33/1. The colt has run four times so far, getting off the mark in his second start at Newcastle in March this year, and more recently finished third and second in behind some classy prospects over two furlongs shorter than the trip he will face tomorrow, but he has a chance.
Mark says that he has one ultimate goal as a racehorse trainer.
“I’d like to win a Group One race – I’m not fussy which one,” he said.
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