The brilliantly named Splash Of Ginge sprang a surprise in the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury on Saturday. The horse trained by Nigel Twiston-Davis went off at 33-1 and landed the £86,848 purse for owner John Neild.
Liverpudlian John Neild grew up just half a mile from Aintree and as a boy he would play football between the Grand National fences. Today John is a successful businessman running a renewable energy company.
It’s hardly surprising that someone who lived so close to Aintree would develop an interest in horse racing, John Neild has already been involved with seven racehorse syndicates. However, Splash Of Ginge is the first horse owned outright by the businessman.
Speaking to Sporting Life John explain how the horse came about his moniker “My dad's nickname used to be ‘Ginge' and I had a dream once that we owned the Grand National winner called Splasher, so we combined the two.”
The win at Newbury isn’t the horses first. In fact, I was at Aintree in December to watch the Becher Chase and was checking out the races prior to the main fixture when one name jumped out at me from the racecard. Splash Of Ginge, and the jockey onboard – Sam Twiston-Davies! I took it as a sign and had a few quid on him as part of a reverse forecast.
Shortly afterwards I was collecting my winnings when I noticed a larger than average crowd for the days first race in the winners enclosure. This was my first encounter with the Gingearmy and what followed was an hilarious five minute post race interview with John. It was obvious to anyone at Aintree that day that the Gingearmy and owner John Neild were going to enjoy every minute of their maiden hurdle win.
I even tweeted the horses dedicated twitter account (@splashofginge) to congratulate them on the win and also for putting a big smile on everyone's face.
— Grand National Guide (@grandnational09) December 8, 2013
Speaking after that first win at Aintree in December John said “The dream now is to come back for the Grand National one day. He is a staying horse, so who knows?”
After Saturday’s success in the Betfair Hurdle that dream looks like it might just come true and should Splash Of Ginge make it into the Grand National winners enclosure in 2015 or 2016 the noise from the Gingearmy will be deafening.