It might be called Stobart Group, have a Stobart on the board, and have the name plastered across its trucks (and trains, boats and planes), but Andrew Tinkler is very much the man behind the transportation company's apparent renaissance.
The shares are up by more than 50 per cent over the last year and his 11.4 per cent stake in the company is now worth a cool £45m. The buccaneering Cumbrian businessman, who bought the company from its founder when it was on its knees, clearly likes a gamble. And yesterday he bet 400,000 guineas that the Sir Mark Prescott-trained horse Royal Diamond is something special.
He and Darlington-based trainer Michael Dods beat off near neighbour J Howard Johnson, another trainer based in the north of England and backed by Sage founder Graham Wylie, to secure their prize. A crack at some of the prestige staying handicaps on the Northern circuit – such as York's Ebor or Newcastle's Northumberland Plate – is now in the offing in the hope of generating a return on that investment.
When it comes to his day job, Mr Tinkler has an uneasy relationship with the City. He's not comfortable with spending time cosying up to fund managers, preferring to get his hands dirty running the company. And a few eyebrows were raised when the company spent £10m to buy a private loss-making business owned by him and partner William Stobart, who serves as chief operating officer.
The company said at the time that they were approached by the non-executive directors, and there have been few complaints from investors in recent times as the shares have raced ahead of the market.