Racing: Hunt is over for new chasing idol

WHILE the hunting horses were vaulting shrubbery and swerving placards on Boxing Day, one of their former number was himself parading the message for country animals in the big city.

It is a salutary thought that Teeton Mill, the King George VI Chase winner at Kempton, would still be pootling around rural England had he not been a speculative purchase for a tipping company.

Stephen Winstanley, of The Winning Line, laid out pounds 40,000 for the grey, largely due to the horse's record of excellence in the pointing field. Caroline Bailey, his previous trainer, was happy to let Teeton Mill go as the horse's medical book is as thick as a milkman's ledger. "We decided that the offer was good and it was the right time to sell," she says. "Nobody else would have bought him with his legs like that."

Without that transaction, Teeton Mill would still be in livery in Northamptonshire at Spratton ("the farm protected by the ridge"), and handing out horrible beatings to whatever crossed him in the pointing field. "Hunting was his life before he left here and he'd still be doing it if he was still around," Bailey says. "We always liked him, but obviously we didn't realise he was going to be as good as he showed at Kempton. We would probably have run him in the Cheltenham Foxhunters."

This was so nearly the equivalent of Ronaldo playing out his whole career on the Hackney Marshes.

The most startling of Teeton Mill's attributes is his jumping, and it is probably true that it is easier to leap without the Pytchley hounds yapping at your feet and getting in the way. The grey now seems to effect the precision landings of an Indian fakir lowering himself on to a bed of nails, yet in the old days he was a bit of a duffer. There were two falls and an unseated in his first four outings.

"He was very weak as a youngster, but the family do get better with age so we were happy to leave him alone," Bailey says. "We didn't over-race him or risk him on the firm, because we got a warning with his legs, and the rewards of that policy are showing now.

"When he did start, he was unlucky. They were both very unfortunate falls because he slipped on landing." Then, one day, he carried Trevor Marks to victory at Guilsborough and a sequence had begun.

As he progressed, Teeton Mill hunted his way over disused rails, hedgerows and whatever else Mother Nature could construct. He become most proficient. "When he was hunting, he used to come up against all sorts of obstacles and I'm sure that helped his jumping," Bailey says. "Hunting helps to bring your legs up. He was always very neat when he got in close.

"It's a good schooling ground and I think the top hunters like Spartan Missile, Grittar and now this horse have shown the best can hold their own. If you can get to one of the best pointing horses, they are probably in the top 10 to 15 three-mile chasers in the country."

Indeed, for those who think of pointing as little more than sloe gins being passed between the country set then there may have to be a reappraisal. As well as Teeton Mill, this equine division has also produced Cool Dawn, Coome Hill and See More Business in recent years.

It is estimated that between 250 and 300 horses which ran in points last season will run in jumps races under Rules this campaign and the trend seems to be growing.

The Irish point-to-point scene used to be the sport which took place to the humming sound of British owners flicking through a cheque book and a similar noise has been heard on France's racecourses in recent years. It may have been that the purchasers were ignoring comparable produce at their local corner shop. Certainly Teeton Mill's achievements will now raise the stakes for pointers on this island.

"Ours is a competitive game these days and people who think all we are running are slow, old hunters will have to acknowledge that those times have gone," Bailey says. "We have always been offended when owners paid such a lot of money for horses from the Irish point-to-points, but now we are delighted. I hope they all come and buy some more. We may have ruined things for the purchasers but certainly not for the vendors."

Teeton Mill is well on his way to becoming one of the most popular horses ever as he has short-changed no-one. He has made money for his breeder, Janet Hayward, Bailey and Winstanley, as well as the many punters who like his style. It could also be that his story will enrich a whole section of the horse racing sport.

News
Alan Bennett has criticised the “repellent” reality shows which dominate our screens
tvBut he does like Stewart Lee
Life and Style
The Google Doodle celebrating the start of the first day of autumn, 2014.
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
Sport
David Moyes and Louis van Gaal
football
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Life and Style
Vote with your wallet: the app can help shoppers feel more informed about items on sale
lifeNew app reveals political leanings of food companies
News
Former Governor of Alaska Sarah Palin, left, with her daughter, Bristol
newsShe's 'proud' of eldest daughter, who 'punched host in the face'
Sport
New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden pictured in The Zookeeper's Son on a late-night drinking session
rugby
Arts and Entertainment
Salmond told a Scottish television chat show in 2001that he would also sit in front of a mirror and say things like,
tvCelebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Life and Style
Carol O'Brien, whose son Rob suffered many years of depression
healthOne mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of Dark Side of the Moon
musicCan 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition? See for yourself
Life and Style
food + drink
News
Rob Merrick's Lobby Journalists were playing Ed Balls' Labour Party MPs. The match is an annual event which takes place ahead of the opening of the party conference
newsRob Merrick insistes 'Ed will be hurting much more than me'
News
A cabin crew member photographed the devastation after one flight
news
Voices
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
voicesMaybe the new app will make it more normal to reach out to strangers
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Pharmaceutical Computer System Validation Specialist

£300 - £350 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Pharmaceutical Computer ...

High Level Teaching Assistant (HTLA)

£70 - £90 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: Higher Level Teaching Assist...

Teaching Assistant

£50 - £80 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: Randstad Education is the UK...

Senior Java Developer - API's / Webservices - XML, XSLT

£400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is currently ...

Day In a Page

Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits