It was not a happy Monday for Bez, the maraca-shaking dancer for the kings of the 1980s ‘baggy’ scene, as his racing dream got off to a rather inauspicious start.
Bez, real name Mark Berry, has created his own racing syndicate to help raise funds for the Manchester-based charity Coffee 4 Craig.
The group’s first horse, Mystic Moonshadow, had been in training with Jedd O’Keeffe ahead of her debut, and she was readied for what was hoped to be a winning start in the 1:50 at Redcar on Monday 12th April.
However, the daughter of Showcasing – purchased for some 27,000gns as a yearling – failed her first test in the spotlight when she refused to enter the stalls and was thus disqualified from her debut race.
Jockey Jack Garrity did everything he could to persuade his mount into the stalls, but neither he nor course officials could entice her to take to the track.
“It looks like she was being a bit of a diva and she wouldn’t go in the stalls,” Berry, who was able to attend the meeting in person, said.
“We’ll just have to hope for next time now.
“She was being a bit of a diva yesterday, so it’s part of her character. Once she gets used to coming out for the day I think she’ll get better. It’s an unhappy Monday at the moment but, you know what, it’s all about the experience.”
Meanwhile O’Keeffe, who had been bullish about the filly’s chances, admitted it was back to the drawing board.
“She’d obviously done lots of practice at home, including with the blindfold, and we’d had no trouble, but the occasion just got to her,” he said.
“We really like her and think she’s a nice filly. She’s bound to improve an awful lot for her debut – mine always do – but we like her a lot and can see her winning races.”
What is Bez’s Racing Club?
When not raising hell with the Happy Mondays, Bez has spoken of his love of horse racing in the past.
And he’s finally part of the circuit thanks to his Bez’s Racing Club venture, which enables anyone to buy into the group by taking out a membership. All of the money raised goes to Coffee 4 Craig, and the idea was the brainchild of the team behind Burrow Seven Racing Syndicate, a charitable effort in the name of rugby league legend Rob Burrow that has already raised £50,000 for Motor Neurone Disease.
Of his burgeoning club, Bez has said:
“Growing up in Salford I never dreamed I would part-own a thoroughbred racehorse. The closest I ever got to racing action was a Dick Francis novel. To have the opportunity now to launch my own racing club and throw myself into a new hobby is amazing – unexpected, but very amazing.”
And Berry has been his customary cheeky chappy self around the stables. O’Keeffe said:
“Bez has been to the yard a couple of times and is great fun, really down to earth. He’s brilliant with all the staff and a lot of fun to be around.”