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Milestone win is written in the stars as Astroscarlet brings it home for the team in red

Friday, 08 June 2012

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Astroscarlet

Astroscarlet - The one who did it

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Mark and Phil having some craic

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Phil writes:

A thousand winners. What a milestone. What an achievement.

I am proud to have been involved with the Guvnor for the last 600 or so of them, and Iain Williams has been around for many more than that. We were both at Flint Cottage on those marvellous days when Bob’s Return won the St. Leger and a great Mark Tompkins treble was landed at Ascot’s Festival of Racing.


                                                                                                                               Phil, Iain and Mark                                                                

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Even_Top

Another stable star, Even Top, so agonisingly touched off in the 2,000 Guineas (right), went on to become the Guvnor’s 500th winner (left). The 1,000th, Astroscarlet, is clearly a useful performer in her own right but perhaps a slightly less illustrious character. The fact is, every winner over the years has been a source of joy at Flint Cottage.


That’s a great thing at this yard – every horse, whatever its ability, is treated with exactly the same level of care, kindness and professionalism. Apart from the Guvnor’s obvious expertise, it’s one of the main reasons why 1,000 winners have been sent out from here.

I think I can allow myself a small personal comment here. Behind that sometimes bluff and forceful exterior there is an extraordinarily kind man in Mark Tompkins. I have experienced it many times. He demands loyalty from his staff and, if he gets it, returns it in more than full measure.

That same loyalty is evident among our owners – many have been with us for years and that speaks volumes. It was appropriate that the 1,000th winner should be owned and bred by Mystic Meg, who is so hugely supportive. Looking back there were the likes of the sadly departed George - Mark’s own much-loved father, Angie's very dear father, Bill, Jeff Sutcliffe, who owned the Guvnor's first winner, Timmatemma, Lady Nelson of Stafford, Benny Schmidt-Bodner, John Bull, Sam Ellis, Ben Allen, Peter Riseborough, John Ellis, Robert Kalman, Dave Latter, Nick Fuller and the indomitable "Mother Bowring" among others, all marvellous people with whom to be associated, as are our owners of today.

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Then there was the late Johnny East, head lad here for so many years. What a great knowledge and work ethic Johnny had. He was the only person I ever knew who actually won a bet against the Guvnor, but that’s another story.

        Johnny and Mark                                                                                      George Tompkins

Apart from Bob’s Return and Even Top, the names of other brilliant horses come to mind. There was Halkopous for instance, perhaps one of the Guvnor’s favourites, his first Group winner Debach Delight, Astrocharm, Franklins Gardens,  Babodana, Steenberg, Staunch Friend, Smokey Oakey, the home-bred Topatoo and a whole host of other pattern race winners.

That is enough of reminiscences though. The Guvnor is one who always looks forward, illustrated by the fact that over the years his operation has spread far beyond Flint Cottage with Dullingham Park Stud growing into a hugely successful unit providing a succession of home-bred winners, and the ‘northern branch’ at Garrowby in Yorkshire where the youngsters are sent as weanlings to mature and strengthen into winners and older horses go for a break away from the hectic racing scene here in Newmarket.

I know every one of our present staff, from the newest recruit to Iain, who must have clocked up at least a million miles visiting every racecourse in this country and many beyond, our long-established assistant trainer and valued right-hand-man Steve Avery,  feed man Darren Donkin, David Woodley the stud groom at Dullingham, and Alan and Tina Ridger who run the Garrowby operation, will join together to offer congratulations on this remarkable achievement.

                                                                                                                                                              

WELL DONE GUVNOR!

THE SCRAP BOOK

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Mark in the centre with his mother and brothers, Simon and David

(Sorry, we have no picture of  his sister Nicola at this age)

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The early days at Flint Cottage...

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included winning the old Bogside Cup

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Richard Evans rode Mark's first ever winner

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As things are today at Flint Cottage - the main yard now backed by the the fillies' yard and  incorporating Exeter Ride and the pool

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The Guv'nor has always said what a lucky yard Flint Cottage is

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Mark is renowned for his astute purchases at the sales. These have contributed to this tally today. Bob's Return is an obvious example

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Mark with Bob's Return and below Philip Robinson wears the famous St Leger Cap


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He has great empathy with his all charges

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Mark with Halkopous and Trew Class

The Guvnor is always thinking about his horses...

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The man himself

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I know that Mark and Angie would want to thank all their marvellous owners for their great support over the years to allow this landmark to be reached.

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