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Place your bets on Basingstoke!
IF YOU fancy a flutter on a horse with strong links to the area, then you can bet on Basingstoke.
The Balding family, in Kingsclere, has named its latest horse after the town, and they hope he can bring them success on the racecourse.
In May, Basingstoke took part in his first race at Newbury, the Maiden Stakes, where he finished a respectable 10th in a field of 17 having started as a 40/1 outsider.
While trainers at Park House Stables, in Winchester Road, Kingsclere, have yet to find Basingstoke another race, they are optimistic he can improve.
Assistant trainer Chris Bonner said: “He ran a really nice race and finished right in the middle of it.
“What’s nice about him is that he’s shown a lot of potential in that race. From what he has shown at home, he’s exceeded our expectations. He’s a surprise package – just like Basingstoke.”
Basingstoke, a three-year-old gelding, is owned by the Kingsclere Racing Club. The syndicate’s president is Clare Balding, the well-known sports presenter and sister of Andrew Balding, the licenced trainer at Park House Stables.
Mr Bonner said it was Mr Balding’s wife Anne-Lisa who came up with the name.
He said: “His stallion is called Elusive City and they wanted something a little bit more local, so that’s where it came from. Basingstoke’s great – he’s a lovely laid-back horse.”
So what can punters expect from Basingstoke?
Mr Bonner said: “We are not going to be running him in the Epsom Derby any time soon, but it’s realistic to think he could be a good handicapper.
“The plan now is to find him a race that he can win. If we find what’s the right distance for him and we find a race he’s capable of winning, that’s the time for people to back him.”