Mark Adams of the Four Candles Partnership, owners of Knight Salute (GB)
4bg Sir Percy – Shadow Dancing (Unfuwain)
Trainer: Milton Harris
Breeder: Minster Stud and Mrs H Dalgety
Background: Useful Flat performer has been transformed by the switch to jumping, winning his first four races over hurdles, including Grade 2s at Cheltenham and Doncaster, and looking every inch a leading contender for the Triumph Hurdle at the Festival
How did you come to own the horse?
I bought Knight Salute at Tattersalls last July. Milton [Harris, trainer] had done all of the work on the catalogue, looking for a likely juvenile hurdler, and of the several he had identified I liked Knight Salute the most. I wouldn’t have been interested if he was simply the 75 horse he was rated at the time, but he had been rated in the 90s in the past and after Milton had sounded out Andrew Balding and others who knew him, we took a view. I felt he was relatively inexpensive at 14,000 guineas.
What has been your journey so far?
In Knight Salute’s case it’s been all highs so far, but I’ve been involved for a while and I’m well aware it’s not usually like that. He’s been quite remarkable. Every time he’s gone up in grade people have had question marks against him, but he just keeps delivering.
Which targets do you have in mind?
At one stage we thought he might be more a Fred Winter horse than one for the Triumph Hurdle, but as things stand there’s no reason not to go for the Triumph. In the meantime, Milton has pencilled in the Adonis Hurdle at Kempton for him.
How would you describe your relationship with your trainer?
On the whole I’d say we have a very good relationship. We are frank with one another and if something needs saying we say it, but we don’t fall out. I first got involved with Milton when he acted on my behalf and bought a few horses from Germany. They had a fair bit of success with another trainer, and when Milton started training again himself, I wanted to give him a bit of support. He cares very much and he’s very driven. He wanted to get back to the level he was at previously and he’s already exceeding it. He’s having a fantastic season, and long may it continue.
What would encourage you to increase your ownership involvement?
Better prize-money is the simple answer. I’ve got about ten horses and most of them are with Milton. There are three horses in the Four Candles Partnership, which is myself, my father Trevor and a friend called Steve Croll, who has my local pub in the New Forest, The Rising Sun. The others are in the name of myself and my wife and include Jacamar, who won on King George day.
I love it all and I’ve been lucky to enjoy a good season, but even with quite nice horses the economics still aren’t great. Racehorse ownership is a loss-making exercise at the end of the day and there’s only so much I’m prepared to lose, because it’s hard earned – I have a house building company and I’m not funding my involvement from a bottomless pit.
A lot of owners are going to France because of the situation here, and I’ve considered it myself, but if we enjoyed the same rewards here it wouldn’t be an issue and I’d definitely have more horses in training.