Initially, no-one wanted to buy into him, fearing he was too small, but Anthony Honeyball kept commenting: “If I can’t win a junior bumper with him, I’m giving up training”. After his first piece of work, the syndicate was full, Anthony is still training and Acey Milan’s first season reads 2,1,1,1,4, including Listed bumpers at Cheltenham and Newbury. He was the UK’s top bumper horse.
Owners live in Florida, Switzerland, Abu Dhabi, London and the Cotswolds, seldom coming together as a group, apart from the Cheltenham Festival 2018 with a similarly enjoyable trip to Punchestown in 2019.
Shared ownership and experiences lead to strong friendships. We know that after highs come lows. Ace wasn’t right in his second season, with issues that had to be sorted out. Patience only strengthened the friendships: it was a shared joy when he won again at Plumpton in February 2019. Our little yearling, bought out of a muddy field in Limerick, is now a bold, front-running 3m+ hurdler who adores galloping the field ragged in heavy ground. All the owners are still together, cheering him on and meeting up when they can – at the races or in Dorset pubs prior to visiting Anthony’s yard.
During the journey, owners, trainer, family and stable staff have become firm friends. Our paths might not have crossed without Ace. Why the name, Acey Milan – a white diamond on his forehead (Ace of Diamonds) and he is by Milan. Oh yes – and a football club. Simple!