Pic: Steven Cargill
Trainer: Tom Clover
Details: Chestnut Gelding
By Foxwedge (Aus) ex Glencal (Compton Place)

Balgair, was trained by Tom Clover and had been the mainstay of Newmarket Racing Club being the very first horse we purchased when we launched. Son of Australian stallion, Foxwedge, he is the winner of six races notably here at Newmarket, both on the Rowley Mile and, also, on the July course and is also a winner at Newmarket-by-the-Sea, better known as Great Yarmouth and, his most recent win was on the other relatively local track, at Chelmsford, on the all weather. He is a flashy chestnut who is one of the most recognisable horses in the town.

Previously, the winner of four races over 7f and a mile. In 2020, his first season with us, we plotted a course for him to be stepped up in trip, referred to by trainer, Tom Clover as a ‘stroke of genius’, at the time and on the first occasion he was stepped up in trip,he duly won the Amateur riders version of the Cambridgeshire by no less than six lengths here on the Rowley Mile.

With his owners duly rewarded at the princely odds of 12/1, he subsequently ran, seven days later, in the Cambridgeshire itself but in atrocious conditions, finished in midfield but, nonetheless, delighted his Owners that our master plan for that season had come to fruition!

The following season we felt he was well enough handicapped to win a ‘big one’ and we stepped him up to 10f and, after a pipeopener at Ascot, we aimed him at the £35,000 Zetland Gold Cup at Redcar. He ran an absolute stormer, beaten only three and a half lengths but, after a troubled passage, he finished hard on the bridle. Never able to get out of a pocket, there is little doubt with a clear run, he would almost certainly have been second…or even better!! The race subsequently produced winner after winner. The one that got away!

Later that year, we aimed him at the race he had won the year before but Balgair suffered a particularly nasty virus infection and on his comeback from that, he finished a gallant fourth as lack of a recent outing told in the finishing stages. However, we had a plan B and although he hadn’t run on the all weather for four years, we were confident he would both handle the surface and show his best. He duly did! Under a superb ride from Champion Jockey, Oisin Murphy, Balgair sat patiently, in behind before Oisin produced him with a strong run to win by a comfortable three quarters of a length.

Oisin was delighted with him, indicating he felt like a three year old telling us he was very difficult to pull up and had plenty in reserve. After his Winter break we set our stall out to finally win a big one with Balgair in 2022 and laid him out for the £100,000 handicap at Epsom on Oaks Day, only to be thwarted by the weather as the ground turned soft. Again, we had a plan B and aimed him at Sandown on Eclipse Day in a £50,000 handicap and all was going according to plan as Balgair closed on the leaders with a furlong to run, only to get badly hampered on the rails and his jockey having to give up. We feel sure he would have placed in the top notch handicap but the important thing was that he came home safe and sound which he did. Following that run we went to Epsom for a nice little handicap and again, Balgair this time hampered by a faller and despite finishing with a rare old rattle could only finish third with his jockey indicating that in another 100 yards he felt he would have won.

Balgair was trained by Tom Clover at the historic, Kremlin House Stables, on the Fordham Road in Newmarket.

Tom Clover follows, the late, great Michael Jarvis, Roger Varian and Simon Crisford as the master of Kremlin House and he has quickly forged an excellent reputation and, with his first winner at Glorious Goodwood under his belt, Tom, together with his wife, Jackie, daughter of Arc de Triomphe winning trainer, Michael Jarvis, have an operation that is really going places. Charming, welcoming and hugely hospitable, they run a terrific ship…

Tom Clover with Balgair
Pic: Steven Cargill

In November of 2023, after discussions with his trainer, Tom Clover, it was decided that it was the right time to retire the 9yo from racing, and whilst we are saddened to do so, the great news is he goes out sound in both mind and structure, ready to start a new vocation.

Balgair was the first horse we purchased to launch this Club and he has been a tremendous asset, winning our first race, under Ross Birkett, and here at Newmarket too and although there were no crowds there that day due to Covid, he didn’t know that and to win comfortably by six lengths was more than we could have dreamed of. Significantly, he won first time out as a 2yo for Johnny Portman before finding his way to Tom Clover and, in total won six races all told, always running his heart out, sometimes too enthusiastically… but that was him!!

We will all miss him greatly but we feel he has done enough to warrant a long and happy retirement. 

A big thank you must go to trainer, Tom Clover, his regular rider, Paul, and the Kremlin House Stables team – and of course, to his dedicated owners who, we know, are sad to see him go but will also be looking back fondly on some fantastic memories… 

Thank you, Balgair – enjoy your well deserved retirement!