Marcus Armytage was Grand National winning jockey on Mr. Frisk and is the Daily Telegraph racing correspondent. He has written a book ,“ Hot Cherry “, a light hearted tongue in cheek compilation of some of his racing articles. Marcus wrote “Corinthian Spirit “after Dr. Michael Mannish won the British amateur jockeys championship to the amazement of the racing community.
Looking back at the 1996 flat turf season, you will agree that as far as we are concerned one horse stands out, a cigar among roll-your-owns. The horse is Montone, who has run 21 times and won 5. In the process he has carried his owner, Dr. Michael Mannish, self confessed mug amateur, to victory in the Bollinger Series championship.
Dr. Mannish, 45, who is not without a great sense of humour can alter the way you smile, not only because he's a cosmetic dentist but because of the way he rides. His weighing- room sobriquet, Dr. Death, has not been lightly earned, for in the early days, if he could not go round the horse in
front of him he invariably went over it. Indeed, my first encounter with the good doctor was in front of a panel of Lingfield stewards. If I remember rightly, I had a dual role as both victim and prosecution witness. Montone regularly run away whilst going down to the start, which prompted his trainer John Jenkins to insist he be led down, and he had to leave Chepstow by the back door after his only outside ride. He broke the five-furlong course record there on a locally trained hotpot. The only drawback was that the race was over a mile.
Dr. Mannish learnt to ride at the tender age of 38, when most jockeys are having internal struggles with their “bottle”, and his interest in racing only developed because the chap teaching him at a Sheffield riding school claimed to be a retired jockey. He dabbled in stockbroking and shipping and went to nearly every university in the country, except the British Racing School, before settling for dentistry. Now based in Highgate and Harley St. London, he runs a successful practice. In his spare time he deals in antiques and scares the hell out of other amateurs. He bought his equine partner at Newmarket in 1994, when he and a friend went to the sales with 3,000 guineas each to spend. His friend became bored with proceedings, fell asleep and woke up as the bidding was under way for Montone.
“ Do like that horse ? “ he asked Dr. Mannish.
“Yes, I think he”s magnificent , replied Mannish, and up went the friends hand, at which point the auctioneer said, “Going, going, gone.” Mannish looked up at the scoreboard and saw that their single bid had secured Montone for 11,500 guineas.
And so began one of the horse world's great partnerships.
“He ran away with me at home”, says Mannish.
“In fact, every horse I ever sit on at John Jenkins” does that. The first time I rode Montone, at Redcar, I asked Kieran Fallon how I should ride him and he told me to give him a long rein. The next thing I knew, on the way to the start, I was doing 45mph and heading for the stables” brick wall. The race was over a mile and three furlongs, and for nine furlongs nothing got near him, so we ran him next time over seven at Beverley and he won.”
So if you have a horse who has lost his zest for racing, I have one piece of advice: stick him in an amateurs race and don't book the pro-ams like Tim McCarthy, Lydia Pearce or even ,dare I say, me. Book Dr. Mannish, and providing the horse does not break the track record going down to the start, it probably will coming back.
Dr. Death aka Dr. Mannish is available at Clinica Europa in Torrox costa
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He has many years experience of CARING DENTISTRY and is happy to help you with any dental enquiries.