The Monday shops opened and brought some relief to lockdown Britain was far from a happy one for the Happy Mondays star Bez, whose venture into horse racing got off to the worst possible start when Mystic Moonshadow, the horse bought to earn money for a charity, refused to race at Redcar.
Bez, real name Mark Berry, dancer and maracas-shaker for the Happy Mondays, launched his racing club last month with the aim of raising money for Manchester-based homeless charity Coffee 4 Craig but their flagship filly let them down on her very first trip to the races.
“It looks like she was being a bit of a diva and she wouldn’t go in the stalls,” explained Berry, who had travelled to the north-east track to see Mystic Moonshadow run. “We’ll just have to hope [for better] for next time now.
“These things happen, it’s her first race. She was being a bit of a diva yesterday so it’s part of her character. Once she gets used to coming out for the day I think she’ll get better. It’s an unhappy Monday at the moment but, you know what, it’s all about the experience. She’s come down [to the track], she’s had some experience and hopefully she will learn from it.”
Trainer Jedd O’Keeffe is hoping for better luck next time. He told the Racing Post: “I’m at Newmarket for the breeze-up sales and she just didn’t want to go in. She took exception to the blindfold as well, so they couldn’t use that and I can’t tell you much more.
“She’d obviously done lots of practice at home, including with the blindfold, and we’d had no trouble, but the occasion just got to her. We really like her and think she’s a nice filly. She’s bound to improve an awful lot for her debut – mine always do – but we like her a lot and can see her winning races.
“She’ll have to pass a stalls test before she can run again, but I wouldn’t anticipate trouble and we’ll do lots more practice at home and hopefully resume her career on the track.”
Bez’s Racing Club was put together by the Burrow Seven Racing Syndicate, part of a wider charity effort in the name of Rob Burrow, the Leeds Rhinos, England and Great Britain rugby league player who in 2019 announced he had been diagnosed with motor neurone disease.