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Wasdell Group Sign Three Year Deal To Sponsor Silver Trophy

Racing
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04 October 2022

Martin Tedham can remember the day he became hooked on horse racing because it was around the time he was trying to wean himself off cigarettes.

Tedham is the chief executive of Wasdell Group, sponsors of the £75,000 Silver Trophy Handicap Hurdle, the feature event of Chepstow’s Unibet jump season opener on Saturday, October 8.

A huge racing fan as well as racehorse owner, the company boss will be there in person to witness day two of the Big Welsh Racing Weekend.

But Martin can tell you exactly when the sport really got its hooks into him because it was 15 years ago when he was trying to give up smoking.

“I have a good friend up in Yorkshire called Steve Ryan who owns a few horses,” says Martin.

“He took me to a few sales and I was just watching the horses in awe, and he said to me, ‘Why don’t you buy one?’ I didn’t know anything about horses!

“This grey horse just came in; it went around and came back to us. I decided, I’ll buy this one. It was great horse; it was called High Cake. 

“I was told later the reason the horse came back to me was, that I had just stopped smoking at the time and I was eating a lot of Polo mints and it could smell the Polos on us.

“Well, I bought that horse and gave it to Richard Fahey to train. His first words to me were, ‘This is the horse with the bad legs! What did your vet say? Has he checked the horse?’ 

“I had no idea but that horse went to Musselburgh and ran in the first race. It was 33/1 and it romped in! I put £100 on it, so who needs a vet!”

Things have moved on since then and these days Martin’s connection with winners is based on more than a packet of mints.

Since 2019, the Wasdell Group have been the main sponsors of Jonjo O’Neil Racing at Jackdaws Castle in the Cotswolds, where Martin owns a string of horses including Tedham, Wasdell Dundalk and Zabeel Champion. His horse Sky Pirate (photographed) won at the Cheltenham Festival in 2021.

But his sponsorship interests also extend to Chepstow, where he has sponsored the Silver Trophy Handicap Hurdle since 2020. He has just agreed to support the race for another three years.

“The great thing is that Chepstow is very local for me,” says Martin, whose packaging company operate in the pharmaceutical industry.

“I have found there to be a lot of real racing people at the course. I am Scottish, of course, but I have a soft spot for the Welsh and it is always a great time at the races.

“This is the start of the jump season, the weather is changing, the colour of the leaves are changing, and the atmosphere and anticipation is certainly building. The trainers need wet weather for the jumps and hopefully it will arrive in time.

“I am hoping to have a runner that day, but that is up to the trainer! We’ll have to see. It is up to Jonjo and the horses and he will let me know, that’s how it is!”

But the Wasdell Group’s decision to lend their name to the feature race of the jump season opener – a huge part of the Big Welsh Racing Weekend – is not just about a sentimental attachment to racing.

For Martin, there are hard-headed business reasons to sponsor the race, too.

“We do a lot of veterinary products which are sold all over the world for horses and other animals.

“We also have one factory in Ireland, one in Dundalk, one in Newcastle, Northampton, Burnley and Swindon. If you get blood pressure tablets, Viagra or penicillin, you might be getting it from us, we send all over the world.

“Racing is a nice fit for that and a lot of people who work for me love the horses and gamble on them. So, the big thing for me is the employees in the company love the horses.

“They are always asking for any tickets on a Saturday or on the phone asking if the horses have a chance this week. So, it works really well.”

As well as the top class day’s racing on that Saturday October 8 date, Irish folk band Murphy’s Marbles will be playing in the Bonanza Boy Marquee before and during racing.

After racing, there is a live performance by From The Jam. 

Bruce Foxton’s band produced some of the biggest hits of the 70s and 80 including Going Underground, The Eton Rifles, Town Called Malice, Beat Surrender and Down In The Tube Station At Midnight. The band will be on stage in the Bonanza Boy Marquee around 5.30pm and play for just over an hour.

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