Owner sells £800 filly to Sheikh Fahad after social media pitch
Sheikh Fahad has bought Leicester maiden auction winner Marchingontogether and has left her with Ivan Furtado with a view to running her under the Qatar Racing banner at Royal Ascot.
The filly's change of hands is good news for Furtado - and even better news for Richard Ward, who runs the 24-horse Bgc Racing syndicate, for whom she made her debut.
Marchingontogether, who takes her name from a Leeds United chant and is one of many football-themed runners with whom Ward is involved, cost just £800 at Doncaster Sales last October. While Ward will not say how much he sold her for he admits it was "a very nice sum".
The attraction in part was no doubt her breeding, since Marchingontogether is by Sheikh Fahad's own stallion Havana Gold, who won the 2013 Prix Jean Prat and stands at Tweenhills Stud. However, Ward had been corresponding with the sheikh for some time on social media, and so it did not come out of the blue.
Ward said: "I've had the best three weeks of my life. The start of it was Marchingontogether winning and then being sold to Sheikh Fahad, but I'm a huge Huddersfield Town fan, so winning the play-offs was brilliant, and I've got a share in one called Beckford who won on debut at the Curragh.
"I've struggled at it for two or three years on no money, taking lots and lots of gambles, but it's all started to pay off."
Explaining how the sale to Sheikh Fahad came about he said: "We had one called Shelneverwalkalone – by Captain Gerrard and our first football themed runner – running at Doncaster on an evening when Sheikh Fahad had runners.
"I was telling Ivan what an approachable guy Sheikh Fahad is, and I sent him a message hoping to get him interested in an idea I had. While I was on to him I told him that I would like to endorse my trainer, and then when Marchingontogether went and won Ivan got a phone call to make an offer which I believe referenced my message on Facebook.
"Whether she's quite Royal Ascot level I don't know, but having Sheikh Fahad in the stable puts things on a different level altogether and gives Ivan a great opportunity to show how good he is, and how good he is to deal with. He is the most wonderful guy, and it could change his life."
Ward is full of ideas, and the one he sought Sheikh Fahad's interest in was to have a Frankel called Frankel Lampard. That is still in the melting pot, but the name is already registered and Frank Lampard is being approached by a mutual acquaintance in the hope he will come on board.
Watch this space.