The Club
How we do it and who's involved

The aim of the Mick Fitzgerald Racing Club is to create syndicates that are large enough to support the purchase of quality horses, but not so large as to lose the thrill of ownership for our members. We acquire, mainly in Ireland, young geldings that Mick and his colleague, Shane Donohoe have identified as showing promise on the gallops and in maiden races at point to points.

Fun and member participation are very high on the agenda. The Club organises stable visits, off-course entertainment and racecourse hospitality as part of the membership package. The annual dinner, AGM, and visit to Philip Hobbs’s yard to see our horses work has proved to be very popular.

We are ambitious for success. A key goal is that the Club should acquire and develop horses good enough to compete at the Cheltenham Festival. We have now achieved that aim three times and, at the 2016 Festival we had our first runner in one of the Championship races, when Westend Story finished fifth and only a neck away from being in the winners enclosure following the Champion Bumper.

In order that members get the most out of being in the Club, a programme of regular communication is vital. Members hear from the management team on a regular basis, including updates on our horses, their progress and potential from Mick Fitzgerald.

Relatively large sums of money are involved and the Club has set in place a system of transparent administration, including annual financial reports for each syndicate.

 

The syndicate management team

Mick Fitzgerald

Born in Cork in 1970, Mick grew up in County Wexford, where he joined local trainer Richard Lister, when he was sixteen. After a spell on the Curragh with John Hayden, he moved to England when he was eighteen, where his height and weight took him into National Hunt racing. For the bulk of his career he was stable jockey to Nicky Henderson.

Mick was one of the top jockeys of his generation, riding about 1300 winners, including 14 at the Cheltenham Festival. He was leading jockey at the Festival in 1999 and 2000. Mick’s greatest victories were on Rough Quest in the 1996 Grand National and on See More Business in the 1999 Cheltenham Gold Cup. Other great horses Mick rode were Call Equiname, Tiutchev, Bacchanal, Marlborough and Fondmort.

When L’Ami fell at the second fence in the 2008 Grand National, Mick suffered a serious injury to his spine and announced his retirement shortly afterwards at the age of 38. Since hanging up his boots, Mick has successfully pursued a media career. He has been on At The Races since 2008, joined Channel 4 Racing in 2013 and, in January 2017, became part of new ITV Racing team.

Jon Holmes

Jon Holmes has spent most of his working life involved in sport and the media. Born in Leicester in 1950, he began his career, after graduating from Leeds University in Political Studies, as a reporter on the Leicester Mercury. Later he became a financial adviser, before embarking as an agent for sportsmen and women. In an almost forty year career he has personally advised Peter Shilton, Tony Woodcock, Gary Lineker, John Barnes, Neil Webb, David Gower, Mike Atherton, Nasser Hussain and Will Carling.

In 1998 he sold the business to the US based SFX Group, where he became European Chairman, and became involved with the careers of David Beckham, Michael Owen, Alan Shearer, Michael Jordan and Andre Agassi. On leaving there in 2006, he established a new business, Jon Holmes Media, managing the media careers of Gary Lineker, Alan Hansen, David Gower, Mike Atherton, Nasser Hussein, Guy Mowbray, Miles Harrison, Rebecca Lowe, Manish Bhasin, Peter Drury, and Steve Bower, as well as Brian Moore, Brough Scott and Mick Fitzgerald.

It was an introduction to the doyen of racing journalists, Brough Scott, in the early 1980’s, which rekindled his university enthusiasm for horse racing, in particular, National Hunt, and in 2001 he purchased his first horse with Tim Hailstone, Under the Sand, which won first time out at 20-1.  He has not missed a Cheltenham Festival since 1992, and has since owned several winners, all trained by good friend Philip Hobbs.

In 2001 he was part of the consortium, which rescued Leicester City from administration, and was Chairman when they were last promoted to the Premier League. He remains an avid supporter of all sport.

He divides his time between London, and the racing Mecca of Southwell.

Tim Hailstone

Tim Hailstone was born shortly after WWII in the hunting county of Rutland. His father was a Leicestershire farmer and enthusiastic point to point rider and amateur jockey under National Hunt rules. He can still recall the excitement of those first visits to racecourses, when he was a small boy, and his enthusiasm for horse racing, especially over the jumps, has not diminished.

Tim spent his working life in publishing and, over the years has published pretty much everything, from academic journals at one end of the scale to erotic fiction at the other. He is now semi-retired but still has some non-executive business interests, mainly Internet based businesses, including Quantum Leap, producer of The Racing App, of which he is Chairman.

Tim lives in rural South Devon.

Over the last fifteen years or so, Tim has owned a number of horses, mainly in partnership with Jon Holmes and mainly trained by Philip Hobbs.