Entertainment

Happy Mondays star Bez launches horse racing club

The dancer described it as ‘all the joys and nightmares of horse ownership without the cost'.

Happy Mondays star Bez is launching his own horse racing club – despite being a novice in the sport.

The maraca-shaking dancer, 56, famed for his onstage antics as part of the Madchester-era band, is inviting fans to buy into a thoroughbred filly, which he has called Mystic Moonshadow.

Bez, real name Mark Berry, will also learn how to commentate, improve his knowledge and hone his riding skills.

Bez and Mystic Moonshadow (Jules Annan/PA)

His current experience in the field extends only to placing bets on the Grand National and Cheltenham Gold Cup, and being a childhood fan of the Dick Francis horse racing novels.

He told the PA news agency: “It’s all the joys and nightmares of horse ownership without the cost.

“It’s like a private members club where you come on the journey with me and the horse.”

Winnings from Mystic Moonshadow will be donated to Manchester-based homelessness charity, Coffee 4 Craig, of which Bez is a long-standing supporter after spending time sleeping rough as a young man.

Mystic Moonshadow trains on the gallops (Jules Annan/PA)

The horse will race in “United red and City blue” in tribute to Manchester’s two largest football clubs.

Bez said the name Mystic Moonshadow had come to him in a dream.

“With my youngest son, every time there is a full moon we are always dancing in the garden in the moon shadow,” he said.

“I woke up one morning screaming. I had been dreaming about bloody horses and horse racing and I was screaming ‘Moonshadow’ at the top of my voice – that name came in a dream.

“Because we couldn’t have Moonshadow my girlfriend came up with the mystic bit so we stuck mystic on the front of it and came up with Mystic Moonshadow.”

Bez ahead of meeting Mystic Moonshadow for the first time (Jules Annan/PA)

The racing club was conceived by Bez in partnership with Racing4Business and its founder Phil Hawthorne.

Mystic Moonshadow is a two-year-old flat racing filly, sired by Showcasing, who previously won the Gimcrack Stakes at York, where he broke the course record.

The horse will be trained by Jedd O’Keeffe, who has trained a number of winners over the flat, hurdles and fences.

Bez said: “The horse is looking really good. She’s so fast I think she is going to be a winner.

“She is outrunning all the horses of her age and she has had to start training with older, more experienced horses.”

Members will receive a welcome pack including a hand-written postcard from Bez, certificate of membership, car window sticker and monthly newsletter updates on how the horse is developing.

If coronavirus permits, members will also have the chance to visit the horse at the training yard or join Bez in the owners’ enclosure on race day.

Mr O’Keeffe said: “Mystic Moonshadow is an enormously exciting horse and she comes from a fantastic pedigree. Her father has a great track record of siring Group One-winning fillies and her mother is an impressive sprinter too, so there’s a lot of speed in both parents.

“The ideal attributes for a winning racehorse are a great pedigree, willing attitude, competitive nature, good movement, a great size and the aptitude to want to be a great racehorse. Mystic Moonshadow appears to have all of these qualities.”

Membership can be purchased for £59 from bezracingclub.co.uk

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