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  • Writer's pictureJo O'Neill

An Interview with Top Owners Richard and Donna Evans

Richard and Donna Evans lived a dream at the October meeting at Cheltenham when their Tegerek won under conditional jockey Kevin Brogan. They have been racehorse owners for the past few years, with Jonjo O’Neill training the majority of their runners.

Donna, 53, and Richard, 55, live less than an hour from the yard in Warwick, which is also the base for their business, Local Parking Security. Started in 1999, this is a parking management company, which also manufactures parking machines and pay stations.

Donna and Richard have been married for 32 years and have three children, Emily, Lucy and Joe and one grandson Quinn. They have two Pugs, Gracie and Bear, which took part in the first pet dog race at Warwick Racecourse, when Bear came second!

Ron was their first horse in 2012. They won several races with Mr Shantu and had a win round Stratford with the amusingly named Mister Dick. Presently, their racehorses are Tegerek, When You’re Ready and His Dream which is loaned out to a syndicate.

How did you get into racehorse ownership?

We were first introduced to racing when we won the chance to sponsor a race at Worcester at an auction. We were then introduced to Roger Hart at the races who organised us coming to Jackdaws Castle.

How did you get into owning greyhounds?

We first shared a greyhound with Richard’s older brothers and a friend. We enjoyed co-ownership but then decided to have just our own greyhounds. At one stage, we had over twenty, most with the pre-fix Caribbean. We also bred our own puppies from one of our racing dogs.

Please name your best greyhound(s)?

We stopped racing with greyhounds for a while and recently got back into it with a syndicate, where we have won some pretty big races. We won the Crayford Golden Jacket with a dog called Stardom, but the best was winning the RPGT Greyhound Bitch of the Year with Donation.

What are the differences between owning racing greyhounds and racehorses?!

The difference between racing greyhounds and racehorses is the price!! Also, the greyhound races are over a lot quicker.

How did you start sponsoring race days?

We sponsored our first races when we bought the chance to do so at an auction. This was for Worcester races. We became very good friends with Jenny Cheshire at Worcester Racecourse and had sponsored at least one race there over the last few years. We were approached by Warwick Races to sponsor there and have done the New Year’s Eve race card for the last four years. It gives us a great chance to enjoy the day out with family and friends whilst supporting a local racecourse.

How did you choose the design for your racing colours?

Our racing colours are based on our company logo colours of green, blue and white. They’re also quite easy to see when the horses are racing.

Which trainers have you used?

We previously had a horse with Dan Skelton, but we now just have them with Jonjo.

Tegerek and Kevin Brogan at Cheltenham

Photo Credit: Cheltenham Racecourse

Which have been your favourite horse(s)?

Donna:- At the moment, my favourite horse is When You’re Ready. I have always wanted to own a grey horse and he is stunning.

Richard:- Mine is His Dream, he has always tried his best for us and has kept running all year round this year.

What is your favourite racecourse?

We have been very lucky at Stratford-upon-Avon where we have had six winners.

What is your favourite race meeting?

We have also had the privilege of having a runner at Royal Ascot. That was an amazing experience. However, I think we would both agree that Cheltenham Festival is the best meeting.

What is your best day’s racing so far?

Tegerek winning at Cheltenham last month. Richard has always wanted a Cheltenham winner. We came close once with Mr Shantu, who came second a couple of years ago. We also had a day at Stratford Races in 2014, where our horse called Calaf won on Donna and Jonjo’s birthday, April 13th.

Which race would you like to win as an owner?

We would both love to win any race at the Cheltenham Festival; that would be a dream come true. To just have a runner at the meeting would be amazing.

Is there any racehorse you would have loved to own?

Richard:- I would have loved to have been involved in Red Rum. What a superstar.

What do you like about having your horses trained at Jackdaws castle?!

We love to come and visit Jackdaws Castle to see the horses and the staff there. I can never get over how peaceful it is and how welcome we are made to feel. It’s always nice to see Joe O’Neill’s (racing manager) smiling face!!

Please detail the idea of your new syndicate:

Our new venture is the Jonjo O’Neill Racing Club. We are offering membership to this club for a one-off fee of £99. The club will run two horses, Tegerek and His Dream over a period of 12 months from 1 December.

Club members will get the opportunity to visit Jackdaws Castle and see the horses on the gallops, watch them run at races and get a share of any prize money. The horses will run in the famous tartan colours of Sea Pigoen, on which Jonjo won the Champion Hurdle.

What is your favourite drink?

Donna:- favourite drink is an ice cold larger and lime on a sunny day. Or a nice cup of tea!

Richard:- Tea!

What is your favourite meal?

Donna:- Mac and cheese.

Richard:- Toad in the hole.

Where is your favourite holiday destination?

Donna:- My favourite holidays have been in Disney World, Florida. I am a very big Disney fan and I just love the atmosphere there.

Richard:- My favourite place we have been to recently is The Maldives. It was the total opposite of Disney!!

Mr Shantu

Photo Credit: Worcester News

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