Get Involved...Yvonne, Frank and Anne Martin

Old Gold Racing

March 27, 2024

Get Involved...Yvonne, Frank and Anne Martin

An Old Gold Racing owner shares their racing story.

Yvonne, Frank and Anne Martin

Growing up in a house where racing was never off the TV. My dad loved to put a wee line on every Saturday and if he won we would get a little takeaway as a treat and a 'quarter' of sweets.

I was raised to love the sport and the animals in it. While other 9 year olds covered their walls with posters of boy bands, I would meticulously go through the Sporting Life cutting out photos to make a collage of my own hero, Remittance Man.

We didn't have much money growing up but we had great summer days at Hamilton and Ayr races and the family gathered round the TV every March for Cheltenham. Owning a racehorse was not something a family like ours could ever consider back then.

Fast forward to 23rd December 2022. I'm on my lunchbreak and looking for something last minute to add to mum and dad's gifts. Suddenly, an advertisement pops up for shares in a gorgeous mare named Apple Away. I watched the clips and was captured by Scu's love for her, though she hadn't achieved anything much so far. Hmmmm. Mum and dad are regulars at Ayr. Wouldn't it be lovely just to go and see their own horse run there and cheer it on? If it won even one wee handicap somewhere they'd be delighted!

That afternoon I returned home to terrible news. Mum had been diagnosed with cancer. It was a very aggressive and malignant form which had spread. Christmas 2022 would be non-existent for us. Still, I framed their owner's photo and added it to the parcels.

On Christmas morning, they were both thrilled. A share in their own horse. We had no idea that Apple's journey would be what kept us all going over the next 6 months. A week later she ran at Haydock and gallantly tried to make all before being pipped close home. We fell in love that day.

As mum's gruelling course of chemotherapy started, the updates on Apple punctuated our weeks and gave us something to look forward to. On Valentine's Day I arrived at my mums to find her bald. Her hair had fallen out the night before and her head had to be shaved. That afternoon, we gathered around the TV, unable to get to our beloved Ayr due to mum's health. There was Apple, brave and brilliant, heart on her sleeve, making all to destroy a competitive field. We cheered wildly and we cried.

Mum's 70th birthday was the first week in March. She wasn't allowed visitors due to her vulnerable health but she said all she wanted was to watch our beloved Apple at Doncaster. A runner in a listed race! We couldn't believe it. Again, she went to the front and relentlessly galloped her rivals into submission. Although our hearts almost stopped when she slithered at the last, we roared with joy. This brave, unstoppable mare who fought so hard. The symbolism was not lost on us. Happy birthday mum.....from Apple!

Shortly after, mum's final chemotherapy appointment came through. The 14th of April. Noooo! Apple was running at Aintree that day. Mum would be hooked up to her drip unable to watch it. We needed a plan. We asked all our friends and family who we had come to call 'The Apple Army' not to txt or call us about the race. We would turn our phones off and watch at 7pm that night when we got home from the hospital.

We could never have predicted what that recording would show. Apple was at it again...out in front, one by one, she swatted away the challenges of Cheltenham hero's, of Irish hopes and of potential champions. On the home turn you could feel it in your blood...she was not for passing.

We screamed ourselves hoarse! Neighbours phoned to ask if there had been a murder. Apple had done it. Group 1 winning mare. We sobbed and hugged each other so tight. Although we share her with plenty of other brilliant owners, the magic of Apple is that she feels like she's ours.

This mare has given our family something that no amount of money can buy... hope at a time when we had none. Apple has been a shining light in the darkest of days. We will love her forever and words cannot express our gratitude to Old Gold and all in Lucinda and Scu's team.

Dad and I had the joy of visiting Arlary last year and we hope mum might get the chance to meet her hero, Apple this year, now that her treatment is less intensive. We do not know what magic Apple may still have in store but we do know she has stolen our hearts forever.

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Old Gold Racing

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