In training: Horseshoe Bay is one of two Irish colts purchased by Bermuda Thoroughbred Racing.  *Photo supplied
In training: Horseshoe Bay is one of two Irish colts purchased by Bermuda Thoroughbred Racing. *Photo supplied
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Johnny Barnes and Horseshoe Bay could soon be trotting around the winner’s enclosure at the most prestigious racecourses in the UK.

That is the racehorses, rather than the popular island ambassador and the pristine south shore beach.

The two Irish colts were recently purchased by Bermuda Thoroughbred Racing as part of a new scheme to allow islanders to become part owners in some of the most promising horses.

The thoroughbreds will spend the next few months at Highclere — where the hit TV show Downton Abbey was filmed — before they are sent to two of the best trainers in the business to prepare for racing in 2014.

The scheme is the brainchild of Bermudian businessman and racing enthusiast Simon Scupham

And it is already causing quite a stir in the racing world with Mr Scupham due to be interviewed about the venture on national television in England next week.

Mr Scupham told the Bermuda Sun: “We are extremely excited obviously with the names chosen for both horses as in different ways they both reflect extremely well on Bermuda.

“As Johnny Barnes is a more precocious type the hope would be that he could be a contender in one of Royal Ascot’s top two year old races next summer”

While the real Johnny Barnes was also quite taken with the idea of a racehorse being named after him.

He added: “I think it’s great. I’m all for it.

“When I used to drive bus one of the young girls I knew had a dog and she named it after me.

“But I have never had a horse named after me so this is a first.

“I’m very pleased and never imagined something like this would happen.”

The new venture has seen Mr Scupham team up with arguably the world’s most well-known racehorse ownership company, Highclere, to create Bermuda Thoroughbred Racing.

And it will mark the first occasion that ‘Bermudian’ horses race on famous courses like Goodwood, Ascot and Newmarket.

While the jockeys that ride Johnny Barnes and Horseshoe Bay in competitive racing will wear silks in Bermuda’s traditional pink and dark blue colours.

The two colts were chosen earlier this month by John Warren, who is widely regarded as one of the world’s leading ‘bloodstock’ advisors and is also the bloodstock agent to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth.

Highclere’s managing director, Harry Herbert,
said: “Johnny Barnes is now at Highclere Stud and after the parades he will start to be broken by my sister, Carolyn’s, team there.

“He will then head off to John Gosden’s Clarehaven Stables in Newmarket in November and will be cantering up the famous Warren Hill gallop with John’s other two year olds before Christmas.

“While Horseshoe Bay will go through a similar process. But as he is a horse who will need plenty of time to develop and mature we probably won’t send him to Sir Michael Stout until the end of January. He is bred to race over middle distances so he probably won’t be seen on the racecourse until well into the second half of the season next year.”