Honeygrove Banker had been in and out of auctions in Ireland and England before finally coming to Doncaster and being sold to Ginger McCain in 1985.
I remember being in the stables with a horse that we were selling, when the boss walked in and was very excited about seeing this other horse. I went with him to see the horse and I took a liking to him straight away. He was a 16.3hh bay gelding by Cawston's Clown,and although a different size and shape, he was very similar, in colour and white markings as Kumbi.
The Banker's first race was at Uttoxeter in a two mile novice hurdle, with Jonjo O'Neill on board, they won easily and a week later they won again at Haydock. His third race was at Doncaster, all was going well, until he clipped the second last hurdle and fell. He came second, third and won again before he went for a holiday out to grass.
Once back in training Honeygrove Banker was soon back to his best. We went down to Kempton and sprinted 20 lengths clear to win the Captain Quist Hurdle, It was to cost dearly as The Banker suffered tendon trouble, and was out of action for eighteen months and his future was in a bit of trouble.
During his break The Bankers future was being discussed behind closed doors, which resulted in him being sent to Ascot Sales, I was upset about this, and wasn't allowed to take him. The outcome of the sale - he returned to us unsold and back where he belonged.
On 16th April 1988, Honeygrove Banker was fit again and with his legs wrapped in bandages and still in need of a bit more work, we headed of up to Ayr, he ran a good race and finished third. Ridden by Neale Doughty and beaten 4 lengths by the winner.
The Banker was really full of himself and enjoyed his work. A really gentleman who wouldn't hurt a fly. We went off to Uttoxeter very confident of winning, this was going to be his last hurdle race before graduating to fences which he had been schooled over and jumped brilliantly.
We were stood watching the race, the horses turned for home Honeygrove Banker cruised into the lead and then at the second last he took off too far off from the hurdle and fell.
As I ran to go and catch him, I saw Boss, he only had a bridle, When I got to him I was hit with the news that Honeygrove Banker had broken his neck and was no longer with us.
That same day Kumbi broke down in a race before and his career was over too, he went off in to retirement.
This rates as one of the saddest days in my life and not long after I left racing which wasn''t my brightest decision. R.I.P. Honeygrove Banker x