After much deliberation we have taken the advice of our trainer Shaun and have decided that today will be Fathom Five (Vinnie’s) last race.
 
Our little soldier has been an absolute credit to racing and has entertained racegoers on no fewer than 98 occasions.
 
Shaun and his team at pinewood have done wonders with him and he has won 5 times for notts racing.
 
We were very pleased that his original owner David got in touch with us to relay the story behind this courageous little horse.
 
David bought him at Fairyhouse for very modest money and at the time a number if his horses had Shakespearean names prompted by his sire FATH which meant something in Arabic, OM went on the end to create  (FULL) FATHOM FIVE from the famous THE TEMPEST passage.
 
FATHOM was started his training life at Fawley House Stud and went from there into training with Bryan Smart.  He won first time out and ran well enough next to go for the Windsor Castle at the Royal Meeting.  
 
 
Vinnie wasn’t rushed and this paid off with wins at Newmarket and Leicester but then came the most dramatic day of all back at Newmarket on 23rd June 2007.  With Philip Robinson at his strongest, FATHOM was first past the post off a mark of – by then – 92.   There was a “coming together” which didn’t seem much, but Robert Havlin on the other horse SOHRAAB (Hughie Morrison) smashed Philip across the back in anger with his whip after the line.  The placing’s were reversed after a Stewards Enquiry and Havlin got some sort of a ban.  
 
David decided to appeal and although the hearing was quite intense FATHOM got the race back.
 
David was kind enough to tell me the rest of the story.
 
“He clearly knew that he was Cock of the Walk so we thought that a Listed race at Chester – on Soft which he preferred – would suit.  And it did but for two things.  Our 3yo warrior was drawn 6 of 6 and had the usual sort of trouble trying to get through; he couldn’t get to the winner and was 2nd beaten half a length by a newly pregnant 5 year old rated 19 pounds less than FATHOM in a Listed conditions race.  He beat those rated 103 and 108 if I recall, but got small not full black type.
 
Now rated 98 he went for the Shergar Cup Dash at Ascot and drew a Turkish jockey who appeared to understand the suggestion (translated for him by a compatriot) that he sit handy and give him two or three cracks at the business end.  He indeed sat handy showing serious speed in that field but made no move to use the stick at all, pushing him out hands and heels to finish a comfortable second.  Nobody would go ear the rider for fear of doing something they would regret, but I did go to him with the interpreter.  The interpreter refused to speak to him simply remarking to me that he is a complete idiot.  And this FATHOM FIVE did not win a Shergar Cup, or so our story goes.
 
FATHOM was immensely popular in the yard.  He had the most irritating foible of spinning round and messing about going the short distance from stables and warm up walk to the gallop.  He often need to be led by the hand.  Once on the gallops, all professional.  You could almost see him laughing which is why people liked him.  No malice ever.
 
( This is something that he does to this day!) ed
 
Later, trained in Newmarket he adapted his party tricks more to going down at the races than on the long walks from the Fordham Road to Racecourse Side when he was a pussy cat.
 
After Ascot we took him over to The Curragh where he finished 4th in a Group 3 and went up to his official rating of 100 after which he slipped back to 94.
 
Partners sold out (to me) and for one reason or another – after a very beneficial winter at Fawley House 2008/9, I moved him to Chris Wall in Newmarket.  I was Chris’s first public owner back in 1987 and we have had 50+ horses in training together.   I put FATHOM into our Racing Club Hintlesham Racing and the whole formula worked to the extent of winning first time out at Epsom on the “fastest 5 furlongs” striking up a partnership with Alan Munro - another old friend.  For the remainder of his 5-year-old year, he maintained his form without much luck, running best at Catterick – another downhill – and respectably in several Class 2 handicaps.  
 
At 6 after the usual Fawley House formula, bang! He won the same race at Epsom again off 91.  A fun season followed without a win and at the end, we had to think about major recession, decline in membership and whether or not to go on at 7.
 
I thought long and hard about taking him to South Africa where we have a parallel operation of breeding, racing and stallion management.   But I didn’t fancy the long quarantine for him in particular and he was about to be 7.
 
Although I didn’t look him in the eye when he went into the ring, I did set things up so that by not setting a silly reserve and knowing that two others would bid, I could guide him into Dandy Nicholls hands.  Which is what happened.
 
His last race for us was a 4th place at Catterick in the very decent Totepool Catterick Dash (0-100).  He had won 6 for us and provided an enormous amount of fun.  In turn, we gave him lovely winters off and rode him back at Fawley so he came back fresh every time.
 
Inevitably he has slipped down the ratings and I don’t mind admitting that I was concerned but without having any right to be. The fact that last season he won three times at the age of 10 is a tribute to you and your trainer, and to the little fellow himself. “