Growing up 5 miles from Aintree Racecourse, Mark has always had a passion for horse racing. His favourite horse and Jockey combination is Aldaniti and Bob Champion who won The Grand National in 1981. Bob had beaten cancer and Aldaniti had recovered from a leg injury that was so severe, vets thought his racing days were finished. Together, they conquered the fearsome fences at Aintree to achieve the most emotional victory any racecourse is ever likely to see. It was so remarkable, a film was made of their triumph over adversity and this victory inspires Mark to this day. It is also a wonderful early memory that prompted a lifelong love of horseracing for Mark.
After many years of following horseracing, Mark considered the possibility of perhaps owning his own racehorse to finally fulfil a lifelong dream. After considering a variety of different horses, all with varying attributes, Mark purchased his first horse O’Hanrahan Bridge in 2017. This horse was chosen by Mark as he had just won a Point to Point in Ireland and Mark could see great potential in his ability. O'Hanrahan Bridge was originally stabled with Rebecca Curtis before being brought closer to home to be trained by northern powerhouse Donald McCain Jnr. With the help of Donald McCain Jnr, Mark's second horse Goffsbridge Girl was added in 2018 and in the summer of 2020, Mark launched Mark Kelly Racing and YoulNeverWalkAlone Racing Syndicate.
Mark was keen to add a further horse to his portfolio and also add an additional training facility to match his plans to incorporate a trainer in the south as well as the north. Having spoken with many top trainers in the south, one trainer stood out to Mark and the team - that trainer was Fergal O’Brien. Fergal’s reputation and enthusiasm matched Mark's ambition to give shareholders the best value for money experience and was the perfect match for Mark Kelly Racing.
In May 2021, Mark visited Goffs Spring Store Sale in Doncaster with Fergal and his partner Sally. After viewing many horses, the team agreed to purchase a beautiful 2018 Gelding by Walk In The Park. This gelding has since been pre-trained by Park Farm Stables and Christy Mews and returned to Fergal's Ravenswell Farm Stables to start his main training. This horse has now been named YoulNeverWalkAlone.
Mark's future plans are to add more quality horses and offer shareholders the best possible experience in horse race syndication. “Each shareholder must feel that at any time they can contact myself or any of our team, day or night. We don’t want to be faceless. I want the experience to be more personal than other competitor's syndicates”.
Horse welfare is also very important to us. Mark comments “My first horse lost 2 years of racing because of a leg injury sustained in training. We waited for him to recover and get back to full health. I’m sure some owners would have given up on him, but not us. O’Hanrahan came back and finished 2ndfive consecutive times before winning a 3m Handicap at Carlisle in November 2020 - one of the proudest moments of my life plus very emotional”.
"As with a horse’s retirement from racing, I don’t like to use the word retirement on its own because many racehorses (even though they have finished racing) don’t become redundant. We have rehomed one of our horses recently to a private owner whose daughters are mad on horses. It is a priority for all of our horses to be given the best life after racing and continue to receive the best care."