Around 20 years ago, Rory Bannerman's small syndicate had horses in training with Bruce MacTaggart, and when the best horse (one win) retired, he decided it would be a good idea to breed a racehorse himself!  Off he went to Doncaster Bloodstock Sales and bought a mare called Hannah Park for £1100, despite not really having a clue as to what he should be looking for and not even having anywhere to keep her!

In order to pay for the mare’s keep and breeding costs, Rory then set up a new syndicate with a number of friends, (including a joiner, publican, butcher, factory worker, office worker, oil rig chef and 2 solicitors), calling it the ‘Potassium Partnership’, named as such because Rory’s daughter had recently suffered meningococcal meningitis at only 7 yrs old, and had to spend a long time in ICU due to having dangerous levels of Potassium in her blood, before going on to make a full recovery.

Hannah Park’s first foal was very small and so did not race, but her 2nd foal named ‘KingKalium’ trained by Donald Whillans won 1 race, and her 3rd foal, also trained by Donald and named ‘Ellistrin Belle’ won 2 races!  Ellistrin Belle was then bought by 2 of the syndicate members who now own her and 2 of her offspring and also keep ‘Shady’s’ dam.

The Potassium Partnership members turned their attention to ‘Shades of Midnight’ (Shady), Hannah Park’s 5th foal, who had been kept with his dam in a field behind Rory’s mum’s house and lived in a shelter built by one of the syndicate!  Shady was sent to Donald Whillans to be broken in by Donald’s son, Garry, and begin his training career.


Shady was third in his first race, then won a ‘bumper’ at Hexham, and went on to win 2 Novice Hurdles and 2 Handicap Hurdles for Donald Whillans.  He was then sent to Sandy Thomson to continue his career as a steeplechaser, winning his first chase but then running back over hurdles, second to Paisley Park, and on  to win the Grade 2 Rendlesham Hurdle at Haydock Park!

As if Shady’s success on the racecourse wasn’t enough, he was also nominated for the ‘Midnight Legend Trophy for the Leading Hurdler’ at the prestigious Thoroughbred Breeders Awards Dinner 2019, where Rory and other members of the syndicate were presented with the winners’ trophy!

From such humble beginnings, and still only 9 yrs old, ‘Shady’ has lots of potential to win more top races, and the story of the Potassium Partnership continues as Rory has bought another mare, ‘Xpectations’, for the bargain price of 800gns despite her being closely related to Champion Hurdle and Liverpool Hurdle  winners Morley Street and Granville Again!  Rory now has a 2 yr old son of Xpectations by Passing Glance who has just begun his racing education in the hope of continuing the fairytale!