CHRIS Norbury may have suffered an early exit in the Coral UK Championship in York, but there was still a day to look forward to on quarter-final Friday.

The 28-year-old from Accrington is a huge horseracing fan and has a share in eight-year-old gelding Water Garden, with award-winning young trainer Rebecca Menzies at nearby Brandsby.

And having been to watch the former David Pipe hurdler in his first three races over fences as a chaser, Norbury had finally found a window to get over to the stables for the first time.

The world No98, on his third crack at the snooker tour, said: “It had always been a dream to be involved at some level and have at least a share in a horse, just something I really wanted to do.

“And a mate of mine who has got five horses said he had a good one and would I be interested in a share, I jumped at the chance even if maybe it was a bit earlier than I was expecting.

“He is an eight year old now going chasing, usually over about three miles, though the trainer can vary that depending on the track. I have been to watch all the chase races, luckily they have never clashed with snooker.

“He used to be a hurdler with a rating of 134, which is pretty decent and won races. The first race I saw him as a chaser he came 4th at Hexham, a really good race in which the form has worked out very well.

“Then the next one was at Carlisle which has a steep finish so I think that one was only 2 miles 4 furlongs, and we finished second to a very good horse called Drop Out Joe.

“The best thing about that race is that we were standing in the parade ring as owners and trainers next to David Moyes, who had a horse in the race with Donald McCain – and ours finished ahead of his!

“The third race didn’t go so well, but he had a bad journey and didn’t eat properly before the race and came sixth – but he will be going out on the track again soon, maybe even Saturday at Wetherby.”


Photograph courtesy of World Snooker