Silver Socks was with us since he was a baby. Bred locally, by Petong out of Tasmim, he was the younger half brother of our winning mudlark Itsanothergirl.
Silver Socks started his career unspectacularly running four times and not reaching the frame in low grade maiden events in the north. His first real show came at Beverley as a three year old, when he finished a good second in an Apprentice's race. At the end of the 2000 flat season he ran three times over hurdles but showed little.
However, on 5th February 2001 he turned up at Southwell and scooted up off a mark of 39 on the all weather. A 12-1 shot and in first time blinkers he surprised a lot of people. Mick Easterby's assistant, Robin O'Ryan said afterwards "This was his first time on the all-weather and he's done it nicely. It was a bad race - the form of his Beverley second last August was good enough to win this. He takes a lot of riding, but he will definitely run again on the all-weather and will probably get a bit further."
As usual, Robin was right. Eight days later, upped a furlong, Silver Socks won at Wolverhampton and repeated his win a week later at the same track, looking good value for his 4 length win. A four timer was accomplished three days later with an even wider winning distance of nine lengths! He was eased into the lead fully a mile from home and galloped on strongly for an easy success. Confidence was such that we'd put an advert in the Racing Post telling everyone he would win. The advert stated 'For sale - a "ready made winner" at Wolverhampton this week-end. Contact - without delay - Michael Easterby'.
Another three days later Silver Socks just failed to make it five, but amends were made next time when Tony Evans got him up in an apprentices handicap to make it five wins within the space of a calendar month! Silver was kept busy on the track but his soaring handicap mark seemed to have stopped his winning streak.
Back over hurdles later in the year, after being placed at Wetherby, the son of Petong was back in the winners enclosure at Haydock. He was still on the bit as he hit two out, then was eased close home to look value for more like double his final margin.
Six weeks later at Musselburgh, the brave grey was at it again! This time he landed a novices hurdle in a thrilling finish. This proved to be his last visit to the winners enclosure.
At the start of the 2002 flat season, Silver Socks was denied his eighth win when going down by a head at Doncaster, and after his next race at Nottingham [finishing third] he was put away for a jumping campaign.
Silver Socks enjoyed what was to be his last summer at grass in the fields with the jumpers, and was inseparable from his 'girlfriend' Super Sammy. The pair appeared at the open day in August, as usual in nextdoor boxes.
A chasing career was planned, and the first run at Wetherby gave the gallant grey a first taste of the big fences. He seemed to relish the task, and finished third.
Back at the Yorkshire venue in November, on a dark and wet Autumn day, Silver Socks lined up for the two mile novices chase.
Still in touch and turning for home, he hit the last open ditch. Everything happened very quickly, but he appeared to slip on landing. He was immediately pulled up and jockey Richard McGrath leapt from the stricken grey. Silver Socks had not hit the deck but the damage was clear to see, as he has suffered a horrific fracture of his near fore.
Such a break is not repairable and under vet's instructions Silver Socks was put down on the spot.
Silver Socks was one of our favourites and also our only grey horse in training. He was missed at Sheep Close Farm by the staff, and his untimely demise left a cloud over the yard.
He will be remembered for all the fun we had with him, particularly his amazing spell on the all weather in February 2001.
He was also missed by his 'girlfriend' Super Sammy, who wondered why her fieldmate never came home again.