Mildenhall Fen Tigers general manager Lee Chipchase hopes he can keep living the dream with Rogue Millennium who he believes has a “fighting chance” of giving him the opportunity to taste success on the big stage in the Cazoo Oaks at Epsom Downs on Ladies Day at the Cazoo Derby (Friday 3rd June).
Having watched the West Row-based speedway outfit claim last year’s National Development League title, the 47 year old will swap the pits for the paddock when joining up with fellow syndicate members from The Rogues Gallery on Friday.
The Tom Clover trained daughter of Dubawi features among 12 names that remain in contention for the mile and a half Classic after she was supplemented for the race on Saturday at a cost of £30,000 by connections.
Purchased for 35,000 guineas at the Tattersalls December Mares sale as part of the consignment from Shadwell Estates Company, Rogue Millennium has made giant strides this season having been unraced last year.
After making a winning debut at Wetherby in March, the progressive three year old advanced her Classic claims when backing that win up with victory in the Listed SBK Oaks Fillies’ Trial Stakes at Lingfield Park on 7th May.
Although Rogue Millennium will need to step forward again to maintain her unbeaten record, Chipchase is confident she is more than capable of giving syndicate members another day to remember in the prestigious Group One Classic.
Chipchase said: “Charlie Fellowes liked his horse (Fresh Hope) at Wetherby and Tom said if we can get a good run here we can build on that as she was still green and raw.
“She got to the track and just switched on with about three furlongs to run and won going away. After that everyone was buzzing and like where do we go next.
“Tom said I think we should go to the Lingfield Oaks Trial and see what we have got here.
“All the way down on the drive to Lingfield I was getting myself worked up and the night before I was getting butterflies.
“I think she was still a bit green at Lingfield as she had to come from the widest stall at Lingfield and she has gone all the way around outside.
“She only won by a head but she is going away at that point and if you go another furlong she would be a few lengths clear.
“She will come again. If you look at her, she looks like her dad as she is a brute of a filly.
“It just feels surreal as we are now going to turn up to Epsom with a fighting chance. If we can finish in the top four it would be amazing.
“I’ve been involved with a lot of local sports team’s around the Mildenhall area and I always like to think I can live the dream and win everything I try to.”
While looking forward to taking on runners from the sport’s super powers Chipchase admits his decision to splash out a £1,000 for a share in Rogue Millennium was largely down to the enthusiasm and previous dealings with syndicate founder Tony Elliott.
He added: “The first two horses I became involved in with the group were The Guvnor and Rogue Power.
“From there it has spiralled out from there and the more you got involved the more excited about the next purchase you got and I think I’m now involved in about 15 horses.
“Billy Jackson-Stops, Tom and Tony picked her out and knew there was something there.
“When Tony got this one at the dispersal sale there were only 40 shares and a few of the guys were saying this horse could be anything so I thought I had to have a go.
“I’ve been involved with four or five different syndicates or clubs whatever and this by far the best one I’ve been involved in and they really make you feel part of it.”
It is not only Elliott that Chipchase, who is also heavily involved with Mildenhall Cricket Club, has plenty of praise for but also Kremlin House Stables handler Clover, for whom this will be a first Classic runner.
He added: “Tony Elliott is going somewhere with this club and he will take it to the next level. He is straight up front and wears his heart on his sleeve and in Tom he has got a young star training his horses.
“If Tom gets right ammunition he can certainly train them as he is proving now. Tom and his wife Jackie are amazing and they always welcome you with open arms.
“He is a down to earth guy and you don’t always find them nowadays.
“Tom has got an amazing team here with all the staff and riders here. He is up and coming and he will be a big star.”
When it comes achievements Chipchase’s involvement with the Fen Tigers during their title winning campaign last year will always be treasured, however he believes that should Rogue Millennium triumph it would be a different kind of experience altogether.
He added: “To those that don’t know speedway is a team event with seven riders all working together and we just got it right last year.
“Effectively sealing the National Development League last year against Kent (Royals) in our penultimate fixture was amazing as it meant we only had to score just over 20 points in our final meeting at Armadale to win the league.
“To beat Kent on their home track was amazing. Jordan Jenkins, who was then captain, in heat 15 to get second was amazing after Jason Edwards got excluded.
“Then Sam Bebee and Nathan Ablitt getting the big 5-1 the race before in heat 14 showed a proper team ethic and spirit.
“The high here is just so different it is one race over a minute and a half to run a mile and a half. Nothing else can help as she is on her own with someone else on her back.
“In a speedway race there is four riders in a race of which two of them every time they are yours and you have 15 heats to do it over. There is team riding and you look after each other where as in racing it is everyone out for themselves.
“The percentages of the horse winning compared to winning speedway races are so much smaller so I’m elated with what she has done and the buzz after she won at Lingfield was something else.”
With Chipchase now well and truly bitten by the bug of racehorse ownership he hopes that his trip to Epsom Downs could be the first of many big days out in the future with his hunger to be involved with the sport, and The Rogues Gallery, at an all-time high.
Chipchase said: “Anyone looking to get into racing I would 150 per cent recommend getting involved with The Rogues Gallery as they are brilliant.
“Every time Tony buys a horse you feel addicted to get involved as it could be better than the one before.
“After what Rogue Millennium has done you have that feeling that you don’t want to miss out so I will be definitely dipping into the pocket again.”
Photo: Lee Chipchase (left) with Rogue Millennium and Tom Clover (The Jockey Club Photo)