Even better, the man is into the great sport of racing.
In the late 80’s I got invited to a race meeting. Virgin Records invited me to drink and eat at their expense. Be polite to Richard Branson and then enjoy myself with some bets at their expense.
My table placing saw me sat next to Chris Wright, co founder of Chrysalis records and a man who was a driving force behind many big names in the world of music.
In those days I drank when attending the races. Those days are long behind me.
I knew Chris Wright was Chris Wright. So why did I call him Colin throughout lunch?
Drink! My free tip to you today is that a day of profitable punting is highly unlikely if you are pissed.
Don’t call me Colin!
It was so good of him not to correct me nor tell me off with a: “don’t you know who I am?” Others in his position would not have been so gracious and forgiving.
He humoured me in my increasingly drunken state. A fact he recalled when, a few years later, I produced some sell through videos for him.
Chris, a former Chairman of QPR, brought Italian football to Channel 4, set up radio stations and his Chrysalis Television production company went on to produce drama programmes such as ‘Midsomer Murders.’ He says selling the TV company was his biggest business regret but that shareholders would have had him “sectioned” had he not agreed.
Wright says: “I never wanted to sell the TV production company – I was ambushed into doing that. I did insist that it was minuted in the boardroom that I was totally opposed to the deal and felt it was not the right deal for the company.
“I thought it was stupid because I’m aware of the value of rights and I felt Midsomer Murders had huge ongoing value – and, what we did is we sold the TV production company for £45m. It was resold two years’ later for £320m. Midsomer Murders is still going, after all these years.”
Up the jungle!
He has taken a step back from his varied and distinguished media career and is now able to spend more time enjoying his hobby of breeding and racing thoroughbred horses.He lives in one of the most beautiful areas of the UK, the Cotswolds.
Chris says: “I bought the adjacent 400 acre farm and started converting it into what is now Stratford Place Stud. It is an idyllic place to live and to breed racehorses. Bungle Inthejungle was the first home bred group winner at a UK racecourse in my colours so it was quite a special moment.”
Like all owners, he is reluctant to say he has a preference for one horse. He simply enjoys seeing his horses run. Winning is a bonus.
He says: “Culture Vulture won the Fillies’ Mile and the Marcel Boussac. She also won the French 1000 Guineas, the first UK trained filly ever to do so. Another star was Dark Angel who won the Group One Middle Park Stakes and the Group 2 Mill Reef Stakes in 2007.”
I am often wondered how owners go about choosing the name for their horses. There are so many inventive names around these days.
Chris says: “Most of my horses after songs or album titles. Unfortunately the best names often go to disappointing horses. High Heeled Sneakers was very good but Crime of Passion was probably the best named horse.”
Wright did dabble a little with fielding horses in jumps racing, but prefers the flat.
He says: “We had a runner in the Grand National who finished fourth, and then died of a heart attack after the line. I now breed mainly precocious sprinters.”
Wright would love to own the winner of a big race such as the Norfolk or Queen Mary. But, above all, he just loves attending the races.
Just so long as he’s not sat next to a drunk who calls him Colin!
With thanks to Mark Johnston and team at MJR Racing