Sydney Francis Patrick Chippendall Healey-Kay has rather too many letters to be registered as the name of a racehorse with the Jockey Club. And Patrick Kay, as young Sydney was known as he grew up, wasn’t anything special. He needed a name with rather more chutzpah if he was to make it in his chosen profession.
In time, Patrick Kay became Anton Dolin, an outstanding ballet dance and choreographer with Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes during the 1920s, where he became one of the principal male dancers at the age of 20. By the time Dolin signed on, the company had passed its heyday, and the great ballets of Stravinsky and Debussy were established in the repertoire.
Dolin never had the opportunity to dance with Nijinsky, the greatest ballet artist later to make his way into racing’s hall of fame. Nevertheless, he was thought to be one of the finest partners of his time and regularly appeared alongside Alicia Markova. He helped establish the Vic-Wells Ballet in the 1930s, which later became the Royal Ballet and Ballet Theatre, now American Ballet in 1940.
We can confidently state that a debutant hurdler at Ludlow this afternoon will not, long term, rise to the same heights of fame as his alter ego. Anton Dolin has moved to Dr Richard Newland’s yard in the dispersal of John Dunlop’s horses. Never rated higher than 81 on the flat, he was partnered by eight “leading jockeys” in his seventeen races under that code.
He looked to be a spring horse, with all three of his wins coming together in May and June last year in handicaps at Warwick, Goodwood and Newbury. His one run in May this year wasn’t a bad one, with a third place at Windsor.
Today, he has his first run over hurdles. He’ll need to jump. His alter ego certainly could, and by 1.00pm we’ll know whether Anton Dolin has any of that ability.