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Football: SERRELL IS ON TO A WINNER! Soccer chief scores at the races.

Byline: HARRY NOBLE

MARK Serrell makes horse racing sound like a sport of easy pickings!

His formula for success is simplistic to say the least.

You buy a race horse for a few thousand quid, select a trainer and then sit back and watch the winners roll in.

Sounds too good to be true? Well in Serrell's case, it's exactly whathappened. Serrell first met up with rookie race horse trainer David Flood in November 2003 through an advert in the Racing Post.

The pair hit it off immediately and together they came across a race horse which was to change their lives.

Serrell spotted what was deemed to be nothing more than a 'plater' by the name of Jonny Ebeneezer running at Southwell.

The horse finished third, but the pair agreed it had potential to do better, so Serrell promptly claimed him for pounds 6,000. They never looked back as Jonny Ebeneezer went from strength-to-strength.

He reeled off eight wins last season to win the Channel 4 Trophy and this year will contest group races only.

Serrell still can't believe his luck. The horse has won him pounds 140,000 in prize money alone and landed a few tasty bets in the process.

Not surprisingly, Serrell admits horse racing has taken over his life from his other passion of football.

He is better known in non league circles for his association with Brierley Hill Town, Stourbridge and more latterly Halesowen Town where he is vice chairman to long-time friend Nigel Pitt. Serrell hit the headlines when he was chairman at Stourbridge by sacking his then manager Mark Harrison when the Glassboys were sitting on top of the league.

But Serrell displayed the same Midas touch to his football stewardship as he does with racing. Heturned Brierley Hill's fortunes around before charting Stourbridge to consecutive league titles in the Midland Alliance.

By his own admission, Serrell was a player of no great consequence. A central defender, Serrell had the briefest of flirtations with Hereford United and hometown club Kidderminster Harriers.

He says: 'I started having trouble with my knees and had to stop playing altogether when I was only 22'.

Serrell, who runs a successful plumbing business in Halesowen, can console himself by moving into racing's big time. Together with David Flood, Serrell has acquired the famous racing yard Uplands, which was home to former racing great Fred Winter and more latterly Charlie Brookes.

Serrell now has eight flat race horses under Flood's charge in a total of 40 horses at the yard.

And this year, Serrell's involvement has taken on an international flavour as well, when his beloved Jonny Ebeneezer was invited to run in Dubai.

Serrell has already been over to the Middle East to watch the horse run and is now keeping his finger's crossed that a further invite follows for him to compete in the Dubai World Cup which takes place on March 26.

Prize money is a staggering 1.2 million dollars and judging by the luck Serrell's been having, who would rule him out of winning a slice of that.

CAPTION(S):

NET PROFIT: Mark Serrell displays the same Midas touch to his racing as he does to his football stewardship
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)
Date:Feb 13, 2005
Words:537
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