Horses have always been a part of my life, and I knew as a teenager that I wanted to become a racehorse trainer.
In my teens, I used to go to York’s Ebor meeting with friends who had racing connections. This is where my interest and passion for racing began, and I was fascinated! I will never forget watching Music Boy win in the 1975 Gimcrack Stakes.
On leaving school, I joined Barry Hills as a lad; this was a good grounding for me. He was ideal to work for, as he was disciplined and had a no-nonsense approach to horses and staff. He was the sort of person you wanted to work hard for and he instilled in me the message that your job is what you make of it.
After a year with Barry Hills, I went to work for Robert Armstrong in Newmarket. Compared to Lambourn, it was a huge difference to be working at this large training centre but it was a great learning curve.
The love of the Lambourn Downs took me back to Henry Candy’s stables a year later. I worked as his assistant for three years. Whilst I was there, Henry trained one of the great racemares of the twentieth century in Time Charter. It was hugely exciting, as I watched her grow up from a yearling to become a Classic winner.
I learned a huge amount in these three years which gave me the prefect grounding to start training on my own. My friend Colin Brown said to me that his cousin Tom Marshall was ready to pack in training but if I was interested, he would leave me some horses, so I really couldn’t say no.
I got my licence in November 1983 but had my first runners in 1984. I remember my first year very well, as I had great success with Portogon and Mystery Ship, who won the Sweet Solera Stakes at Newmarket, which was a big advert for me. I have trained in and around the Lambourn area ever since and have trained over 400 winners.
I am now based at Saxon House stables in Upper Lambourn.