Tuesday, 14 June 2022

John Quinn


Originally from Tipperary, John Quinn was a successful National Hunt jockey – albeit, by his own admission, 'a journeyman' – with nearly 200 winners to his name before turning his hand to training in 1994. Starting out with just two horses at his base in Settrington, North Yorkshire, his initial progress was slow. In his first three seasons, he saddled two, one and five winners, respectively, but steadily increased his winning tally thereafter.

He won his first Listed race on the Flat, the National Stakes at Sandown, with Taras Girl in 2000, but had to wait another six seasons before he won his next big race, the Lincoln, which was run that year at Redcar, with Blythe Knight in 2006. Crow Wood won the Grade 2 Elite Hurdle at Wincanton for the yard in November that year and a steady stream of high-profile winners followed.

Blythe Knight proved admirably versatile, winning the Top Novices' Hurdle at Aintree in early 2007, in the days when it was still a Grade 2 contest, and the Group 3 Diomed Stakes at Epsom that season and the next, to provide Quinn with his first Pattern race winners on the Flat. Other notable National Hunt winners included Character Building in the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup at the Cheltenham Festival in 2009 and his first Grade 1 winner, Countrywide Flame, in the Triumph Hurdle in 2012.

On the Flat, Quinn saddled the first of his seven Group 2 winners, Red Duke, in the Superlative Stakes at Newmarket in 2011 and his one and only Group 1 winner, The Wow Signal, in the Prix Morny at Deauville in 2014.

Thursday, 5 May 2022

Ralph Beckett

Formerly assistant trainer to the late Peter Walwyn for three and a half years, Ralph Beckett took over the training licence at Windsor House Stables in Lambourn when Walwyn retired in 1999. In his first half a dozen full seasons, Beckett saddled just over a hundred winners, including his first Pattern race winner, Penkenna Princess, in the Group 3 Fred Darling Stakes at Newbury in April, 2005. A month later, he was narrowly denied his first Group 1 victory when the same horse was beaten a short-head by Saoire in the Irish 1,000 Guineas.

In 2006, Beckett succeeded David Elsworth at Whitsbury Manor Stables, near Fordingbridge, Hampshire. In the next five seasons, he saddled over 240 more winners, including his first British Classic winner, Look Here, in the Oaks in 2008. In 2010, Beckett purchased his currrent base, Kimpton Down Stables in nearby Andover, and completed his move in time for the start of the 2011 season. Since then, he has saddled two more British Classic winners, Talent in the Oaks in 2013 and Simple Verse in the St. Leger in 2015; the latter also won the British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes at Ascot the following month to give Beckett the fourth Group 1 victory of his career.

Beckett took his career tally to 1,000 winners when the 6-year-old Another Boy won an apprentice handicap at Salisbury in August, 2019. In 2020, he enjoyed his most successful season so far, numerically, passing the landmark of a hundred winners on British soil for just the second time.