Wednesday, 16 January 2019

Dr. Richard Newland: Training Just for Fun

Dr Richard Newland
In the case of Dr. Richard Newland, “Doctor” isn’t an honorary title. Dr. Newland studied medicine at Cambridge University and, until 2013, was a full-time General Practitioner, working for the National Health Service in Sutton Coldfield. He remains the chief executive of a private healthcare company in the town but, for over a decade now, has been leading a double life befitting a comic book superhero.

Racing, Dr. Newland says, “is just for fun” and, despite spectacular success over the years, has vehemently resisted becoming a full-time trainer to avoid too much stress. Dr. Newland became a permit holder in 2006 and took out a full training licence in 2007. In his first season, he saddled Overstrand to win the William Hill Handicap Hurdle at Sandown and the Betfair Handicap Hurdle at Ascot, collectively worth nearly £79,000, as well as his first winner at the Cheltenham Festival, Burntoakboy, in the Coral Cup in 2007. Dr. Newland later recalled, “Overstrand and Burntoakboy’s successes did come as a shock but made me realise I must have been doing something right.” Interestingly, Dr. Newland is an exponent of what he calls “free range” training or, in other words, allowing his horses to walk around the fields for at least eight hours a day.

Dr. Newland is based at Linacres Farm, Claines, near Worcester and has just 12 horses in training at any one time. He has a theory that once a horse has performed well, it has proved that it is, genetically, capable of doing so and should, under the right circumstances, be capable of doing so again. The theory has served him well, because he has built a reputation for finding cheaper, out of form horses and bringing them back to form.

Perhaps none more so than Pineau De Re, who he acquired from Philip Fenton as a 10-year-old in June, 2013 and saddled to win the Grand National less than a year later. Pineau De Re had fallen on his previous attempt over the National Fences in the Becher Chase the preceding December but, on his two starts immediately before Aintree, hacked up in a veterans’ chase at Exeter and finished strongly to be third, beaten a nose and a neck, in the Pertemps Network Final at the Cheltenham Festival.

Dr. Newland admitted to being “quite excited” about his first National runner and he wasn’t to be disappointed; ridden by Leighton Aspell, Pineau De Re led at the second last fence and drew clear on the run-in to beat Balthazar King by 5 lengths at odds of 25/1.

Wednesday, 12 December 2018

Charlie Mann

Charlie Mann
Born in Dumfries in 1958, Charlie Mann was a highly competent National Hunt jockey, riding 149 winners, mainly for Jenny Pitman Nicky Henderson, in a 15-year career, before forcibly retired through injury. He later admitted, “I never wanted to train horses and after breaking my neck in 1989, I tried various other things and discovered fairly quickly I was not qualified for any of them. For three or four years I tried to scratch a living via a trading company.”

Man subsequently spent a year as assistant trainer to Cath Walwyn, widow of the legendary Fulke Walwyn, before taking out a training licence in his own right in August 1993. Mann famously trained, and rode, It’s a Snip, the winner of the Velka Pardubicka – the famous cross-country steeplechase – at Pardubice in the Czech Republic in October 1995. Less than a week later, he saddled his first high-profile winner on home soil, General Rusty, ridden by Richard Dunwoody in the Charisma Gold Cup at Kempton.

In 1998, Mann bought Whitcoombe Stables, situated at the foot of the Mandown Gallops in Upper Lambourn, near Hungerford, Berkshire. The following year, he saddled his first Grade 1 winner, Celibate, in the BMW Chase at Punchestown.

In 2000/01, Mann enjoyed success in several major televised races, including victories for Moral Support in the Tote John Hughes Chase at Chepstow and Regal Holly in the William Hill Handicap Hurdle at Ascot, to name but two. In the season as a whole, he saddled 43 winners, making it his second most successful ever, numerically.

His best seasonal tally, numerically, came in 2008/09, the year in which he saddled his second Grade 1 winner, Air Force One, in the Ellier Developments Champion Novice Chase at Punchestown. Other highlights included a notable double for Katies Tuitor in the totescoop6 Summer Hurdle Handicap and 32Red Online Casino Handicap Hurdle, both at Market Rasen, and the victory of Gauvain in the Kilbrittain Castle Novices’ Chase at Sandown. All in all, that season Mann saddled 63 winners and earned just under £641,000 in total prize money.

In 2012, after 14 years at Whitcoombe House Stables, Mann sold the establishment to fellow trainer Jonathan Portman and relocated to a new, purpose-built yard at Neardown Stables, less than a mile away across Upper Lambourn. At that point, he pruned the deadwood from his string and although he has found winners harder to come by in recent years his career total still stands at over 800.

Exclusive: For an affordable opportunity to spend a day with Charlie Mann, including a Question & Answer Session and time on the gallops where a training session will be taking place follow the appropriate link below:

Charlie Mann Trainer Experience for One


Charlie Mann Trainer Experience For Two

Monday, 12 November 2018

Harry Whittington: How do you Like Them Apples?

Harry Whittington
Harry Whittington is based at Hill Barn Stables in Sparsholt Firs, near Wantage, Oxfordshire, where he has held a training licence since 2010. However, Whittington cut his teeth under experienced breeze-up consigner Malcolm Bastard before setting up his own pre-training business at Hill Barn Stables, which he subsequently operated as a satellite yard for Upper Lambourn trainer Nicky Henderson.

Whittington officially saddled his first winner, Mount Benger, in a hunters’ chase at Huntingdon in February, 2011, but his training career began in earnest in September, 2012, when he launched Harry Whittington Racing with just five horses. In the 2012/13 season, he saddled just 15 runners, but recorded three winners, the undisputed highlight of which was the debutant Dubai Kiss, who belied his 50/1 starting price to easily win a National Hunt Flat Race at Newbury in February.

Whittington saddled his first Grade 1 winner, Arzal, in the Merseyrail Manifesto Novices’ Chase at Aintree – a race in which Sizing John, the winner of the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 2017, could finish only third, beaten 24 lengths – in April, 2016. In fact, the 2015/16 season was the best, so far, in his short career, with 21 winners and £215,762 in total prize money. By contrast, the yard spent much of the 2016/17 in the doldrums, with just 13 winners from 118 runners, at a strike rate of just 11%, and just £105, 152 in total prize money.
Of course, any trainer is only ever as good as the horses in his charge and, in 2017/18, Whittington has bounced back and is well on the way to having his best season ever, numerically and monetarily. At the time of writing, on the eve of the Cheltenham Festival in March, 2018, he has already saddled 25 winners – that is, two more than ever before – and earned £189,890 in total prize money.

Vinnie Lewis, who was raised 14lb in the weights for winning by 14 lengths, eased down, on his previous start at Sedgefield, won the Sussex National at Plumpton in January. However, his stable star is, undoubtedly, Saint Calvados, whom he acquired from Venetia Williams on Boxing Day, 2017. The progressive 5-year-old is 3-3 over fences and, not for the first time, jumped like an old hand when strolling clear for an impressive 22-length victory in the Kingmaker Novices’ Chase at Warwick on his most recent start in February. Saint Calvados is due to run in the Arkle Challenge Trophy, for which he is 3/1 second favourite, at the Cheltenham Festival this very afternoon.