Sunday, 24 December 2017

Henry Candy: Needs Must

Henry Candy, 73, has been training at Kingston Warren, Wantage, Oxfordshire since 1974, but previously spent a year as working pupil with Tommy Smith in Sydney, a year as pupil assistant to Mick Bartholomew in Chantilly and seven years as assistant trainer to his father, Derrick.

In the early years of his career, Candy trained predominantly for owner breeders and achieved most of his success with middle-distance horses. Master Willie failed by three-quarters of a length to overhaul Henbit in the Derby in 1980, but returned to Epsom to win the Coronation Cup the following season, along with the Eclipse Stakes at Sandown. Described by Candy as “the best horse I have trained”, Time Charter won the Oaks at Epsom and the Dubai Champion Stakes at Newmarket in 1982, the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes at Ascot in 1983 an the Coronation Cup at Epsom in 1984. According to Timeform, she was ranked fourth in the list of post-war Oaks winners, behind Petite Etoile, Noblesse and Dunfermlime, with rating of 131.

However, later in his career, simple economics forced Candy to reinvent himself as a trainer of sprinters but, as he once said, “I thoroughly enjoy going to the sales trying to pick up things which no one else wants.” His first sprinter of note was Eveningperformance, who won seven races for the yard, including the Flying Five at Leopardstown, between 1994 and 1997. The Night Shift filly also finished third, beaten 2¾ lengths, in the Prix de l’Abbaye de Longchamp in 1995 and second, beaten a head, in the Nunthorpe Stakes at York in 1996.

In 2002, Candy won the Nunthorpe Stakes at York with Kyllachy and the Cheveley Park Stakes at Newmarket with Airwave, whom he had acquired for just £12,000. Another bargain buy was Amour Propre, who cost just £1,500, but won five of his 17 starts, including three Group races, and earned just over £139,000 in total prize money between 2008 and 2011.

In 2010, Candy saddled Markab to win the Betfred Sprint Cup at Haydock and, more recently, Twilight Son to win the same race in 2015. In 2016, he trained two more Group 1 winners, Twilight Son in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot and Limato in the Prix de la Foret at Chantilly, earning over £1 million in prize money for the first time. Not bad for a man who once said, “If I had a horse worth £75,000 it would be gold. I wouldn’t dare take it on the gallops. But I’m quite happy messing around.” 

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