Tuesday, 15 December 2020

Keith Dalgleish: Master of Belstane


Nowadays, Keith Dalgleish is best known as the Master of Belstane Racing Stables, a 140-box training facility, owned privately by businessman Gordon McDowell, in Carluke, South Lanarkshire. However, in his younger days, Dalgleish was a highly accomplished horseman. In fact, at the end of his career, he was stable jockey to Middleham trainer Mark Johnston and, in just five full seasons in the saddle, he rode 270 winners. His most successful season, numerically, came in 2002, when he partnered 72 winners, including Helm Bank in the Chesham Stakes at Royal Ascot and Legal Approach in the Arc Trial – now the Legacy Cup – at Newbury, among other high-profile successes.


However, two years later, in 2004, Dalgleish was forced to abandon his riding career after constantly struggling to pare his six-foot frame down to his minimum weight of 8st 6lb. Indeed, Dalgleish said later that he was able to ride at 7st 3lb at the start of his career, but just two weeks after retirement he weighed 10st 7lb. In any event, Dalgleish took out a training licence and joined Belstane Racing Stables – which would soon transform into Keith Dalgleish Racing, at the behest of McDowell – in 2011.



Fast forward half a dozen years or so and, in 2018, Dalgleish enjoyed his most lucrative season on the Flat, with 73 winners from 735 runners, at a strike rate of 10% but, more importantly, £849,118 in win and place prize money. In the 2018/19 National Hunt season, which runs April to April, it was a similar story, with 28 winners from 150 runners, at a strike rate of 19%, and £222,374 in total prize money; in fact, it was the most successful season, numerically and financially, that Dalgleish has ever recorded in the National Hunt sphere.



Dalgleish has yet to win a Pattern race, of any description, but has recorded several notable victories at Listed level in his relatively short training career. The first of them came courtesy of Chookie Royal in the Lady Wulfruna Stakes at Wolverhampton in 2014 but, more recently, Dalgleish collected his single biggest prize ever when Summer Daydream won the Two Year Old Trophy at Redcar, worth £99,242.50 to the winner, in 2018.

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