2004-2012 NEWS ARCHIVE








Three wins in 15 days

Post created: 05/09/2012

Three wins for Fordy in 15 days with Cheery Cat winning for the first time since 2010 for The Cataractonium Racing Syndicate in the 5 furlong Apprentice Training Series Handicap at Bath. Jack Duern took her into 2nd about midway and led for the last 40 yds to win by by a half length.










You wait and wait . . . and then along come two

Post created: 31/08/2012

After our first jump win of the season last week, the sun came out and, with better going, Colditz was back to winning form. Ridden again by Richard Johnson and trained by Richard Ford, Richard Hewitt’s Colditz won the Chase over 2 miles 4 at Bangor. This time he made all to win by 1 3/4 lengths, beating Molinero (IRE) into second and AP McCoy on the favourite into third place.

This was a fourth win for Colditz from a dozen runs since joining Fordy a year ago.










First jumping winner from Garstang

Post created: 21/08/2012

Yesterday was a red letter day when Silver Steel was a game winner of a 2 mile Handicap Chase on heavy ground at Perth. In doing so he provided us with the first jumping success from The Paddocks, Garstang, yard after many near misses. It was the seventh success of the year for Fordy but the first jumping win since moving up to Lancashire permanently in May. The weather has certainly not helped our cause since then as a majority of our horses prefer a sound surface.

Despite the 456 mile round trip up to Scotland, we almost put both horses back on the wagon and came straight home after the ground had changed from "good to soft, soft in places" when we set off at 7.00 am to "heavy" by the time we had arrived. Both Silver Steel and Colditz prefer much better ground although we got away with it in the case of Silver Steel. He wants good ground but when we looked at the form of the others on testing going it was worse than his, so we decided to let him take his chance. Lucy Alexander gave him a smooth ride, sneaking through on Richard Johnson’s inside on the final bend and just holding the lead to the finish.

For the record Colditz was all at sea (if you will forgive the pun) on the rain sodden ground. We are sure there will be another day for him if it ever stops raining!










Open Day a big success

Post created: 22/07/2012

Our first ever Open Day at Garstang saw a large crowd attend on what was one of the warmest days of the year. More than 60 people were treated to a tour of the yard and our excellent facilities as well as a parade of 20 horses. They were also able to go onto the wood fibre gallop and watch three horses - Chambers, Meydan Style and Insolenceofoffice put through their paces.

There was food and drink a plenty, and the event continued long into the afternoon thanks in part to the excellent weather.

Special thanks go to our owners Bob Hall, who laid on an excellent buffet; Leslie Buckley, who provided and served (with her usual charm) all the liquid refreshments; and Paula Smith (must give the superb Lingmoor Guest House in Windermere a plug!) for all her hard work behind the scenes. Thanks also go to our hard working staff and jockeys Harry Challoner and Tom Greenwood for giving up their valuable time to ride work.

We hope to make this an annual event but if anyone couldn't make it but would like to have a look at our facilities and meet the team then please give us a call and we can arrange a suitable day and time for you to visit us and see what we have to offer.










Open Day at Garstang on Sunday 22nd July

Post created: 22/07/2012

A date for the diary of all racing enthusiasts, please note, is now changed to Sunday 22nd July. This is the date of the first ever OPEN DAY at Lancashire Racing Stables, Fordy's new base near Garstang, up the M6.

It is open to anyone with an interest in 'The Sport Of Kings' who would like to know more about racehorse ownership. Here at Lancashire Racing Stables we offer a comprehensive syndication service for those people who want to put a toe in the water but who do not have a lot to spend on their hobby.

LRS specialise in Racing Partnerships which allow up to 20 people to own a horse and share the costs. FOR A FIXED PRICE OF £95 PER MONTH YOU CAN BECOME AN OWNER WITH US. For little over £20 per week you can come up to see your horse as often as you like. You will receive your share of any prize money won and have the opportunity to join the team and jockey at the races, in the parade ring and winners' enclosure.

The day will consist of a chance to see horses working on the gallops and a tour of the excellent facilities here at LRS. The recently completed new barn brings the capacity at The Paddocks up to 40 horses. There will also be chance to meet a number of racing personalities and a parade of horses. These are exciting times for Lancashire's newest, biggest and best racing yard so don't miss out on this unique opportunity.











Fourth win for Ministerofinterior since Christmas

Post created: 08/05/2012

This fourth win for Ministerofinterior over two miles, this one on the flat again, at Catterick was the fourth since December handled by Fordy, having had just 4 in the previous 4 years. He led over 2f out and held on well in closing stages to beat the favourite by ¾ length [starting at 9/2].

It was also a fourth win for Graham Lee on the flat, the first for Fordy. Graham took a bad fall in February, damaging his hip, and lost a stone which prompted him to switch codes, coming back just two weeks ago. Fordy has always liked working with Graham, seen here at Wetherby before a chase, and so it will not be the last time you see Graham riding for him on the flat.










Chance to buy a share of our winner yesterday - Garstang

Post created: 04/05/2012

A limited number of 5% shares are for sale at only £500 eachin GARSTANG, a winner of 3 of his 5 races this year (beaten a short head in another race) including at Musselburgh yesterday despite the fact that he didn’t like the ground & the race was not run to suit!!

GARSTANG has now won 14 races and incredibly his turf handicap mark is only 56 compared with 79 on the All Weather.

Trainer Richard Ford, who this weekend moves from his Butterton (Staffordshire) yard up to Lancashire Racing Stables in Garstang full time, has so far enjoyed 5 winners this year from a limited number of runners.


In addition to buying the share you will be asked to pay £95 per month from May onwards towards Garstang’s training fees, racing expenses & the administration costs of the syndicate.










ATR ride of the month

Post created: 03/05/2012

Following last week's selection for ride of the week, Freddie Tylicki is now shortlisted for ATR's ride of the month. The nominees are:

Ride A) Amy Ryan (Shifting Gold), Southwell, 3rd April
Ride B) Andrew Thornton (Lion Na Bearnai), Fairyhouse, 9th April
Ride C) Kieren Fallon (Global Village), Leicester, 13th, April
Ride D) Freddie Tylicki (Ministerofinterior), Bath, 20th April
Ride E) Tom Cannon (Inthejungle), Plumpton, 27th April

Get your vote in on www.attheraces.com to win £100.










Long trip to Musselburgh rewarded by another win for Garstang

Post created: 03/05/2012

Homebred Garstang, owned by The Foulrice Twenty, took his third win of 2012 over 7f in the Scottish Racing Handicap at Musselburgh. Towards rear, he made headway over 2f out, was ridden to chase the leader over 1f out, soon edged right, was driven and stayed on to lead well, inside final furlong (op 5-2 tchd 11-4).










ATR ride of the week

Post created: 23/04/2012

Freddie Tylicki's win from the back on Fordy's Ministerofinterior [owned by D E Simpson & R Farrington-Kirkham] at Bath on 20th April [see below] is listed by ATR for ride of the week. Get your vote in today to win the prize.










Flat win for Ministerofinterior

Post created: 20/04/2012

After winning over hurdles last month, Ministerofinterior won at Bath on the flat. Owned by D E Simpson & R Farrington-Kirkham, ridden by Frederik Tylicki and starting 13/8 favourite, he dropped to the last trio over 4f out, made headway over 3f out and was ridden when switched right over to pass the leaders wide. He led in the final 120yds and stayed on strongly but certainly needed all of the 2m 1f to win quite snugly in the end by 2 lengths.










Visited by writing team from Czechoslovakia.

Post created: 16/04/2012

They had been over all week for Aintree and came to the yard as they thought it was quite unique to have the gallop so close to the motorway.

They took pictures of Alaghiraar and Ministerofinterior cantering on the gallop, although they spent most of the time spooking at the cameras! They also took pictures of Silver Steel rolling in the sand pit. Apparently the pictures are for a book but we have no further information yet. We await publication!










Ministerofinterior wins at Huntingdon in fine style

Post created: 04/03/2012

Harry Challoner rode D E Simpson & R Farrington-Kirkham's Ministerofinterior, starting at 12/1, to win the 2mile 5½f, Class 4 hurdle in testing/blizzard conditions at Huntingdon. Held up until 3 out, shown passing McCoy on Saint Luke, he was soon clear and ridden out to win by 3 3/4 lengths. "Three really good runs since joining Richard Ford . . . " said Racing UK.

This result maintains a rate of 55% of our runners in the prizes over the last two weeks.










A good day at Kempton with the new horses

Post created: 23/02/2012

A win for Garstang, second for Meydan Style and a fourth place for Cheery Cat, all with Neil Chalmers in the saddle, made for a good day at Kempton with four of the new horses from our Garstang stable. The wood chip circular gallop is shown here.

Please give me a call, on 07976 522 768 any time, if you are interested in seeing our additional yard, up the M6 in Lancashire.










A new challenge lies ahead!

Post created: 01/02/2012

From 1 February I will be training from two bases - the one here at Butterton and also from Lancashire Racing Stables near Garstang. Some old friends - Paul Clarkson and Stella Barclay - set up a new training yard at their home 18 months ago and their current trainer Bruce Hellier has now decided to retire after a lifetime in the sport.

In the current economic climate this is just too good an opportunity to miss! LRS currently have 25 horses in training and this number will increase to 37 when a new barn is completed towards the end of February. As you know, here at Butterton I usually have between 12 & 14 horses in full work at any one time with space for up to 16.

The main gallop at LRS is a five furlong circular one (wood fibre), whilst here at Butterton we have a one-way five furlong polytrack gallop, climbing steeply for the last two. Some horses here may benefit from working on a continuous circuit whilst some of the LRS horses will respond positively for training on a different surface and a change of environment. I am sure that the horses at both yards can only benefit from the flexibility that this new arrangement will bring.

If anyone would like to have a chat with me about this exciting new development then you are very welcome to give me a call at any time.










Latest on Chabrimal Minster

Post created: 13/01/2012

Tina Shakespeare is now hunting Chabrimal Minster with the Albrighton. He is enjoying his retirement.

She says "Here's a photo and I shall put more on as we go along. Hope to take him again wed but need some brakes; going to use a gag! He's a fantastic horse and so well behaved; I love him many thanks."










Ministerofinterior wins first race for Fordy

Post created: 28/12/2011

Ministerofinterior, owned by D E Simpson & R Farrington-Kirkham, won a 2 1/2 mile handicap hurdle at Leicester on his first run for the stable. Carrying top weight and starting at 15/2, this six year old was ridden by Harry Challoner and held up until the 6th. He made headway and led 2 out, with 8/15 favourite Belle De Fontenay (FR), but stayed on well to win comfortably by 9 lengths.










Seamster wins at Southwell

Post created: 16/12/2011

Dave Watson and David Sibson's Seamster was riden by Frederik Tylicki, German born 2009 British Champion Apprentice, to make all in the Classified Stakes over 7 furlongs at Southwell. He was ridden clear well over a furlong out and kept on to win by 2 lengths from Twennyshortkid. He opened at 7-2 and touched 11-4 but went off third favourite. This is the four year old gelding's second win and fourth time in the frame from 11 runs










Refurbishment of the gallop

Post created: 31/10/2011

We have just completed a comprehensive refurbishment of the gallop. We have mixed additional materials in with the existing Polytrack to create a lighter surface. It is now riding better than ever and provides increased challenge on the hill, shown by an increase in average second quarter mile times of some 1.6 seconds.










Triumph for Three Richards at Uttoxeter

Post created: 02/10/2011

Richard Hewitt’s Colditz, ridden by Richard Johnson and trained, of course, by Richard Ford, won the Digibet.com Chase over 2 miles 5 at Uttoxeter. Second favourite Runshan made all the going over the first circuit so that there were only five in with a chance by the final circuit but Richard Johnson had Colditz nicely placed throughout and by the time the three market leaders went into the finishing straight they were in the air together over the third last. Colditz took the lead over the second last and won convincingly by 6 lengths, having started 6/4 favourite.
That makes three wins and six times in the frame out of eight runs since joining Fordy in August of last year.










Win for Colditz at Cartmel's popular August Bank Holiday Meeting

Post created: 27/08/2011

Colditz was hard driven by champion jockey A P McCoy, 150 yards out, to go into the lead and win in exciting finish from Guns And Butter in the 2 mile 5½ handicap chase, justifying favouritism at 6/4. This was R J Hewitt's horse's fourth win after winning on the flat, over hurdles and then last year in a chase, also at Cartmel. Jason Maguire was taken to hospital in an air ambulance following a fall from Cathy Hamilton-trained Keyneema in the same race.

Fordy is top trainer over fences at Cartmel with a win rate over the last five years now at 43%. With a rate of 27% over all races you would be £330 up if you had put a tenner on each of his runners at Cartmel.

Success on this unique and tricky circuit further demonstrates how Richard's experience, knowledge and understanding get the best out of his resources.










You can name this fine 3-year old gelding

Post created: 02/08/2011

At Doncaster Sales we were able to buy the full brother to 5 year old Tropical Bachelor (IRE) who is already in the yard and has had two flat wins last year. We plan to race this exciting prospect by Bachelor Duke (USA) (8.2f) out of Tropical Coral (IRE) next year and shares are available.

As he is at present unraced and unnamed he could run in your colours and WITH YOUR CHOICE OF NAME. For more information call Fordy on 07976 522 768.










Hunter needs rider

Post created: 01/08/2011

I am looking for someone to hunt Chabrimal Minster. This wonderful servant is now 14 and retired on a hat-trick, winning the Cartmel Grand Veterans' Handicap Chase over 3 miles 6f for the third consecutive year, with with Graham Lee in the saddle. He is still sound and whilst he has not been hunting yet, he jumps anything and likes the mud. He will make a fine hunter for the right person and I cannot just let him stand in a field.

Over seven seasons he had 9 wins, 4 seconds and 2 thirds from 28 runs. To talk about the possibilities call me on 07976 522 768.

[Photo John Grossick]









Another one in the frame

Post created: 26/07/2011

We have had a few runners in July on the flat and jumping. They have all been in the prizes but no winners.

Here is John Stimpson's A Bit Of Fun [on the left in orange silks] ridden by Timmy Murphy into a lead over the last only to be headed on the run-in by Soprano for second place in the 3 mile handicap hurdle at Perth.










Enjoying a massage

Post created: 25/07/2011

Silver Steel has come in from a well deserved holiday in preparation for his autumn campaign. After a work session of walking, three runs up the gallops, a washdown and more walking he gets to the bit he enjoys most - his massage and lunch!










So close but no fizz!!!

Post created: 11/06/2011

Inspirina bravely ran yet another corker in the Queen Mother's Cup at York making all only to be caught in the very last stride. Pernilla Hermansson (who won last years Ladies' Derby on him) managed to partially slip her followers by kicking on early and held on to the advantage to within inches of the winning post.

Tradition for this race is that the winning lady rider receives her weight in Pol Roger Champagne so the resulting photo-finish deprived us of some serious hangovers!

[Photo - Michael Smithson]









Wetherby win for Standing Order

Post created: 26/05/2011

In the "Racing UK On Sky Channel 432 Handicap Hurdle" over 2 miles½f at Wetherby’s evening meeting, Mrs Barclay’s Standing Order began in the rear but Graham Lee started making headway after the fifth to go into 3rd approaching 3 out and then 2nd after 2 out. Leading at the last, they pushed clear to win comfortably by 6 lengths from Lisbon Lion.










Sharp and Chic - some shares available

Post created: 06/04/2011

4-y-o bay filly by Needwood Blade (7.6f) out of Moreover (IRE)(Caerleon (USA) (10.7f)). Call Fordy for more information on 07976 522 768 any time, any day.










Sharp and Chic

Post created: 06/04/2011

4-y-o bay filly by Needwood Blade (7.6f) out of Moreover (IRE)(Caerleon (USA) (10.7f)). Seen here working well on the gallops today [right] in preparation this years campaign after an introduction with three runs on the flat last autumn.










Hawaiian Freeze

Post created: 05/04/2011

This years batch of 2 year olds includes this bay filly by Avonbridge owned by John Stimpson. She has now been named Hawaiian Freeze in preparation for her first runs.











Post created: 05/04/2011

Another 2 year old bay filly this one by Auction House (USA)and owned by JTS (International) Ltd and now named Flumps, does some work in the starting gates as the weather starts feeling like spring at last.










Zed Candy wins Scoop Six race on Channel 4

Post created: 19/03/2011

Zed Candy owned by J T S (International) Ltd scored a convincing win in the Class 3 “Win A Fortune With Totepool Handicap Hurdle” at Newcastle. He showed his versatility stepping up to 3 miles after a 14 furlong win on the all-weather in January. He took a keen hold but was kept in touch by Harry Challoner to make steady progress then take the lead 3 out, drawing clear from next. Starting at 11/1 he beat Crop Walker (IRE) into 2nd at 6 lengths and the favourite Night In Milan (IRE) into 5th at 15 lengths.

The Scoop 6 was not won today and carried over.










Our first runner at Ffos Llas

Post created: 07/03/2011

We had our first runner at the new Ffos Llas track last week and very impressed we were too. Everything about its layout from track to facilities, weighing room and stableyard showed the level of thought, planning and substantial money that had been invested into the projects development from a former coalmine. I have no doubt that once the racing surface and root structure has had time to mature, (I was once told that a grass gallop surface is like an iceberg, in that it’s the 90% that is out of sight that is of greater importance) you could stage any high class race at this venue - and that’s not a comment I've made often. Travelling is the one and only downside, our other horsebox left at the same time and arrived quarter of an hour earlier at Newton Abbott!

6BOX who specialize in corporate hospitality invited me to be on the panel at their recent Cheltenham Forum, not being a regular to these events it was with some trepidation at what I had let myself in for. However, helped by some knowledgeable racing enthusiasts, the evening was quite enjoyable. 6BOX do have limited tickets left for both Cheltenham and Uttoxeter's Midlands National meeting, contact Nick on 07977576289.

Finally I would like to wish Phil Kinsella a speedy recovery from yet another serious injury, and a safe voyage for both human and equine competitors at the festival.










Some thoughts on the new Horsemen's Group prize money tariff

Post created: 31/01/2011

The introduction of the new Horsemen’s prize money tariff is going to make interesting monitoring. While totally agreeing with the with the Horsemen’s Group stance, its implementation is going to be difficult for various reasons. With the weather continuing to dictate running plans many owners will be relieved to just get a run at present, especially northern based owners/trainers who have lost over 75% of their recent fixture list. With some tracks staging events close to the minimum values it will be difficult for many to decide whether to run for a few hundred pounds less or boycott the race which might leave no suitable options to compete elsewhere, a situation ccreated by British Horseracing’s myopic race planning.

An example of this is a race at Southwell next week that is £312 below the tariff's guide with around £150 less to the winning owner. If my owner decides to boycott the race, the next suitable race for the course/distance winning animal is three weeks away and even then that race could be below the tariff's guidelines.

Owners stake (entry) money also needs close examination; this has crept up over the last couple of years and a further increase would be an easy way for Racecourses to bridge the gap on some minimum values, effectively leaving owners paying for these minimum values to be met! To be fair, the courses that are regularly below the suggested minimum payments tend to be owned by two main parent companies, Arena and Northern, with many other tracks endeavouring to do everything they can in difficult financial times.

Musselburgh can only be applauded for putting on a £10k chase last week resulting in Silver Steel’s sporting connections travelling up to Scotland instead of running just down the road at Uttoxeter for a paltry £4400. The picture shows the stable staff canteen attached to the new stable block, part of the fine upgrading of the Musselburgh course that has taken place over the last few years.

Owners can only vote with their actions if given a suitable opportunity, but what is paramount is that all parties involved eventually pull in one general direction that is beneficial to British racing.

For more details of the tariff go to:

Press release

and Tarrif










Harry Challoner

Post created: 26/01/2011

Harry was able to ride Silver Steel for us at Musselbrough. However, whilst going well, County Colours fell under him and Harry had no chance. Silver Steel amazingly stayed upright and finished the course, jumping all the fences, but was listed as brought down, fell or unseated rider according to whether you read Turftrax, Racing Post or ATR.

[Photograph Michael Bishop]









New Year starts with a win on the all weather

Post created: 02/01/2011

After a two week spell without racing we were delighted to get back to business with a win on the all-weather at Southall. Pernilla Hermansson on JTS International's Zed Candy won the Bluesq.com On Your iPhone Amateur Riders' Handicap over 2 miles. Starting at 11/2 they beat the favourite Elite Land by a length and three quarters. Held up in rear they made headway 9f out, challenged over 3f out, led and kept on well from 2 out [pic left in grey with blue cap]. Mike Cattermole on ATR was surprised that there is a lady jockey that he did not know!










Donald McCain brought Overturn to Butterton to work on our Polytrack

Post created: 23/12/2010

I think everyone must now be totally incensed by a second harsh winter. Many of the limited daylight hours are being consumed by carting water, repairing burst water pipes and the continuing call of stranded motorists/tradesmen in the lane requiring liberation from both ditch and hedge. Staff have overcome daily challenges to get to and from Butterton, with the yard thermometer hitting a record low of minus 14.8°C.

Our Polytrack gallop surface, however, has again been exceptional considering the conditions, and we had a very welcome visitor today when Donald McCain brought his Galway hurdle winner, Overturn, here to work.

Belatedly Tony McCoy has received some recognition outside his sport, winning BBC Sports Personality of the year. "AP" is not only the most successful jump jockey ever but is also an outstanding ambassador for horseracing. When you consider that the majorly talented Steve Redgrave received a knighthood for dominating rowing for a similar timescale it shows how Tony’s efforts have been overlooked. If a footballer had totally dominated his sport for fifteen years he would probably have 30 times more career earnings, 90% less x-rays, and be anti-post favourite to be the next Pope! Well done to the BHA for its support including this AP replica, left [real AP right], at Bangor last week.

I hope you are pleased to see that I have at last entered the twenty-first century and now have this web site up and running – though there is some fine tuning still to do. Please tell me what you think about it. The Ford Flyer will appear here regularly, perhaps more often in future, on the news page.

If you let me have your e-mail address, we will let you know when there is new information added – we would have told you, for instance, on 23 December that this message was on line!

All of the team here at Butterton wish you the Season’s greetings and that, hopefully, normal daily racing can resume soon.










Sandpit for turning out horses

Post created: 01/09/2010

Another minor project completed has been the instalation of a permanent sandpit for turning out horses when ground conditions are not suitable. They just love a roll in the sand after work on the gallop or walker.










Win at Cartmel's Bank Holiday Meeting

Post created: 26/08/2010

On the opening day of the August Bank Holiday Meeting at Cartmel, Colditz, 7/2 favourite, ridden by Graham Lee, beat Peak Seasons in a tight finish to win the Coopers Ahead Of The Field Handicap Chase over two and a quarter miles. He was held up in touch but made a mistake at the 8th and was chasing leaders when hampered on the inside soon after last. Despite this, on the country's longest run-in, he led on inside over 2f out and just held on.

Cartmel which combines excellent racing with picnics and all the fun of the fair is a must for all race-goers - and also those who are not and don't know what they are missing.










Win at Epsom Downs in Ladies' Derby

Post created: 19/08/2010

Miss Pernilla Hermansson won the Ladies' Derby Handicap over over 12 furlongs at Epsom Downs, on Inspirina. He took a keen hold, chasing the leader until he led 8f out, making the rest. He was ridden out to draw clear 1f out and stayed on well to win by 4 lengths, making it his third win for the season.

[Photo Gavin James, GJMultimedia]









All-weather arena

Post created: 24/07/2010

We have been making good use of the all-weather arena for loose schooling over poles. This 50 x 100m space is floodlit.











Win over hurdles at Bangor

Post created: 20/07/2010

At Bangor-on-dee, Optimum, ridden by Graham Lee, started favourite at 7/2 in the Rose Hill Handicap Hurdle over two and a half miles. He was held up at first, made headway after 6th, led after 3 out and was eased down towards finish to beat Be Ashored by 3 lengths.










Another win at Chester for Inspirina

Post created: 26/06/2010

After their July 2009 success, Tony Hamilton on Inspirina returned to win at Chester’s Midsummer Meeting over 12 furlongs. They raced keenly to make all and win by over a length.

[Photo Stephen Davies]










Two wins on the turf in May

Post created: 31/05/2010

Ridden by Ted Durcan, Inspirina started as 11/8 favourite and made all, ridden over 1f out and kept on under pressure inside final furlong to win the Weatherbys Bloodstock Insurance Handicap at Brighton on 18 May.

Channel Crossing ridden by John Cavanagh beat Contradictive by over a length to win the Tigers Apprentice Handicap at Leicester on 31 May.











Northern Racing Club visit Butterton on route to the Midlands Grand National

Post created: 28/03/2010

Having yielded to the requests of others, Nell and I accepted an invitation from my landlord John Stimpson to attend the Cheltenham Festival on Gold Cup day. It is rare that I ever go racing without an active interest and owing to horsepower (or rather lack of) it was my first festival visit since my race-riding days. Nothing has changed, the electric atmosphere, the elite equine quality, the two hours spent in queues trying to enter and exit the car parks, the Irish gypsy woman robbing you for a lucky piece of dying plant, and of course the obligatory game of sardines with sixty thousand other people trying to keep dry! One of the few advantages of having a percentage of your trainer’s prize money taken by the National Trainers Federation is the natty little enamel badge you receive which thankfully achieved us some space out on the track. From this vantage point we enjoyed the quality racing and watched the Gold Cup and Foxhunters unfold into "Twist’s hour".

By chance, the Northern Racing Club had arranged a yard visit the next morning so suitable excuses were in place to decline the invitations of a long night in the Cotswolds, if any of you have been in Nigel’s company at his local, The Hollow Bottom, you will understand the difficulties in abstracting oneself from the establishment.

Highlight of my day though was Twist’s reaction to a regional BBC reporter who asked him if Imperial Commander’s stud fee would be increased now the gelding had won a Gold Cup!

As mentioned earlier, the Northern Racing Club paid their first visit to Butterton on route to the Midlands Grand National; enthusiastic as ever despite poor weather conditions they watched several horses gallop and then badgered the staff for betting advice which is a sure-fire way to the poor house. I had to smile as some guy was writing notes while listening to Smidge as she would struggle to tip a wheelbarrow never mind a horse.

Building work continues at the yard, and we are also currently working on improvements to the schooling grounds and loose school obstacles. Another project is the possible instalation of a permanent sandpit to turnout horses in wet ground conditions (there is a reason for the potteries being around Stoke) and hopefully ground conditions will now improve and finally show some spring-like conditions allowing the yard to run a full racing activity.










Heavy snow makes the gallop unusable

Post created: 10/03/2010

It is with great sadness I have to report the passing away of my father-in-law Roger Burgess. To say Roger was instrumental in the genesis of my training career would be an understatement because I would probably never have had the chance without him.

We became partners in Forge Bloodstock at Folly Farm for over twelve years; with him overseeing the operation grow from the small sapling of one point-to-pointer owned by himself! He had a wonderful way of infectious optimism, often bringing the best out of the people around him whatever the situation or circumstance; this led him to being a role model to many.

Ironically after all the efforts of Hilary, Carrie and the Folly Farm Summer Ball team over the years raising over £100,000 for Christies with their annual event at the yard, Roger succumbed to bowel cancer. It goes without saying I am greatly indebted to those of you that have been so supportive to Carrie through Rogers illness.

There are too many stories and recollections about Roger that I could bore you with but a typical situation was when I presented myself at Portman Square (base of the then ruling Jockey Club, before it metamorphosised into the current joke BHA!) for my initial trainers licence application. Having been escorted by him to London by train, he waited in the foyer for the outcome (not always a forgone conclusion; he had once had a permit trainers application for himself turned down). When I appeared all smiles and relieved, I was promptly told my suit was tired and barely serviceable for professional use and subsequent only marched into a relevant shop for a new purchase to be made. The suit I was wearing was one of his own!

Chaos still reigns on the metrological front with continuing abandonments and lack of fixtures due to frost, snow or water logging. For the first time this winter, we were completely stopped last week with heavy snow making the gallop unusable. Normality has to resume soon before myself and many others in the horseracing industry start wearing button-up the back white jackets complete with long-sleeves and laces at the end! Roger would tell me I would certainly make-up the lost ground in spring.











Weather relents but few race opportunities

Post created: 02/02/2010

At last the weather has relented enough to have a few runners, but while the facilities here at Butterton have allowed us to keep moving, frustratingly there has been precious few opportunities to run the majority of the horses that the staff have bravely kept going through a very challenging climate.

Needless to say, the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) race planning department have excelled themselves plugging the five week hole in the race program by producing five new fixtures. These feature two high-graded novice chases three days apart that attracted few entries and several 0-125 plus rated stayers handicap hurdles (the open handicap at Bangor is virtually identical to a grade 3 hurdle at Sandown the following day!). Not one single race, neither hurdle nor chase, has been rescheduled for the 0-95 rating which is the highest population of jumpers in training; confirmation that the BHA is totally dislocated from the real needs of the majority it governs, despite the fact that Chief Executive Nick Coward (ex Football Association) is on a salary reportedly twice that of the Prime Minister!

Having mentioned Bangor, a new hurdle track is being commissioned for the first time. This is on the inside of the ambulance track, which laps the inside of the racecourse and has previously been employed in a clockwise direction as a point-to-point circuit. My staff who have ridden around there in points report it “very tight and fast”. If it rides tight on moderate pointers, what’s it going to be like in the opposite direction on a festival entrant rated fifty plus pounds higher? Common sense surely indicates that the aforementioned un-catered 0-95 rated animals would give a safer indication to the new facility.

I was recently invited for an excellent supper by Peter and Julie Gordon who own Silver Steel, and one of the many subjects discussed was my still non-constructed website. Peter has kindly offered some ideas for the site, and if anyone else has some views or thoughts on the subject, they would be welcomed, as it must be common knowledge by now that I am thoroughly useless with anything involving modern technology unless it involves four legs or two wheels!










Temperatures down to -13° but all the horses have exercised daily on the Polytrack Gallop

Post created: 01/01/2010

I hope the first 'Flyer' of the new decade finds you all in good health after an agreeable festive season! Many thanks also to everyone who left presents for the staff. We joined the Camden Management Services Team in Warrington for a combined Christmas bash at Paula Warburton’s excellent restaurant, The White Apron (well worth a visit!) and despite setting what seemed a suicidal gallop at the bar, we eventually outstayed most of the Camden Team quite easily!! It was good to see everyone enjoying themselves, what with the worst cold spell for 30 winters and temperatures at the yard down to -13, you would question anyone who has a career in racing.

Yet everyday, without fail, the horses have all been exercised on the Polytrack Gallop (I don’t know how I ever managed without one!) and with all the horses maintaining 100% fitness, we are looking forward to a thaw that hopefully we can use to our advantage.

The frost covers employed by Kempton Racecourse at least saved the King George and I personally have never been more impressed by the winner’s performance, considering the slog Kauto Star had endured at Haydock previously. I just wish the ‘compare with Arkle’ brigade would silence and enjoy both animals’ achievements. The same frost covers provided some questionable ground at Cheltenham Racecourse. While only the bigger grounds can afford the costs involved in ‘fleecing-up’, it offers little assistance to the smaller owner; however my main reservation is a loose horse getting onto an un-sheeted section of track as the door is wide open for a televised tragedy.

Once again wishing you a Happy New Year and resumption in racing very soon!!











Newmarket and Doncaster sales November 2009

Post created: 01/12/2009

Once again; my apologies for the delay in getting your November invoices to you. Since the departure of Karen, it has taken a while to recover from the shock of having to drag myself into the 21st Century and use a computer and a calculator to run the stables, as opposed to my usual box of tools, brushes and a barrow of feed!

Thankfully the shock didn’t last too long and we are almost back up to date, just in time to allow Silver Steel and Inspirina well-earned winter breaks, after successfully carrying the yard flag since moving to Butterton.

We have acquired some new inmates from the Newmarket and Doncaster sales, and I am also delighted that Mrs Ann Lees-Jones has sent us her filly to go hurdling. The last horse I trained for Ann was called Celtic Who and he was the last ride and winner of my race-riding career. It’s the only horse in a thousand races I rode in, that I hit a tree with on the way to the start and he also gave me a swimming lesson one day in the quarry adjacent to Folly Farm. He was a lovely horse, but just took a little bit of knowing . . .

On another more formal note, my sincere thanks to those owners who have returned their Training Agreements; and for those who have yet to return a signed copy, I would be grateful if you could do so as soon as possible. The Training Agreements are a requirement of the BHA and are checked regularly by the visiting officer. Those who have received these Flyers on a monthly basis so far will know of how much I enjoy the red tape and bureaucracy associated with training racehorses!











We are to take charge of the entire facility here at Butterton

Post created: 31/10/2009

Firstly apologies for the delay in getting this months invoices out to you; unfortunately Karen took some extended time off due to personal reasons and has, after much deliberation, decided on a career change. Karen has been with me for 12 years and I would like to wish her well in her new chosen career. Deciding not to drive a car in the dark at both ends of the day to ride out in the snow, wind and the rain, for the thirteenth consecutive winter, proves Karen isn’t as daft as the rest of us! Good luck Karen!!

Also on the staff front, Pernilla Hermansson has re-joined us after a lengthy spell spent race riding in Sweden and France. I just hope the English winter climate is not too much of a shock to her!

More current news is our landlord John Stimpson, with whom we share the facilities here, is relinquishing his trainer’s license on the 30th November 2009. This fortuitously gives us the opportunity to take charge of the entire facility here at Butterton, which will incorporate the training of John’s horses. Another piece of good news for us is that his best staff are staying on to join us at Richard Ford Racing. We are all looking forward to the benefits of the Butterton Racing complex being run as a single entity, and will update you on the progress of this over the next few months.

While it is going to be an extremely busy time amalgamating the two current businesses we will, unfortunately, be quieter over the next couple of weeks in the way of runners. Without wanting to sound too repetitive, this is purely because of the failings of the BHA race planners. Saddlers Gait for example has only one suitable opportunity (if she doesn’t get balloted out) between now and Boxing Day. From Boxing Day to Jan 8th she has 11 different options!

Whilst I am on the subject of runners, a runner of another kind; long term owner and business partner Dave Watson ran the New York marathon recently despite the ravages of man flu! Dave completed the marathon and although unhappy with his time, he has already signed for next year’s event. If anybody sees Dave at the races, please don’t make the same mistake I did and mention the Yogi Bear that passed him after 19 miles.











BHA Training Agreements

Post created: 27/09/2009

Firstly I would like to apologise for the short newsletter, due to Cookie (Karen Hollingsworth, who has somehow organised me for the last 12 years!) being away for some hospital treatment. I am wishing her a speedy recovery, if only to come back and continue her sterling work!

Secondly, we have recently had the obligatory BHA (British Horseracing Authority) inspection. This, we passed with flying colours, with the exception that the mandatory Training Agreements are non-existent. The result of this is that the compulsory document should be found accompanying this letter and we would be grateful if you could return it to us ASAP. Needless to say, the BHA is becoming like most other governing bodies and soon it will be difficult to see the thoroughbred for the red tape!

Thirdly I would like to thank Harry Challoner [pic: jumping the water at Ludlow] for the last 6 years he has spent with us. Harry started working for me when he was still at school and joined us full time upon leaving school (commuting on an old tractor!). Earlier this year we had a long discussion while travelling back from the races. I suggested there was not a lot more that I could educate him with about race riding and to pursue his career he needed to attach himself to one of the larger profiled yards. We all wish Harry every success in his new role as amateur for Venetia Williams, although he will continue to ride and school for us at Butterton when time allows.

On the subject of time, my old car is going to be inflicted with more mileage by the October sales. They start at Ascot, then Doncaster, before finishing with 5 days at Newmarket. October is my favourite sales period and hopefully we can select more winners in forthcoming weeks . . . watch this space!









Weather in August more like winter

Post created: 01/09/2009

August turned out to be a frustrating month with weather conditions being more like winter and a programme book that is becoming increasingly more restricted to plan races from.

I know race planning and centralised handicapping tends to be a major bugbear of mine, but it is annoying when I have to phone owners and explain despite their horse being fit and well it would be unwise to run due to the lack of suitable races.

Silver Steel ran another fine race for 2nd at Cartmel [picture left], beaten under a length, for the fourth time this season, his ¾ length defeat arguably was the cause for being put up 2lb for his last run. The handicapper’s reaction is now to put him up another 5lb.

It reminds me of many years ago, when I was wondering what to do at the end of my race riding career, I saw an advert for junior jumps handicapper. I asked the late Sir Sanderson Temple for his advice, he agreed it was a good idea and wrote me a positive supporting letter for my application, I also asked Gerney Shepherd who at the time was head of jockey club licensing, and his response was positively the same. Armed with this support I approached Monica Dickenson, who sharply replied "don't be a silly boy, you have nowhere near the education and far too much common sense to be a handicapper!" Several years later when I took out a trainer’s license I finally understood what she meant.

Sadly for the first time in several seasons we lost a horse in competition. We send our sincere condolences to the connections of Layed Back Rocky. Phil Clacher experienced the extreme highs and lows of race horse ownership in his first year as an owner and Terry Wallace who bred him.

On a lighter note, with the weather formation and the programme book it has allowed the staff to take some well earned holidays.









Sir Alex Ferguson presentation at Chester

Post created: 10/07/2009

Sir Alex Ferguson made the presentation to Inspirina's connections after his win at Chester’s July meeting. Slowly into his stride and held up in mid-division, headway on outside, he led from just over 1 furlong out to win by 2 lengths.

[Photo Stephen Davies]








Our new base at Butterton Racing Stables

Post created: 21/06/2009

We would like to take this opportunity to welcome you back to the Ford flyer and want to apologize for its absence over recent months. The past month has been a busy time for both horses and staff, due to our move to a new base in North Staffordshire and the number of runners we have had.

Cartmel was a great success for us gaining three impressive wins, one of which was Chabrimal Minster winning the Veterans race for the third consecutive year; he was promptly retired in the winning enclosure. This horse has been a pleasure to train and has proved to be real value for money after purchasing him from a field as an unbroken 3 year old for £2500. Pop, as he is known to many, is now happily enjoying a well deserved rest in the paddock.

Also Classic Quart defied the handicapper almost too well when winning easily at Fontwell under a penalty, but the handicapper has since reacted aggressively to her and also to Lake Wakatipu by putting her up 8lbs after unseating two out when looking the likely winner at Aintree.

Relocating to Butterton Racing Stables has had a positive response all round, while the horses form speaks for itself, one of the marked differences is the improvement to the horses legs and joints, galloping on a six furlong poly track we have noticed the benefits of a modern surface.

Although Butterton is still in development, those of you that have been to the premises will appreciate its potential. We would like to invite anyone, who has not yet been, to come and visit.










Chabrimal Minster hat-trick

Post created: 27/05/2009

Chabrimal Minster, in Dave Watson's colours, retires with a hat-trick, winning the Cartmel Grand Veterans' Handicap Chase over 3 miles 6f in three consecutive years, this time with with Graham Lee in the saddle. Over seven seasons Chabrimal Minster had 9 wins, 4 seconds and 2 thirds from 28 runs winning £62,240 for his owners.

[Photo John Grossick]








Flat win at Chester’s July meeting

Post created: 12/07/2008

At Chester’s July meeting, Dave Watson's Keelung had a fine win over 2 miles. He led, was headed one furlong out and then rallied under a strong drive from Micky Fenton inside the final yards to regain the lead and beat Command Marshall by a nose.

[Photo Stephen Davies]








Forest Gunner completes Grand National again

Post created: 08/04/2006

Forest Gunner with Nina Carberry leads Joes Edge [left] and Puntal to finish ninth after completing six laps without a fall over the National fences. He was retired at the end of the year having won £138,485 in 23 races over five seasons with 8 wins, 3 seconds and 3 thirds.

[Photo Stephen Davies]








Grand National

Post created: 09/04/2005

Best ever finish by a woman in Grand National, over 4 miles 4f, Forest Gunner with Carrie Ford [right] and Ad Hoc follow Ruby Walsh on winner Hedgehunter and Monty's Pass [3] over the Chair.

[Photo Stephen Davies]









Second win over the big fences of the Grand National course

Post created: 20/11/2004

Forest Gunner wins the Grand Sefton Handicap Chase over the Grand National course fences, with Peter Buchanan, after winning the Martell Cognac Fox Hunters' Chase over the same course in April.

[Photo John Grossick]