Richard Ford : Racehorse Trainer

I have been riding horses since I could walk and working with them throughout my entire life. Brought up on farms in Leicestershire and then Lancashire, I was riding point to point races by the time I was 17.

Despite significant weight problems that restricted my opportunities I managed to ride 55 winners between the flags and another 21 under rules for top trainers Gordon Richards, Monica Dickinson, Tom Tait and Peter Beaumont and in the 1996 Aintree Foxhunters’ Chase for Steve Brookshaw on Rolling Ball. No longer able to do the weight, I retired from the saddle in April 1999.

Two years Spent working for the late Northern equine vet David McDonald, years riding out for a broad spectrum of trainers in the UK and two summers with USA Champion Trainer and Breeders Cup Winner Jonathan E Sheppard gave me wide experience, observing differences in training regimes and their varied effects.

This led me to training in my own right from May 1998 based at Eric Cousins’ old yard at Folly Farm in Cheshire. From this location we have produced over 250 winners under all codes including the Grade 1 Red Square Gold Cup at Haydock [left photograph - John Grossick] and both the Martell Foxhunters' Chase and the Grand Sefton Chase over the Grand National Course at Aintree [top photograph - John Grossick].

In addition I saddled the fifth horse home in the 2005 Grand National itself, Forest Gunner, above, following winner Hedgehunter and Ruby Walsh over the Chair [photograph - Stephen Davies] as well as flat winners at Grade 1 tracks like Chester, Haydock and Epsom where Pernilla Hermansson won the Ladies' Derby Handicap on Inspirina in 2010 [first main photograph - GJMultimedia].

Another highlight was Chabrimal Minster's hat-trick, winning the Cartmel Grand Veterans' Handicap Chase over 3 miles 6f in 2007, 2008 and again in 2009, this time with Graham Lee in the saddle. Chabrimal Minster then retired with 9 wins, being in the frame 15 times, from 28 runs over seven seasons, winning £62,240 for his owners [photo John Grossick].