Why Richard Ford For Me?

There is much more to training a horse than simply getting him fit. He needs to be kept well . . . and happy If he enjoys his work he will perform better.

Every horse is different and needs to be known individually and trained fed and handled accordingly to get the best out of him. That is why we have succeeded with horses that have not done well in bigger yards. We have made good purchases for our owners of such horses.

When Silver Steel [photograph middle left, Alan Wright] won the Red Square Handicap Chase with Graham Lee at Uttoxeter in October 2009, Raceform, The Form Book of the BHA, said “ . . . and he has been much improved since joining Richard Ford”.

Crucial to our success is selecting the appropriate race and we spend a lot of time getting this right. All-important is the course. For example, there are 43 jump courses and all they are all different: level or hilly, tough or fast, sharp turns or galloping, left or right. There are many different types of race, distances and grades.

The weather and therefore the going, or rather what they will be on race-day, 4 days after entries must be made, are critical too.

Final decisions are made after walking the course (photograph bottom left) and checking the current state of the going.

Feedback on races matters as well; some jockeys are better than others at meaningful critiques and we prefer to work with them. Some jockeys work better with certain horses than others. So another factor is which jockey will be available at a course on the day.

Choosing the right combination for your horse and then declaring him for the race with the right field for him to get the best result possible is both an art and a science. If you are paying the travelling expenses, you do not want frivolous trips to Kelso and Fontwell.

We are serious; we have 42% and 29% success rates at those two distant venues and we have been in the frame at 67% of our runs at Taunton. We use economical, quicker and flexible two-horse boxes to get there. In the last ten years, we have run at 56 different courses and we have won at 36 of them.