I started training from Cottage Stables in 1998. It was the realisation of a dream that I had had since the age of 11 when my ambition was either training horses or becoming the Prime Minister, and to this day I am still not sure which is the easier option!
My introduction to racing was through my father, who had horses with Toby Balding. Having spent a couple of school holidays working with Henrietta Knight, I knew that my heart was set on training horses. Consequently, I started working for Toby Balding as a racing secretary, and then moved on to work for the National Trainer’s Federation, which gave me an invaluable insight into the administrative side of racing.
I then returned to Toby as his pupil assistant, and then assistant for just over five and a half years. I, along with many others, learnt a huge amount during my time there. Finally, I travelled to America to spend a fascinating season with Claude McGaughey III in Belmont, New York. On gaining my licence in 1998, Cottage Stables opened for business with just 6 horses. We now have just over 60.
I am a great believer in improving quality rather than quantity, hence our 2 Cheltenham Festival winners and Aintree Festival winner in the last three years. Barry Fenton, having retired after 13 year riding as a jump jockey, has become an invaluable member of the team, using his vast experience and incredible horsemanship to school all the horses.