Having previously been assistant trainer and amateur jockey to Nicky Henderson, and also champion handler Paul Nicholls, then Jamie has certainly had one of the best upbringings when it came to branching out on his own. Whilst riding Jamie rode in the region of 100 winners for various owners, but by far the most famous was when piloting First Love to many successes for Her Majesty the Queen.
After being based in Ebbesbourne Wake for the best part of three years his training operation grew from just one horse to the 30+ inmates he has now, with Marodima, who ran in the 2009 Queen Mother Champion Chase, the horse most people will associate the yard with after racking up numerous wins on him since 2010.
It was the summer of 2011 that Jamie moved based to Folly House, Lambourn, where he’s been ever since, and is certainly one of the younger stables to look out for in the coming seasons.
- Tell us about your first winner as a trainer?
March Court won a novice hurdle at Fontwell on 4th October 2008.
- How did you become a horse racing trainer?
Having ridden from an early age, I began Point-to-Point race riding when I was 16 years old, and I was lucky enough to ride many winners in that sphere. Whilst at Radley College, I rode out for Nigel Twiston-Davies, and during my gap year I worked as an Assistant Trainer for a flat yard in New Zealand. I continued to work ride for many trainers while at Newcastle University including Sue Smith and Chris Grant.
After commissioning from The Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst I joined the Kings Royal Hussars and was lucky enough to win the Grand Military Gold Cup on 4 occasions and the Royal Artillery Gold Cup a further 4 times. As it all progressed I rode more under rules, and I rode many good winners as an amateur, however training was always the long-term objective.
After a season as pupil assistant for champion trainer Paul Nicholls, I then worked for three seasons as assistant trainer and amateur jockey for Nicky Henderson before branching out on my own in 2008.
- What’s the best horse you’ve trained?
Tricky question as how do you define the word ‘best’? The highest-rated horse was a horse called Val de Law who was Grade 1 placed, but Present View won at the Cheltenham Festival.
However, we have a few that might be even better at present…..
- How do you relax after work – is there anything outside the world of racing you enjoy?
I love all sport, but it’s tricky to play much sport after work as running your own business tends to take up most hours in the day.
I have a lovely young family, so if I’m not working I tend to try and spend as much time with them as possible.
We always try to have a week off during the summer, and head up to Scotland to go fishing.
- What is your favourite sport outside of racing……..do you follow any teams?
I’m a big sports fan but enjoy playing tennis, golf and fishing. I love watching rugby when I can as I used to play county rugby, and I follow Arsenal as their chairman has horses with us.
- Can you give us a few horses in your yard to look out for?
Four time chase winner Double Treasure would be the highest rated of ours at the moment with an OR of 150. He’s one for the Festivals and I’d love to see him in the National next year.
Champion Bumper 6th, Dans Le Vent will go for the 3m Grade 1 novice at the Aintree Festival.
Lingfield Derby Trail 2nd, Carntop will be aimed at some big novice hurdles this spring – he’s in the Supreme Novice Hurdle.
Three Ways might be one for the 4 mile novice chase at the Festival.
Dual bumper scorer, Thebannerkinrebel will head to the Champion Bumper and Some Day Soon looks one for the Aintree Bumper – and there is still one share available in him!
- What is your favourite and least favourite racecourses?
Cheltenham is without doubt my favourite racecourse – there is no better track to train a winner at.
Least favourite – tricky to say really, but Lingfield lacks a bit of character.
- What’s your best racing memory as a trainer?
Without doubt its training a Cheltenham Festival winner……..
- What is your favourite horse of all time?
Desert Orchid winning the 1989 Gold Cup was a very early memory of mine, and sowed a seed of hope……
- If you could train any horse (in training now), which one would it be?
Buveur D’Air or Altior…..or both!
- What’s your favourite food, drink and music (type or band name) to listen to?
Steak and chips, with a glass or two of wine!
Music – radio 2!
- What’s the funniest and most embarrassing thing that’s ever happened to you?
It was a wet day at the South Dorset Point-to-Point, when Dom Alers-Hankey and I were both carted down to the start in the maiden. We did a whole circuit of the track and got a cheer passing the stands. When I managed to pull up, I hacked back to the start, and was carted with again! I did another complete circuit, passed Dom going back the other way, and got another cheer passing the stands!
- What was your first ever job?
I started riding out for John Dufosee in my school holidays when I was 16 years old. I couldn’t believe you could get paid to ride horses!
- Favourite holiday destination?
Scotland for fishing and Antigua for sun.
- Three famous people you’d have over for dinner and why?
Vincent O’Brien as he was a master of his trade and an inspiration to us all.
Sir Mark Prescott as he is a master story teller!
And my wife – perhaps not famous, but she’s a fabulous cook and great company.