Top Flat trainer Richard Fahey talks about the value of teamwork in his yard and why he is passionate about opening racing’s doors to young people of all backgrounds.
I was delighted to read the recent blog written by Ellie Cross on the Racing Together website. Ellie was among the first group of young people to visit my yard in Malton as part of Take The Reins and we are so pleased that she has gone on to start her racing career with Jedd O’Keeffe . We co-founded the Take The Reins project along with youth charity Flying Futures with the aim of getting young people from a variety of backgrounds involved in our sport.
I don’t come from a racing background. I was born in Nigeria as my dad was an engineer and he worked all over the world. I was brought up in Ireland and got the riding bug after sitting on a pony called Snowball. I was champion conditional when I moved to England but to be honest I was a bad jockey. I decided to give up riding and started buying and selling horses. I was then asked to train a couple and that’s how my training career started.
My first winner was a horse called Ok Bertie. I will never forget that feeling in September 1993 of walking into the winners’ enclosure at Haydock. I have trained some special horses since, including Wootton Bassett, Mayson and Garswood. The highlight of my career so far has to be Ribchester. He won four Group One races and watching him break the track record at Royal Ascot in the Queen Anne Stakes was something special. He’s now starting a new career at stud and we are on the lookout for the next star. This is always an exciting time of year – breaking in the yearlings with everyone having high hopes for the season ahead.
I have been very lucky to always have fantastic staff and without them I wouldn’t have had the success I’ve had. It’s well documented that racing yards are struggling to find workers, yet there is a whole pool of talented young people who have never thought about a career in racing.
By opening the doors to my yard, allowing young people to speak to my staff and see how we work, I hope we can inspire them to consider new possibilities within racing. Working with racehorses is a unique and rewarding job and it’s not all about riding horses. Yard staff are vital to what we do and we rely upon their commitment and hard work. Accompanying horses to the races, making sure they look their best is also a key part of any yard’s success.
This year already looks exciting for Take The Reins with yard visits arranged not only here at Musley Bank but with my fellow trainers Mark Johnston and Jedd O’Keeffe. Lingfield, together with other racecourses will also be offering work experience and we will be asking many more trainers and others in our industry to get involved.