RICHARD FORD - 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 in 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 such as Gordon Richards, Monica Dickinson, Tom Tate and Peter Beaumont and in the 1996 Aintree Foxhunters’ Chase I gained by biggest win 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 a very wide experience enabling me to observe differences in training regimes and their varied effects. This led me to train in my own right at Eric Cousins’ old yard at Folly Farm in Cheshire from May, 1998 onwards.
From this base we enjoyed 250 successes (flat, jumps & point to points) including the £120,000 Red Square Vodka Gold Cup at Haydock Park with Forest Gunner and both the Martell Foxhunters' Chase and the Grand Sefton Chase over the Grand National Course at Aintree with the same horse. In addition Forest Gunner was 5th to Hedgehunter in the 2005 Grand National itself and 9th behind Numbersixvalverde 12 months later.
On the flat we celebrated winners at Grade 1 tracks such as Chester, Haydock Park and Epsom where Inspirina won the Ladies' Derby Handicap in 2010. Inspirina was our most prolific flat winner scoring 7 times whilst Ocean Tide was successful in a couple of valuable staying handicaps in 2002.
Another highlight was Chabrimal Minster's hat-trick of wins in the Cartmel Grand Veterans' Handicap Chase over 3 miles 6 furlongs in 2007, 2008 and again in 2009. Chabrimal Minster was retired after his final Cartmel win having recorded 9 victories as well as finishing in the frame 15 times, from just 28 runs over seven seasons for prize money of £62,240.