Nicky Richards

Nicholas Gordon ‘Nicky’ Richards is the son of Grand National-winning trainer Gordon W. Richards and took over the running of the yard at Rectory Farm in Greystoke, near Penrith, Cumbria on a temporary licence following the death of his father in 1998. Indeed, Richards Jnr. saddled a winner with his first runner, the aptly-named Better Times Ahead, in a handicap chase at Carlisle in October that year.

Richards rode on the Flat, as an amateur, between 1971 and 1975 and was, in fact, champion amateur rider in 1973, before becoming assistant trainer to his father. His most successful season in the training ranks, numerically and financially, came in 2006/07, when he saddled 64 winners and won over £787,000 in prize money.

His seasonal tally was thanks, in no small part, to the grey Monet’s Garden, who won the Grade One Ascot Chase and the Grade One Melling Chase at Aintree in February and April, 2007, respectively. Indeed, Monet’s Garden would become his stable star, winning the Old Roan Chase at Aintree – in which he beat none other than Kauto Star – the following October and twice more, in 2009 and 2010. More recently, Richards saddled Simply Ned to with the Grade One Paddy’s Reward Club Chase at Leopardstown two years running in 2017 and 2018 and enjoyed his biggest payday ever when Takingrisks won the Coral Scottish Grand National at Ayr in 2019.

Lucinda Russell

 Together with partner and assistant trainer, eight-time champion National Hunt jockey Peter Scudamore, Lucinda Russell is based at Arlay House Stables, near Kinross, Perth and Kinross, Scotland. Indeed, her 2017 Grand National winner, One For Arthur, was just the second winner of the celebrated steeplechase, after Rubstic in 1979, to be trained in Scotland and just the fifth to be trained by a woman. The following year, Russell was awarded the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for services to horse racing in the Queen’s birthday honours list.

A graduate of St. Andrews University, Russell enjoyed success as an eventer, showjumper and point-to-point trainer before taking out a public training licence in 1995. She saddled her first winner, Fiveleigh Builds, in a handicap chase at Perth Racecourse in September that year and has gone on to saddle over 600 winners.

One For Arthur aside, career highlights include winning the Grand National Trial at Haydock three times, with Silver By Nature in 2010 and 2011 and Lie Forrit in 2015, and winning the Grade One Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in 2012. As the trainer responsible for two of the first four horses to run after the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) made notice of a wind operation compulsory in 2018, Russell told the Racing Post, ‘I’ve always felt you’re better to be open about things and then people can make up their own minds.’

Emma Lavelle

 Emma Lavelle is currently based at Bonita Racing Stables in Ogbourne Maizey, near Marlborough, Wiltshire, where she operates a mixed yard, but with definite emphasis on National Hunt horses. Lavelle was formerly based at Hatherden Stables near Andover, Hampshire, but moving to an enlarged, renovated training facility in 2016 proved an unqualified success, resulting in an increase in her seasonal tally to 35 winners under National Hunt Rules in 2016/17, compared with 19 in 2015/16.

Formerly assistant trainer to Gerard ‘Toby’ Balding for five years or so, Lavelle subsequently spent a season working Claude ‘Shug’ McGaughey in Belmont, New York before taking out a training licence, in her own right, at the age of 25, in 1998. In recent seasons, Lavelle is probably best known as the trainer of the Oscar gelding Paisley Park, who won all five starts in 2018/19, including the Grade One Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot in December, 2018, and the Grade One Stayers’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in March, 2019. However, she recorded her first Graded success with Tana River in the ‘National Hunt’ Novices’ Hurdle Final at Sandown as long ago as 2003 and has since been responsible for the likes of Labelthou, Crack Away Jack, Tocca Ferro and numerous other high-profile winners.

Dr Richard Newland

 Worcestershire trainer Dr. Richard Newland, a former general practitioner, is best known for saddling Pineau De Re – his first runner in the race – to win the Grand National in 2014. However, Newland had come to public attention much earlier in his training career when in 2006/07 – as a permit holder, with just four horses in his care – he won the Listed William Hill Handicap Hurdle at Sandown and the Betfair Handicap Hurdle at Newbury at Ascot with Overstrand and the Coral Cup at the Cheltenham Festival with Burntoakboy.

Newland took out a public training licence in 2007, so that he could, in his own words, ‘train for a few close friends and relatives’. However, even today, he deliberately limits the number of horses in his string to a dozen or so at any one time, so that each horse receives individual care and attention. For such as small yard, Newland has achieved extraordinary success down the years and in 2018/19 achieved his best seasonal tally so far, in terms of number of winners (53) and prize money (£645,005). He has the occasional runner on the level, but all his big race wins – the most recent of which was the Grade Three Pertemps Network Swinton Hurdle at Haydock in May, 2019 – have come under National Hunt Rules.

Charlie Longsdon

Together with his wife, Sophie – who is the sister of fellow trainer Ben Pauling – Charlie Longsdon is based at the purpose-built Hull Farm Stables in Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire. Longsdon first took out a training licence, in his own right, in 2006, but had previously served a lengthy apprenticeship. After leaving school, he worked for Nigel Twiston-Davies for six months and, during his summer holidays from Oxford Brookes University, for Oliver Sherwood. After graduation, he spent three years as assistant trainer to Kim Bailey and another five as assistant trainer to Nicky Henderson before, in 2004, winning the Alex Scott Memorial Fund Assistant Trainers’ Scholarship, which entitled him to spend a few months under the auspices of Eclipse Award-winning trainer Todd Pletcher in New York.

From his initial base at Cotswold Stud, near Moreton-in-Marsh, Gloucestershire, Longsdon sent out just nine winners but, following his move to Hull Farm Stables in 2009, gradually increased his tally, season-by-season, until 2013/14, when he peaked with 78 winners. Notable winners in the early part of his career included Songe in the Grade Two Champion Hurdle Trial at Haydock in 2009, while more recently he has gained further Grade Two successes with Snow Leopardess in the ‘National Hunt’ Novices’ Hurdle Finale at Newbury in 2017 and Castafiore in the Altcar Novices’ Chase at Haydock in 2019. All told, Longsdon has over 550 winners and upwards of £4 million to his name.