Rookie trainer James Horton

Rookie trainer James Horton marks himself as one to watch

In football, they refer to banging in three goals in one match as a hat-trick. So what about when a trainer gets three winners at the same racecourse, all in just one day? That’s precisely what rookie trainer James Horton achieved on Monday 18th of April.

Indeed, it’s fair to say that Horton enjoyed a day he will never forget at Redcar, marking himself as an up-and-coming trainer that everyone will want to watch. It all began with the opening race when Phantom Flight edged first past the post at 11/4 odds ahead of 3/1 Take My Chances, demonstrating excellent staying power to remain ahead for the final 100 yards.

Then it was the turn of Il Bandito priced as a joint 11/4 favourite at the starters orders, during what turned out to be a thrilling race, winning a thrilling race by a nose and just fractionally ahead of Take My Chances. By this time the jubilant celebrations were just beginning.

Despite being priced at 9/1 outsider odds, Asjad caused a stir with a convincing victory, winning the Market Cross Jewellers Handicap by a good length and plenty of loose change. This completed the memorable treble of wins on the day for trainer, jockey, and owners.

Along with being trained by Horton, all three winning runners were ridden by experienced flat jockey P.J. McDonald, while the triumphant trio of thoroughbreds is also owned by John and Jess Dance.

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Having enjoyed such a remarkable day at the races, Horton is also proof positive that paying attention to trainers is also worthwhile, even if their name is not immediately familiar. Although it may still be early days in his solo career, Horton will certainly have caught attention within the industry.

In fact, Horton actually spent several years working as an assistant trainer for Sir Michael Stoute, who was a legend in the industry. Known for his success in flat racing, Stoute was Champion Trainer now fewer than ten times during his illustrious career, which means that Horton had the opportunity to learn from the very best.

For this reason, Horton was head-hunted by owners John and Jess Dance in Middleham, as they invest heavily in the redevelopment of the historic Manor House Farm. They will undoubtedly be delighted with the quick returns on their investment, having put great faith in the knowledge and expertise of Horton.

“I never imagined a day like this, but I thought they were all in good form and in the right races,” Horton enthused after the three spectacular wins at Redcar, which is a venue the trainer admits is one of his favourites.

“I always liked Redcar when I was with Sir Michael Stoute, he liked to bring nice horses up here because it’s a lovely track,” Horton explained with fond memories of his previous visits. “I’m sure we’ll be back on many occasions,” he assured with pride.

For those who have ever wondered how a thoroughbred racehorse is named, sometimes it’s just happenstance, as Horton explained regarding one of the three Redcar winners. Apparently, there were some RAF helicopters that landed at Manor House Farm one night, which became the talk of Middleham the following day.

“We still don’t know what it was all about, it’s a bit of a mystery,” Horton pointed out, “so Phantom Flight it was,” he concluded, regarding what inspired the name for one of his winners at Redcar.

After making such a flying start as a trainer in his own right, Horton will certainly be hoping for continued success, as will any punters who will certainly be keeping an eye on the performances of the thoroughbred stock he works with.

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