Choosing a Trainer - why I chose Peter (and Ber)
My criteria for choosing a trainer was pretty clear in my mind what I wanted in a trainer but, like knowing exactly what tie you are looking for, that actually makes it so much more difficult to find the perfect match. I had a number of criteria and sat down to list them out;
For me, being able to trust the trainer is the most important factor. I live 3000 miles away, have no idea what is happening on a day to day basis, could be fed a whole pile of bs and not know the difference. It would be easy for any trainer to ‘forget’ that the horse was actually out in a field for 10 days and not in full training with the result that the monthly bill is 300 Euros higher than it should be. Similarly, a trainer could tell me that the horse is doing really really well and getting ready to run and then, just as entries are about to be made, the horse gets a mysterious injury that will set him back two months; the owner needs to know that really happened and isn’t just a convenient excuse. There are so many ways that a trainer could pull the wool over an owners eyes that you just have to find someone who based on ‘feel’ and conversation is someone you can trust.
Experience and Background
I want someone who loves what they do, has been involved in racing all of their lives and has a family who are equally involved and enthusiastic. On balance I was looking for a younger trainer ; someone who was relatively new in the training ranks and keen to make a name for themselves.
While I am far from an expert on horses, I do like to think I would know the difference between a happy and content stable and one where the horses are not as well looked after. I would have to say that the vast majority of yards and staff look after their horses extremely well but you can tell a lot by the attitude and friendliness of the staff in the ward and the overall cleanliness of the stables. You also want to see some examples of tenure in stable staff and not constant turnover.
This is a big one for me. I look at a couple of things in detail:
- The improvements (or not) of horses transferred to their stable from other stables
- The ratio of horses placed 1,2,3 or 4 as compared to all of their runners. I look for this number to be at least 50% and then differentiate between trainers based on finishing positions (ie winners score more than horses placed fourth)
Apart from actually buying the horse the biggest costs to an owner is the monthly training fee. To be honest there is not that much of a difference between most trainers but it is important that the charges are in line and that there are no ‘red flags’. Fro example, while training fees per day may be very comparable, transportation costs or gallops fees can quickly add up if not fully disclosed.
Number of horses in the Yard
Typically the more successful the trainer, the more owners want him/her to train their horses and the more horses there are in the yard. I fully appreciate this dynamic but I wanted a less established but high potential trainer with a smaller yard (30-40 horses). I think this is a good number as it indicates that the trainer has been successful in attracting a number of owners but it is also small enough for individual focus on each horse. That sentiment also applies to having to speak with owners’ I do not consider myself high maintenance but I do want to be able to call and speak to a trainer and feel confident they know everything going on with the horse without having to go away, ask a few questions and call me back