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Thursday, 13 December, 2018

Car trouble: the Newmarket string that battles with rush-hour traffic every day

Denis Quinn, Andy Lockhart and Sir Hamilton
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It's a good job Newmarket trainer Denis Quinn likes a bet because he faces a daily gamble every morning just to get his horses out to exercise on the famous working grounds at headquarters.

The 45-year-old is based at the tiny Stocksbridge House Stables, which is the only remaining training establishment to open its doors directly onto the town's now traffic-heavy high street.

While others have cried enough over the years and found premises in places such as Hamilton Road, which affords easy access to the 2,500 acres of Jockey Club facilities, Quinn instead continues to fight daily battles with the commuter traffic, buses and delivery lorries as he goes about his business.

It was a different story 100 years ago, when Stocksbridge was one of a host of such establishments and would have been high in demand as horses then had the high street pretty much to themselves and used it as the main thoroughfare between the Racecourse and Bury sides of town.

Fresh from his latest encounter with white van men in a hurry to get to work, Quinn said: "We pull out after 8am at this time of year as it would be too dangerous any earlier with the traffic in the dark.

"We've had a few near-misses since we've been here with lorry drivers in particular who don't slow down when they see us, but 90 per cent of drivers are good about it."

Quinn came to Newmarket from his native County Clare, where a financial disaster provided the springboard to better days.

He said: "The Celtic Tiger crash was difficult but I brought a horse called Captain Coke over here in 2010 and he won three races, including two at the Friday night meetings on the July course, and I decided to come over permanently.

"The late Mick Quinlan was very good to me when I first came over and said that these gallops were the best in the world – he was right."

Although he has moved about a bit since switching to Newmarket from Ireland five years ago, one thing has remained constant.

"We always seem to end up in stables behind restaurants," he said. "The first time we were behind an Indian down Old Station Road and now we're behind The Fountain, a popular Chinese."

Denis Quinn trains behind a Chinese restaurant

The stable star among the 18 Quinn has in training is smart three-year-old Sir Hamilton, who is unbeaten in two all-weather starts.

The son of Canford Cliffs defied a penalty in a novice contest at Kempton last Wednesday, since when the offers have rolled in.

Quinn revealed: "We've already been bid £250,000 for him and, as he could stay on the Flat or go over jumps, we've had interest from both quarters.

"He's the best I've had for a few years, that's for certain."

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We've had a few near-misses since we've been here but 90 per cent of drivers are good about it
E.W. Terms
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