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How pre-trainers took over the racing world - for better or worse

Lewis Porteous explores a side of the industry which has been growing rapidly but which has side effects

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Lewis PorteousReporter
Will Biddick pre-training Paul Nicholls' 4 year olds in Ditcheat 2.2.23 Pic: Edward Whitaker
Will Biddick leads the way at his pre-training yard in DitcheatCredit: Edward Whitaker

As the general health of the racing industry continues to cause anguish among the sport's leaders and participants, one sector has never been in higher demand.

The last decade has seen a huge growth in the number of pre-training yards, which play an increasing role in the formative years of racehorses and have become a cog without which racing’s wheel would struggle to turn. Indeed, some pre-trainers are housing vast numbers to rival the biggest training yards.

Gone are the days when most Flat trainers would break in young horses themselves and it’s a similar story over jumps. As prices for young horses rocket in the sales ring, more trainers are buying horses at a far earlier stage in their lives when they are more affordable and, with time and space at a premium, many are sent to spend their early days with a pre-trainer.

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Published on 18 February 2023Last updated 18:00, 18 February 2023