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Patrick Haslam dies at 69 following battle with illness

Pat Haslam: operated from all three of Britain’s major training centres during a successful career
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Patrick Haslam, who sent out close to 1,000 winners during a training career spanning five decades and almost 40 years, has died aged 69 following a battle with illness.

As well as holding the distinction of saddling winners at every British racecourse – minus, of course, recent additions Chelmsford and Ffos Las – Haslam was a rarity among the training ranks, having operated from all three of Britain’s major training centres during a long, successful career.

Kinnaird's 33-1 victory under Kevin Darley in the Prix de l'Opera at Longchamp in 2005 marked the highlight of Haslam's career. It was his only Group 1 success but his big-race victories also included the Group 2 Richmond Stakes and May Hill Stakes, along with the Royal Hunt Cup, Victoria Cup and Bunbury Cup, which he won twice.

He was also proud of achieving the feat of three winners in one day at Cheltenham.

In addition to Kinnaird, other good horses handled by him included Godstone, Maroussies Wings, Mummys Pleasure, Hawkley, Pipe Major, Nigel's Lad and King Revo.

When based in Newmarket, Haslam enjoyed a memorable two seasons in the early 1980s thanks to Godstone, ridden by Graham Sexton, who was successful in the Richmond Stakes in 1983 (his first Group winner, who was awarded the race after finishing third on the disqualification of Vacarme and Creag-an-Sgor), Mummys Pleasure winning back-to-back runnings of the Bunbury Cup, and Hawkley landing the Royal Hunt Cup under Tyrone Williams in 1984.

Nigel's Lad also proved a stable star for Haslam, winning 23 races on the Flat, over hurdles and in chases between 1994 and 2002.

Haslam retired from training in February 2010, handing over the reins to son Ben, who paid a heartfelt tribute to his father following his death on Saturday.

"Dad was a great role model to me,” he said. “He was a proper old-fashioned trainer; he was tough and demanded hard work, which was a side of working for him, but as a father he was very caring and very loving. No-one could have asked for a better father.

“People within the industry who knew him over the 40 years he’d been involved in racing would say he was one of the most respected trainers and people in racing.

"He was widely respected by other trainers, jockeys and his staff, who he never made life easy for, but every one of them tells me how much they loved working for him.

“He was a fantastic trainer and training a winner at every track in the country at the time was a testament to how good he was. Amazingly the last track he needed to do it on was Cheltenham – and he did it there with a treble.”

Haslam spent a lifetime with horses, including the days at school dreaming of being a trainer. The dreams came true, via a stint as assistant to George Todd at Manton, and he took out a licence in 1972 in Lambourn during the village's halcyon days of Pendil, Crisp and The Dikler. He won with his very first runner.

After Lambourn came Newmarket, with Haslam occupying Pegasus Stables, where James Fanshawe now trains. He spent the whole of the 1980s there, assisted by John Hammond in the early part of the decade, and hit the headlines with such as Godstone, Hawkley and Mummys Pleasure before the call of the north proved irresistible.

"I enjoyed it in Newmarket and Ben was born there, but we've always been countrified people," said Haslam in an interview with the Racing Post in 2010.

"I drove through Middleham a couple of times on the way down from Scotland and really liked it, and it turned out Neville Crump was retiring and was ready to sell his yard, so we decided to move here.”

After a two-year break from training, Haslam made the move to Middleham in 1991, with Huso, owned by actor George Cole, among the first to star from his new yard with seven victories on the Flat and over hurdles.  

He bought subsequent Group 1 winner Kinnaird for 8,000gns at Doncaster in 2003 and took great pleasure from her high-profile success, while he enjoyed nothing more than when teaming up with two legendary riders.

Haslam jnr, who trains from Castle Hill Stables on the doorstep of historic Middleham Castle, said: “The jockeys and sportsmen he admired the most were AP McCoy and Lester Piggott, and nothing gave him greater pleasure than when they rode him a winner."

As well as his son, Haslam is survived by wife Anne. Funeral arrangements will be announced in due course.  


Full name Patrick Charles Haslam

Born Beare Green, Surrey, May 27, 1948

Father Michael Haslam (car salesman)

Assistant to Alec Kerr, George Todd, Gordon Smyth

Stables Lynchets, Upper Lambourn 1972-76; Neardown House, Upper Lambourn 1976-78; Pegasus Stables, Newmarket 1979-88; Warwick House, Middleham 1991-94; Castle Stables, Middleham 1994-2000; Manor House, Middleham 2000-10

First winner Rooster, Newton Abbot, February 23, 1972

First winner on Flat Melody Way, Pontefract, June 27, 1972

Group 1 winner Kinnaird (2005 Prix de l'Opera)

Other Group winners Godstone (1983 Richmond Stakes), Pipe Major (1995 Criterion Stakes), Kinnaird (2003 May Hill Stakes), Maroussies Wings (2006 Prix Minerve)

Big-handicap winners Pencil Point (1981 Singleton Handicap, William Hill Handicap), Mummys Pleasure (1983 & 1984 Bunbury Cup), Hawkley (1984 Royal Hunt Cup)

Big-race winners over jumps Nigel's Lad (1998 Crowther Homes Long-Distance Hurdle), King Revo (2004 Victor Ludorum Hurdle)

Last winner Bateau Bleu, Nottingham, September 30, 2009

Most wins in a season 41 in 2002 (Flat), 28 in 2005-06 (jumps)

Total wins in Britain 988 (778 Flat, 210 jumps)

Compiled by John Randall

Three of the best 

Haslam enjoyed his two finest wins with this talented mare, most notably in the Group 1 Prix de l’Opera under Kevin Darley in 2005. A winner of six races from 16 starts, Kinnaird was remarkably consistent, also landing the Group 2 May Hill Stakes at Doncaster in 2003. Contesting Group races at the Curragh, Deauville and Ascot following that memorable day on Town Moor, fortune finally favoured Kinnaird at the top level at Longchamp

Pipe Major
A fourth-placed finish in the Coventry Stakes followed by second in the Champagne Stakes confirmed Pipe Major to be a promising juvenile for Haslam and he certainly trained on at three. He outran odds of 50-1 when fourth in the 2,000 Guineas in 1995 before winning the Group 3 Criterion Stakes at Newmarket later that year.

Maroussies Wings
Haslam enjoyed high-profile success with this daughter of In The Wings, who was similarly consistent to Kinnaird, albeit at a slightly lower level, during her 11-race career. Maroussies Wings placed in the Musidora and Ribblesdale before winning the Group 3 Prix Minerve at Deauville in 2006. She subsequently maintained her consistent profile, finishing fourth in the Park Hill, Middleton Stakes and Pinnacle Stakes.

Racing world reacts 

Karl Burke (on Racing UK)
It’s very sad news and we can only be thinking of Anne and Ben and their immediate family. I got on really well with Pat – he’d let you know if he wasn’t getting on with you. He was great company and if you got him talking on any topic that he had strong thoughts on, it could be very amusing. He was a great guy and always someone you could turn to. He'll be a huge loss.

Derek Thompson (@tommoracing)
Pat Haslam was a top trainer, a great guy and had one of the best racing brains of all time. Thoughts and prayers with Anne, Ben and family.

Niall Hannity (@niallhannity)
I remember speaking to AP McCoy not long after he retired and he said Pat Haslam was one of the very best he ever rode for. A great man. RIP

The National Trainers Federation
We're very sad to hear about the passing of Patrick Haslam following a long illness. Patrick was a clever and versatile trainer, renowned for the rare feat of having trained a winner at every British racecourse. He had great energy and a passion for the sport of racing, not just training horses. He was always interested in what was going on in the industry and was much admired and respected by his colleagues. Our condolences go to Anne and Ben.

As a father he was very caring and very loving. No-one could have asked for a better father
E.W. Terms