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'He's amazing' - Tom Dascombe on the legend who changed his mind about training

Horse racing Richard Kingscote Tom Dascombe Lizzie Lea Andy Jackson
Jockey Richard Kingscote, trainer Tom Dascombe and long-serving staff Lizzie Lea and Andy Jackson pictured in Lambourn this weekCredit: Edward Whitaker

Tom Dascombe, back at his spiritual home in Lambourn with a team of 13 horses for the Flat season after his split with Michael Owen, has described how he was inspired to take up training by a game of golf with Mike de Kock after being put off by a spell as Ralph Beckett's assistant.

Dascombe was talking to the Racing Post for a major interview in Sunday's newspaper in which he reflected on his time with Owen at Manor House Stables, how he discovered he had been sacked upon returning from a holiday in Las Vegas and what he sees as a campaign against him by some people who "want to put the boot in" in Lambourn that cost him a high-profile yard in the village.

The Classic-winning trainer also recalled his early ambitions within the sport, which had extended to being a jockey and little else.

"I was with Ralph when he started and to see the agony he went through, trying to get owners or pay his rent or get staff, made me think, 'f*** that,'" he said.

"It completely put me off training, but he had a couple of horses he wanted me to take to Dubai.

"I then worked for Satish Seemar, which was probably the worst job I've had in my life, but it served a purpose because when I was out there I played golf with Mike de Kock, whose Victory Moon had just won the UAE Derby. He asked me to take the horse to England and told me, 'Feed him as much as he'll eat and gallop him as hard as you can.'

"After a week I rang him and said the horse was eating two bags of feed a day and I was doing three times as much as Andrew Balding's horses, which is where we were boarding. I said I couldn't keep going, but Mike insisted and that horse completely changed my life in wanting to train."

Dascombe also revealed that not even an untimely setback could deter his new-found eagerness for the main job.

"Mike's an amazing man," he added. "The horse was running in the Eclipse and a few days before he'd trodden on his shoe and a toe clip had gone through his foot. I rang Mike and was expecting an almighty bollocking. I'm sure Ralph won't mind me saying this, but he'd have gone nuts. Yet Mike just went, 'All right, mate, do the best you can.' From then, I was bitten by the bug."

Read more from Tom Dascombe in The Big Read, available in Sunday's newspaper or online for Members' Club Ultimate subscribers from 6pm on Saturday. Click here to sign up.

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James BurnLambourn correspondent
Published on 13 May 2022Last updated 13:01, 13 May 2022