Toby Lawes, regular work rider of four-time Cheltenham Festival winner Altior, has revealed that he is set to join the training ranks.
The 27-year-old assistant to Nicky Henderson, who has spent five years learning the trade under the master of Seven Barrows, is set to take over from David Arbuthnot at Andrew Wates’s Henfold House Stables.
They are the premises from where the late Terry Casey trained 1996 Grand National hero Rough Quest and Lawes is to start off his new career with 10 horses owned by Waites whose colours were carried to victory at Aintree.
As well as riding out the awesome Altior, dual winner of the Queen Mother Champion Chase world record-holder having won 19 races in a row over jumps, Lawes has also been heavily involved with the work of Might Bite who landed the RSA at the 2017 Cheltenham Festival in dramatic fashion before going on to finish a gallant second in the Cheltenham Gold Cup a year later.
Lawes has been heavily involved with horses from a young age. Having grown up in the pony club, hunting and eventing scene, he started riding in point-to-points when he was 16.
He spent school, university and Christmas holidays getting as much experience as he could, he spent time learning his craft under with James Eustace, Chris Wall, Neil King, Sarah Humphrey and John Ferguson before joining Henderson.
During their time together, Henderson has been crowned Champion Jumps trainer twice and captured multiple big race triumphs.
Hoping to Be Granted a Licence by Autumn
Lawes told the Racing Post: “It’s been the best five years of my life, every part of it has been fantastic, working with the most amazing trainer and team of staff, the most wonderful bunch of horses and most brilliant and kind owners.
“You look forward to getting out of bed every morning just to go and ride Altior and Might Bite. There’s something so special about them and never before have I been around horses of that calibre. To get to ride them every day blew my mind and I had to pinch myself every day.
“The most amazing thing about Nicky is his wonderful patience with horses; he really allows a horse to come to its own and he’s such a brilliant judge at knowing when that is. That’s one of the key things I’ll take from there. I can’t believe how much I’ve learned in the last five ears.”
Lawes is halfway through his training modules and hopes to have his licence granted come the autumn.
The opportunity to take over the yard of Arbuthnot, one of the few trainers to win races at the Cheltenham Festival and Royal Ascot, was pointed out to him by Henderson’s stable jockey Nico de Boinville.
It came after Arbuthnot announced he was quitting training and vacating the Surrey-based yard owned by Wates as a result of being angered by the handling of a doping case involving one of his horses for which he was fined £1,000.
Racing World Pays Respect to Festival-Winning Trainer Richard Barber
Hundreds of mourners flocked to the hamlet of Seaborough in Dorset for the funeral of Cheltenham Festival winning trainer Richard Barber who died recently at the age of 77.
They included leading figures from the world of jumps racing, including champion trainer Paul Nicholls, Philip Hobbs, and Martin and David Pipe.
Barber was one of point-to-pointing’s most successful trainers and trained a joint-record four winners of the Foxhunter Chase at the Cheltenham Festival.
He triumphed with Rushing Wild, who went on to finish runner-up in the Cheltenham Gold Cup when trained by Martin Pipe, in 1992, Fantus in 1995 and 1997, and Earthmover in 1998.
His whose brother Paul is landlord to 11-time champion trainer Paul Nicholls, who told the Racing Post after the service: “I have said it many times before but I wouldn’t be where I’m today were it not for Richard as he introduced me to his brother Paul all those years ago, and we have been on the best of terms ever since.
“He had a wonderful eye for a horse as he spotted Gold Cup winner See More Business and Champion Hurdler Rock On Ruby. There are not that many people out there who could boast that.”
Former champion trainer Martin Pipe said: “I actually trained seven winners for Richard and he sent me Rushing Wild after he won the Foxhunter. He was actually the closest I ever got to winning a Cheltenham Gold Cup when he was second to Jodami in 1993. He was a super gentleman, a great friend and a remarkable trainer.”