By Oliver Sherwood
Training winners begins with having the right horses to train.
I have always enjoyed buying store horses and I would like to think my track record speaks for itself.
My love of buying young stock began long before I started training, my mother and father were always involved with hunters/ point to pointers and both regularly judged at major county shows.
An understanding of what to look for in a racehorse was honed firstly as an assistant to Arthur Moore and latterly with Fred Winter.
Arthur is an exceptional judge of a horse and he has a vast knowledge of pedigrees. It was through Arthur that I was able to buy the likes of The Breener, The West Awake, Rebel Song and Cruising Altitude to name but a few and I still continue to seek his opinion, particularly over a pedigree, at the various sales we attend.
Fred Winter needs no introduction, when I worked as an Assistant to him in the late 70's early 80's he had the best string of horses in the country, not only in ability but also looks. Horses such as Brown Chamberlain and Rough And Tumble would not have looked out of place in a show ring, and that combined with athleticism is what I strive to buy.
Most trainers buy through an agent when at the sales. I use Highflyer Bloodstock, mainly Tessa Greatrex, (although David Minton bought Many Clouds and Mischevious Milly). Highflyer Bloodstock ( Minty, Anthony Bromley and Tessa) will look at every horse in a sale and will then give their clients a list, a good agent knows exactly what type of horse each of their clients prefer, I will then look at all of the horses on my list and whittle it down to exactly what I want to try and buy. Then the fun begins.....
If you have ever attended any type of sale you will understand the feeling you get when you are bidding on something you want, for me, being able to buy a horse I really want is thrilling, it's like training a winner, and over the years the buzz has not dulled. For instance the second I saw Puffin Billy I just adored him, tall and athletic he has a fabulous walk and I wanted him, fortunately I was able to buy him thanks to Tim Syder who gave me a decent budget to work with.
I could tell you what drew me to every good horse I have ever bought. It usually begins with a good walk, then I love a laid back attitude, Large Action was a classic example, he couldn't give a damn about anything, had so much natural talent, and was probably one of the toughest horses I have ever trained. Eric's Charm on the other hand was but not laid back at all, when I first saw him at Doncaster sales he was very gassy, but he just had a toughness about him and that was exactly what he was like to train, he would give you 100% in everything he did, such an honest horse.
Obviously there is no guarantee when trying to buy a future champion, but it begins with finding a horse that is correctly put together then you have to trust your gut and hope Luck is on your side.
Along with the horses mentioned above you may remember some of these previous purchases..... Be Rude Not Too, Tildarg, Young Pokey, Lord Of The River, Callisoe Bay, Copper Mine, Good Vibes, Auburn Castle, The Bushkeeper, Monkerhostin, Caribou, Arrayou, Atrabates, Jaunty Flight, Deputy Dan, Global Power