Bobby Zen

The training game may be a tough one but that doesn’t stop new young hopefuls  joining the ranks each year. Getting early winners on the board counts for everything and that is something Alice Haynes managed from the outset. Now, just over three years since she sent out her first runner, her string has grown steadily in number and she has taken on the historic Machell Place Stables in Newmarket in addition to her original base just across the road at Cadland Cottage Stables.

Despite having all of Newmarket’s expansive training grounds right on her doorstep, as we speak Haynes is on her way back from Chelmsford City Racecourse where she has taken seven two-year-olds for an away day a week ahead of the start of the Flat turf season in Britain. 

“We take them away as often as we can. We’ll take some three-year-olds there in two weeks’ time, and then there’ll be another bunch of two-year-olds, which will go in April,” she explains. “Today wasn’t a barrier trial day but we did come here a few weeks ago for that. But just unloading and getting in the lorry, experiencing all of that, can put a few manners on them before they have to go to the races.”

No stone unturned, then, and this may well go some way to explaining the success of Haynes, now 32, who spent her formative years in racing as an amateur and apprentice, working for Mick Channon, Henrietta Knight and David Simcock before setting up her own pre-training business for a while. 

“We’re a week away now from the start and all systems are go,” says the trainer, who hasn’t exactly been idle through the winter. She already has 13 winners on the board in 2024  and is looking forward to the enhanced early juvenile programme. 

“Every year, you are learning what kind of horse you want to target for different places. You then work back from there, and that’s the exciting part of it. I think this year we’ll have our first Brocklesby runner. And we’ll have Maysong for the consolation handicap that he ran so well in last year.”

The four-time winner Maysong (GB) (Mayson {GB}), who holds an entry for the Lincoln, was beaten less than a length when third in the Spring Mile at Doncaster on the opening day last year.  He joined Haynes as a four-year-old and runs often, with 15 of his 65 starts coming in 2023, but he is a consistent sort who rose to a high of 83 last year and he has 26 placed efforts to go with his victories. 

“I think horses that we’ve got from other people we’ve done quite well with and I’d like to say we have a few nice handicappers,” says Haynes, who has entered last season’s Newcastle maiden winner Sir Gabrial (GB) (Havana Grey {GB}) in the 2,000 Guineas. 

“Obviously he’s only rated 75 now, but he’s a horse that will definitely be on the up in a couple of handicaps, or hopefully going there,” she says. “But I very much enjoy two-year-olds. Obviously I started life at Mick Channon’s and it’s something that I just sort of picked up. This year is the first year there are 17 two-year-old races before the Craven, which is unreal.

“I’m not quite sure why they’ve been so extreme with early two-year-old races, but it’s nice to get a couple out early. I always try to have a two-year-old winner before the Craven Breeze-up [Sale] – you try and put your name out there a little bit – and we have done that for the last two years.”

A key member of Haynes’s growing team at home is Kieran O’Neill, who is both her stable jockey and partner. 

“He’s very dedicated,” says Haynes. “He likes the involvement, not just the riding of the horses, but of picking where they’re going to go next. And I think he’s a big asset because he does know those horses at home. Of course, owners sometimes like to use their own jockeys, which is fine and he understands that. But I like to think that he does well with me and with horses and the rides that he’s given.”

She continues, “He works hard and that’s the biggest thing. He doesn’t expect anything to be given to him. He’s not afraid to be up on Sundays or riding four or five lots out each day. Or for instance, riding out this morning, going to Chelmsford and then going off to Wolverhampton.”

O’Neill was rewarded with a winner that evening at Wolverhampton aboard Tasmanian Legend (Ire) (Australia {GB}), a horse who has thrived at the Haynes stable, winning three of his four starts since being purchased at the Horses-in-Training Sale last October.

“Obviously now we want the better type of winners in black-type races or on the bigger days. And that’s where you have to stand on your own and prove yourself – the horses running didn’t cost 200 grand as a yearling, however it still should be here in this race. And with those horses you won’t really get acknowledged in those kind of races,” she says.

Haynes has trained a stakes winner in each of her seasons with a licence to date. Mr Professor (Ire) (Profitable {Ire}) got the ball rolling by winning the Listed British Stallion Studs EBF Silver Tankard S. at 16/1 in her debut season. Lady Hollywood (GB) (Havana Grey {GB}) won a Listed race in Ireland and Group 3 in France in 2022, while Fix You (GB) (Night Of Thunder {Ire}) won last year’s Polonia S. in Ireland. All three horses belonged to Amo Racing, run by Kia Joorabchian, who no longer has horses with Haynes. 

“I thank him for the support,” she says. “We had nine winners together last year.”

The absence of the Amo silks is unlikely to halt the trainer’s ascent, however. Her yard is now sponsored by the bookmaker Coral, and with 70 in training she has her biggest string to date as the 2024 season gets underway.

“We’re growing all the time and it’s a nice number, but we’ve still got the attention to detail. There’s a good team behind me and working alongside me. And you’re not so focused then on one horse being good and putting all that pressure on one horse – you might have a couple instead. I still ride out. I actually rode one round Chelmsford this morning and I really enjoy it,” she says. 

“Simon Clare [of Coral] sent us a horse last year, Aspire to Glory, who has won three, and it’s great to have them on board. It started with them sponsoring Kieran, then I approached Simon and said, ‘Are you looking for anyone else?’ It’s great to have a sponsor. He said he was thinking about it so I put my name in the hat.”

Haynes is looking forward to the prospect of unleashing at least one juvenile in this Saturday’s Brocklesby S. at Doncaster. She has two entries for the race – Solvency (Ire) (Ardad {Ire}) and Atherstone Warrior (Ire) (Coulsty {Ire}). Now included in the High-Value Development Race Series, the season’s traditional curtain-raiser for two-year-olds, which is sponsored by British Stallion Studs (EBF), is now worth £40,000, as is the first two-year-old race at Chelmsford – a course now familiar to Haynes’s youngsters – which is to be run on Good Friday (March 29).

“I have an Ardad colt called Solvency and hopefully he will run in the Brocklesby. Obviously Ardad went a bit quiet last year because he would’ve had fewer numbers, but this year I’ve got two of them and I think he’s really going to come back with a bang. They’re for new owners, which is great. They’ve actually bought parts of different horses and they’ve bought this one on their own. I sourced him for them, he’s a nice size, and it’s exciting to have him.

“There’s a Far Above (GB) filly that is probably going to run at Chelmsford. That’s a 40-grand maiden and I think it’s a great incentive. Chelmsford missed out on having its Good Friday meeting last year but there’s really good prize-money on offer there this year and that’s what you need.”

It’s not just about the two-year-olds, of course. Haynes also admits to a soft spot for older sprinters and she has bought back the six-year-old Mashaan (GB) (Kodiac {GB}), who won twice for her stable in 2022 before being sold on. 

“He’d come down in the weights, and when you bond with a horse…I’m learning that in a three-year-old career, they do get a little bit lost, the sprinters, and then all of a sudden they’re back as four- or five-year-olds,” she says. “We also have Live In The Moment (Ire), the half-brother to [Nunthorpe winner] Live In The Dream (Ire), and he lost his way for a couple of years after going to Dubai. It’s nice to see the revival of the older horses,” she says.

“But basically, you’ve got to win with what you’ve got and that’s very much what I try to do. Whether it’s a 0-50, 0-60 [handicap], you still try and get the best out of them and then you can move them on and fill the box with something else.

“That’s why we are not afraid to run them. We run plenty of horses, I prefer to run them than to keep galloping them at home.”

 

The post ‘All Systems Are Go’: Haynes Aiming Enhanced Team at Brocklesby and Beyond appeared first on TDN | Thoroughbred Daily News | Horse Racing News, Results and Video | Thoroughbred Breeding and Auctions.

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