The yard was a little quiet this morning, as at the weekend we said goodbye to stable apprentice Nathan Alison. Nathan has been with me for 8 years, and held his licence for the last 5 of those. I still remember the day he walked through the door as a 15yr old who had never touched a horse, let alone sat on one. A budding footballer, his lack of stature had held him back from progressing in that sphere, so a friend had recommended he tried his hand at horse-racing, and brought him down to our yard for an interview. Through a combination of hard graft, determination, good manners and ability, he has hauled himself up to compete with guys who have been riding horses all their lives.
When the opportunity came up for him to join William Haggas in Newmarket, we both immediately knew it was the right move for Nathan. I have taken him as far as I can at South Hatch, and to be able to take the next step in his career he needs a bigger yard behind him, and there could be few places better for this than the powerful stable of William Haggas. Not only do they have the quality and quantity of horses needed, but William is a lovely guy who I’m sure will do right by Nathan.It is a real shame to lose a rider of his calibre from the yard, but we all need the chance to progress in our careers, and this is certainly Nathan’s big chance.
I’ve really enjoyed seeing Nathan progress up to this point, from the raw teenager who didn’t even know how to brush a horse, to the accomplished young man who has been responsible for some lovely rides, the highlight of which has probably, for me, been Ree’s Rascal at Newbury earlier this season. I’m sure he will enjoy the chance of teaming up with him again at Goodwood on Thursday.
In the meantime, I’ll be following his career avidly and hoping it all works out for him. He still has plenty to learn, but with a bit of luck and a following breeze he will continue up the ladder. He had a cracking send off on Saturday night – even Pip and I managed to end up in an Epsom ‘nightclub’ till the early hours, which we are getting far too old for these days – which is a measure of the affection the racing crowd in Epsom have for him. Good Luck Nathan, we’re all rooting for you.