Our Current Trainers
Mark Walford – Based in Sheriff Hutton near York
Mark Walford was brought up around racehorses – his father Tim has trained winners on the flat and over jumps for over 15 years at the yard on the family farm.
Mark’s interest in racing began with a job riding out at Mick Easterby’s during the school holidays. This led on to success as a point to point and amateur jockey alongside his full time job; he rode more than 80 winners while riding as an amateur jockey.
He started his training career as Pupil Assistant to Mick Channon before moving back to Yorkshire to work as John Quinn’s Assistant Trainer for two years. Before making the move to work in the family business as Assistant in 2008, Mark spent a spell working in America with top US trainer Neil Drysdale.
Tim and his wife, Gill, began with just two or three point to pointers and have built the yard up to over 30 horses. It continues to be a family business with Tim now acting as Assistant while Gill also is an integral part of the team and Mark’s wife Molly works in the office part time.
Having taken over the trainer’s licence in February 2014, Mark is keen to continue the yard’s success with horses under both codes. Mark aims to build upon his parents’ hard work and achievements, he has ambitions to expand the yard in size and quality.
Our yard has an extensive range of facilities which allows us to prepare the horses to their full potential without travelling to public services.
We have expanded the yard to forty boxes which vary in style to allow us to house each individual where they are best suited whether that be to provide companionship from others or to give them peace in a quiet corner.
We have several well maintained and secure paddocks to allow us to turn out the horses daily to graze and relax.
To exercise the horses we have a five stall horse walker, a lunging ring which we use to break in young horses and to loose school, as well as a sand arena and various jumps. We also school the horses over fences and hurdles on a grass surface and familiarise the flat horses with starting stalls in our own set of three bay stalls.
Most importantly we have our own seven furlong all-weather gallop comprising of sand and rubber which allows us to keep the horses fit to race in all seasons.
Jason Ward – Manor House Stables – Middleham, Yorkshire.
R Jay Ward Racing was established in 2010 by Jason Ward after he retired from a long and successful career as a jockey, work rider and assistant trainer.
Jason, who is son of famous Doncaster trainer Bob Ward and grandson to champion jockey Charlie Ward, has ridden more than 500 professional races in his career in all corners of the globe, including the UK, the Scandinavian Circuit, France and Germany. Even riding winners for Lester Piggott! He has also worked as a work rider in New York, Toronto and Los Angeles.
He started his training career as an assistant trainer to James Fanshawe in Newmarket, where he stayed for seven years working with numerous top class horses. He has also worked for some of the biggest stars in the racing world, including Criquette Head (France), Patrick Biancone (Los Angeles), Dave Bell (Toronto and New York), Mick O’Toole (Ireland), Peter Lautner (Germany) and also The Irish Cavalry. The year before he started his own operation he was head lad to Richard Whitaker, when the yard enjoyed its most successful year in more than 10 years.
Jason established his own training business in Middleham in July 2011, where he occupies the town’s most famous yard, Manor House Stables, otherwise known as the Dante Yard.
Dante, the last northern trained Derby winner, was foaled and raised at Manor House Stud but was trained at Manor House Stables, a historic plaque adorns his stable
Manor House Stables – colloquially known as the Dante Yard – is located in Middleham, North Yorkshire, the north’s premier training destination, in the shadow of Middleham Castle. It boasts stabling for 40 horses plus all facilities including: five acres of prime limestone pasture, all-weather lunge ring, horse walker, excellent access to gallops and schooling grounds etc.
The town is centrally located and within one hour’s drive of nine race courses. Middleham is steeped in racing history and folklore and currently home to 14 top trainers. It boasts world class facilities including grass and all-weather gallops and an extensive therapy centre.
Collectively, Middleham’s trainers have won more than 400 races each year for the past 38 years and every major race in the country has been won by a horse trained in the town.
The most famous of these is Dante – winner of the 1945 English Derby and last horse trained in the north to achieve the accolade.
Dante was bred by Sir Eric Ohlson at Manor House Stud in Middleham and trained at Manor House Stables. At age two he was undefeated in six races, notably winning the Coventry and Middle Park Stakes at Newmarket and at three triumphed in England’s most prestigious race, the Epsom Derby.
The Dante Stakes, which is run annually at York Racecourse, main Epson Derby trial, is named in his honour and a plaque commemorating his life can still be seen above his stable at Jason’s yard in Middleham today.