Expanding the Team

February 6, 2012

Following the arrival of the latest horses we are delighted to welcome two new members to our team at Whitsbury, Dave Millington and Victor Santos who are both experienced horseman and excellent riders. Although English, Dave’s heart is down under having spent the last six years working in Australia and New Zealand for a mix of trainers and pre-trainers. The highlight of his time, was as stable foreman and main exercise rider for Jake Stephens who campaigned 2009 Melbourne Cup favourite Alcopop with an unconventional approach that captured the imagination of the Australian public just a couple of years after he began training. He brings a variety of ideas and carries that all important clock in his head for work riding. ┬áVictor is Portuguese and has worked for several top trainers including Luca Cumani and Sir Henry Cecil and has had a few rides on the flat – a natural horseman who weighs all of eight stone the duo should make a brilliant work riding team alongside Vicki Brooks whose showing background is invaluable in schooling horses to add strength and take the babies through their first ridden steps.

Training racehorses is part art and part science and we have invested in developing the science side of our facilities by purchasing a heart rate monitor and GPS system that helps to gauge a horses fitness and keep tabs on exactly how fast each piece of work is. Using the clock is something we learned a great deal about during our time in the US, the science is the time of the workout, the art is interpreting the time in relation to how easy the horse found the work and the way it moved during the work. We have also purchased a weighing scale – another useful tool in monitoring a horse’s health and fitness.

We’d also like to thank the team at Whitsbury for keeping the gallops useable despite temperatures that dropped to minus ten at one point over the weekend.