Based approximately 20 minutes from Tiverton, in picturesque village Rose Ash, Kayley Woollacott runs a point to point yard consisting of around 20 horses. Married to Richard Woollacott, the 2010/11 men’s champion point to point jockey & 9 time Devon & Cornwall champion, Kayley took over the training of the yard mid season in May 2012. Richard, who had previously trained the point to pointers has now turned his hand to National Hunt training and after a whirlwind first season of 16 winners from just a handful of horses it is clear that high standards and results are crucial.
Kayley was keen to prove in her first full season training that these standards would be upheld & with 25 winners for the season, including two impressive hunter chase wins, the yard finished up the leading yard in the Devon & Cornwall area and 3rd on the National table ranks. Results are imperative & the yard has consistently been the most successful Devon and Cornwall based point to point yard for several years and is something that Kayley will be fiercely defending in the coming season. Last season saw several impressive winners from the yard including the undefeated 3 time winner KUDU SHINE and ROBIN WILL, who won 2 point to points and gave Kayley her first Hunter Chase winner before graduating to Richard’s National Hunt yard. Both horses will be aimed under rules this season although Kayley is excited about some of her youngsters for this season “It’s what’s it’s all about, seeing the young horses progress and move on up through the ranks, hoping you may find a real star”.
Kayley believes that all horses should be treated as individuals, and the team work hard on tailoring the training regimes to suit the horses’ needs rather than slotting them into a regimented routine. Variation in the work schedule is key to keeping horses happy & the facilities play a big part in allowing this. A 4.5 furlong steep uphill woodchip gallop provides a good cantering surface whilst most of the fast work is done on one of the several grass gallops around the farm. The yard is lucky to benefit from an indoor arena, allowing horses to be exercised during extremities of weather & provides an excellent place to do loose school jumping and weekly flatwork on the youngsters. Jumping is a key factor for the routines at Big Brook & the horses tend to jump weekly once fit enough, whether it be in the school, through the little obstacles and cross country fences through the woods or over the actual hurdles & fences. By getting the horse used to using all their jumping muscles and schooling regularly it ensures that the horses are well prepared before their race and injury rates tend to be very low.
Both Kayley & Richard are constantly trying to improve the facilities & always looking for new ways of getting the best out of the horses in their care. This year has seen a new addition to the facilities in the form of a water treadmill, something that is proving invaluable for horses that have suffered leg problems in the past and means that like swimming, the horse can be exercised whilst taking the strain off of the limbs due to the buoyancy of the water.
A key factor for the yard and it’s continuing success has to be the quality and loyalty of the owners involved in the yard. “We are so lucky to have so many nice people behind us that understand we are trying our best for the horses”. The yard prides itself on its open house policy & although the official owners visiting day is a Tuesday they often have an owner in on various days to see the horses and catch up on progress. A friendly atmosphere can be guaranteed & the races provides a real day out everybody “The social scene is very much an important aspect of Point to Pointing as people are involved for the enjoyment and so we try to make sure we have plenty of food and drink flowing at the races whatever the weather & results!”
The team in the yard are an important part of keeping the place running smoothly and a happy team rubs off onto the horses. The team this year are a brilliant bunch with lots of experience behind them and really take pride in the fact they are part of such a successful establishment. Jamie Thomas, who joined the yard last season will take on more rides this year, whilst the yard have a couple of promising Novice Riders in Jake Bament & Heidi Lewis. “It’s nice to be able to try & support the novice riders coming through, particularly when they work so hard in the yard”.
This season several familiar faces will be back in training such as DEBS DASHER, LIGHTENING JACK & CHECKERBOARD along with some exciting new faces such as Mr Bingley, Templeton & Steeltown. “We are all looking forward to getting going again and we encourage anyone who would like to see the yard and what we do to get in contact and arrange a visit”. For more details have a look at www.richardwoollacottracing.co.uk to catch up on news from the yard and how you can get involved as the yard have several horses for sale or shares available in syndicates.
You can also read Carolyn Tanner’s trainer feature about Kayley on the national website.