Alan is a farmer’s son who has nurtured a passion for racing from an early age. As a teenager he went to work at David Nicholson’s Condicote yard, where he soon became Assistant, a position Alan would keep until the ‘Duke’s’ retirement 15 years later. It was in December 1999 that he took out his own licence at Jackdaws Castle, where he trained 31 winners in six months. These included Anzum, who won the Grade 1 Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot and Relkeel, winner of the Grade 2 Bonusprint Hurdle at Cheltenham. On 1 June 2000 Alan moved to Barbury Castle, which has since been improved and expanded in the quest for more winners. He has an amazing record; including 15 Cheltenham festival winners and 29 Grade 1 winners.
The Barbury Estate has multiple gallops, varying in distance and surface. The majority of the exercise takes place on the Sharpridge hill gallop, consisting of an Eco-Track surface. Stretching 5 furlongs and sculpted into one of the many hills, climbing 300ft, it provides the horses with a test of fitness and conditioning without being too severe. With an extra furlong being added to gallop it gives alternative distances to work the string, depending on the individual’s training regime. The ‘Old’ gallop provides an alternative to Sharpridge, with its less demanding climb and one sweeping left hand bend.
Running parallel to this is one of the many grass gallops, which can be used weather/ ground permitting to prepare the string for life on the racecourse. With ample grass coverage and good drainage, they are assured of the best possible ground for exercise, ‘The Barbury Mile’ grass gallop, with plenty of undulations provides a key part in the horse’s education, allowing them to learn how to balance and use themselves correctly.
The sand gallop is situated next to the schooling grounds, it is approximately one and a half furlongs around and consists of sand and rubber based surface. The gallop rides on a slight camber and is used as a warm up canter for horses before they school. This gallop can be seen used to good effect in the aid of teaching the horses to relax and enable the horses to find a rhythm in their cantering, and again like the mile gallop, the horse learns to balance themselves correctly, and is a great alternative to the conventional gallops at our disposal.
Another key feature in the horse’s training is the estate itself. With almost 2000 acres of land, many bridleways and tracks, the horses need not see a gallop and fitness can be maintained thanks to the rolling hills and vast expanse of the estate. This can be also used as a great means to freshen the horses up and be beneficial both physically and mentally.
Stables and Spa: The ‘Barbury’ yard is separated into 5 barns, with each barn providing the horses with a blend of excellent ventilation and shelter from the elements. The spa is a key component in the aid of a horse’s recovery. It provides any individual with niggling issues a perfect opportunity to recuperate after the rigours of a mornings exercise.
The outdoor school: Has many uses, it is where all the string congregates each lot to warm up and to be organised into their work groups. It is also where the horses begin their jumping education, with a row of logs running through the middle of the school, two easy fix hurdles, barrels and poles, it is a great starting point in learning a sound technique.
The schooling grounds: These are an essential part of the regime, and during the winter months will be used twice a week. There’s an all-weather strip with 3 easyfix hurdles, which is essential because the remaining obstacles are based on grass, which can only be used ground permitting. On the grass there are 2 lines of birch fences, consisting of 3 fences in each line, both varying in size and also a line of easy fix fences, and a line of wooden hurdles.
We are delighted to welcome Alan and think that Lexington Law will thrive at Barbury Castle as he moves codes.