Brian Ellison was born in Newcastle upon Tyne on 28th June 1952, the same day red-hot favourite, Souepi, won the Pitmen’s Derby (Northumberland Plate) at Newcastle’s Gosforth Park racecourse. One of eight children, Brian’s father was a Tyneside shipbuilder, his mother worked as a cleaner in a Newcastle Hospital.
In his early years Brian’s passion was for football. He was a talented force on the pitch but at just 4ft 9” was considered too small to make it as a professional footballer and so he started thinking about becoming a jockey. Aged 14 Brian sat on his first horse and left school a year later to pursue a career in horse racing. At 17 he took out his conditional jockeys’ license and 20 years riding as a National Hunt jockey followed. In his final year race-riding Brian acquired his trainers’ license and in 1989 joined the training ranks proper when relinquishing his jockeys’ license. Brian says: “I loved riding but I rode some moderate horses. Tex was the best I rode. We beat the legendary Tingle Creek in a handicap chase in 1976.”
Spring Cottage Stables dates back well over 200 years and was the home to the famous late William I’Anson, owner and trainer of Blink Bonny who won the 1857 Epsom Derby at 20/1 and Blair Athol who won the Epsom Derby and St Leger in 1864.
Prior to Brian’s purchase in August 2000 trainer William Haigh occupied the yard. William trained from Spring Cottage Stables for 25 years and enjoyed a great deal of success.
There were 25 stables when Brian arrived at the yard. There are now 110 stables.