Set in the heart of historic Upper Lambourn, home to so many household names of the turf, Saxon Gate is just a stone’s throw away from over 500 acres of superb training grounds which are maintained by Jockey Club Estates to an exceptionally high standard. There is an extensive range of excellent artificial and grass gallops in close proximity to suit any horse and yet Saxon Gate also provides a secluded and safe environment for horses. In recent years, the yard has been home to champions such as Piccolo and Bint Allayl. Combining beautiful stable buildings, both period and contemporary, with a horse walker, lunging ring and excellent paddocks, this really is a wonderful environment for horses in training.
ARCHIE WATSON has spent his whole life around thoroughbreds. He grew up near Lambourn, the Valley of the Racehorse, and started riding out at the yard of Charlie Morlock as soon as he was old enough. After holiday stints with Alan King and Paul Webber and a summer with Graham Motion in the USA, his heart was already set on training racehorses.
On leaving school in 2007, Archie spent time working first at Shadwell Stud in Norfolk before completing a stud season at historic Windsor Park Stud in New Zealand. He spent bloodstock sale seasons working for leading consultancy Blandford Bloodstock and then travelled to South Africa. There he successfully managed a satellite yard for two seasons based in Summerveld, Kwa-Zulu Natal for leading trainer Alec Laird, handler of South African racing legend London News.
After a six-month spell in California shadowing trainer Simon Callaghan, who was at the time overseeing top class Grade 1 winner Belle Royale, Archie could not resist the lure of returning to the UK in 2012 when he was offered the unique opportunity to become assistant to leading English trainer William Haggas.
Archie was able to complete his equine education at the renowned Somerville Lodge in Newmarket by learning from Haggas and his wife Maureen. Working with a large string of horses containing plenty of quality firepower was a dream come true for Archie, who was there to witness Mukhadram winning the Group 1 Coral Eclipse for Haggas in July 2014. Further success was to follow with the likes of Besharah in the Group 2 Lowther Stakes at York, Storm The Stars in the Group 2 Great Voltigeur Stakes and Her Majesty The Queen’s Recorder in the Group 3 Acomb Stakes.
After four years in Newmarket, the chance arose for Archie to move back to Berkshire, where he has taken out a licence to train at historic Saxon Gate in Upper Lambourn. There, where names such as Mick Channon and National Hunt legend Fulke Walwyn enjoyed many highly successful years, is where Archie believes the time is right to embark on his own training career.