From The Archives - Trainer Jamie Snowden

Lambourn Trainer Jamie Snowden, formerly an assistant to Nicky Henderson, rode over 100 winners as an amateur jockey. Jamie talked to Thoroughbred People about his experiences, views and ideas on racing.


How It Started

Having ridden from an early age, I began Point-to-Point race riding when I was 16 years old, and I was lucky enough to ride many winners in that sphere.  As it all progressed I rode more under rules, and I rode many good winners as an amateur, however training was always the long term objective.

First Big Race Memory/Memories

It has to be the Grand National – I always dreamed of riding the winner.

First Job In Racing

I rode out for a Point-to-Point trainer in Dorset called John Dufosee. He got me hooked on the game.

My Start as a Trainer

Having been an assistant for Paul Nicholls, I moved on to Nicky Henderson where I was the amateur jockey and assistant trainer.  Unfortunately I broke my ankle very badly in a fall, and therefore I did the trainers course whilst I was off.  Two years later I began training in my own right.

The Best Things about Training Racehorses

Seeing all my teams’ hard work coming to fruition in providing winners.  However, I love seeing horses progress, and mature.

The Toughest/ Most Challenging Parts of the Job

It has to be telling an owner any bad news.

What I’m Better at Now Than When I Started

Being patient – when you start you want everything to happen immediately, but that doesn’t often happen, so patience is a virtue.

My Kind of Horse

I love a horse that wants to win – a trier, a horse that has a big heart.  We all want physically correct horses, but they are not always the best ones. As far as confirmation is concerned, a horse that is back at the knee is always going to put extra pressure on tendons, so I would avoid buying a horse with that fault.  I can live with most other faults.

My Horses

Most Gratifying Training Performances

- Seeing Graduation Night progress since going chasing – it was fantastic to give Sir Martin Broughton a winner at Ascot on a Saturday.

- Training Knighton Combe to win the Summer National for my parents, who also bred him.

- Ixora winning at Cheltenham in the autumn ’10 – our first Cheltenham winner.  

Tricky to Train

It has to be Marsh Court, who had been in training with several other people before coming to us, and giving me our first winner.  She came with the most terrible reputation, but with the help of Kate, (my head girl), we coaxed 4 wins out of her.

Horses That Might Have Been

We had a lovely mare called Identimin, which we trained to win a Point-to-point.  She was a lovely mare, but was injured soon afterwards.

Hardest Triers

Past: Knighton Combe – tough as nails when he gets into a fight.  I remember at Newbury when he scraped home by a neck in a fighting finish.  It was only his will to win which got him home in front.

Present: Ballyboker Boy – I think he will be a star, and he hates pulling up at home after a piece of work....

Best Jumpers

Of a hurdle:

Celticello – quick and accurate. Ixora – came to us as a ‘suspect’ jumper, has improved dramatically and was electric when she won at Cheltenham earlier in the season.

Of a fence:

Too Forward – he was awesome.  Never got a fence wrong in the time we trained him, and that included jumping around Aintree and winning our first Saturday race at Wincanton. Graduation Night – a natural chasing type.  He has now won 3 times over fences from 3 runs.

Biggest Equine Personalities & Characters

Marsh Court – didn’t like people, and only Kate (our head girl) could ride her! Mista Rossa – a real attention seeker, and loves it when owners turn up at the yard.  He pulls the strangest faces!

Quickest, Most Natural Speed

Bid Art – instant acceleration. Ixora – she will stay 3 miles yet has won 3 times over 2 miles.

Most Highly Strung/Difficult

Definitely Marsh Court for all the reasons already mentioned. Tea Caddy – she has her own mind sometimes, and we’ve worked hard to harness that energy.

Hardest Pullers

Bollitree Bob – needed a gag on to take for a walk down the road! Definitely Marodima – ask James Luck how he ended up in Wantage when Marodima first came over from France for the Million in Mind syndicate, and was trained by Oliver Sherwood in Lambourn.

Hardest To Keep Sound

Barton Grey – she was a lovely mare, but had fragile tendons, and then broke her pelvis. We never got her onto the track. 

Best Work Horses (Whether or not they show it on the course)

Bid Art – a very quick horse that was plagued with wind problems. American Ladie wa a very decent work horse – he won for us as well as being placed numerous times.

Horses to Follow

Ixora – will go for the Coral Cup at the Festival, but will be an awesome novice chaser.

Ballyboker Boy – a sure fire winner of a novice hurdle.

Millers Reef – a very versatile, fun horse who is in the Jamie Snowden Racing Club. (Shares available.)

Miss Milborne – made for mares staying races.

Graduation Night – won 3 out of 3 since going chasing.

Caminero – won his only Irish Point-to-Point start, and looks an interesting new recruit to the yard, and is for sale.


Horses From The Past

Remittance Man – I loved the way he jumped and travelled.

Jockeys From The Past

John Francome – a natural horseman.

Trainers From The Past

Vincent O’Brien – the best trainer of flat and National Hunt horses.

Current Racing Presenters

Alice Plunkett – a natural, and lovely person.

Current Commentators

Simon Holt – clear and precise.

Racing Changes

Best Changes in Racing in Recent Years

The development of Ffos Las racecourse – a lovely track with excellent facilities for horses and owners alike.

Worst Changes

The level of prize money which has dropped and dropped.

Changes I Would Like To See Happen In Racing For Myself as a Trainer

A proper break between seasons – horses, staff, jockeys, and trainers (and their families) all need a break at some point.

Changes I Would Like To See Happen In Racing to Improve the Popularity and Health of Racing

The BHA sticking up for racing, and not having to change everything for the sake of appeasing a minority.

Soapbox Please also feel free to take this opportunity to express your opinions and ideas on any other topics you would like to say something about

Australia reduced the size of their steeplechase fences, and they had more fatalities – the slower you go the less fatalities there are, so I don’t think they need to make the Grand National fences any smaller.

Key Staff

Head Lad: Kate Robinson – a tireless worker and an excellent role model for all the staff.

Travelling Head Lad: Neil Blackhouse – turns the horses out immaculately.

Other Key Staff: We have a fantastic bunch of staff, and they create a lovely atmosphere for the horses to thrive in, and the owners to enjoy.

To Prospective Owners Do you have room for any more horses at the moment and if so what can you tell potential owners about the experience you can offer them?

- There is always room for more horses, especially decent horses.  We are making a conscious effort to increase the quality of horses here.

- The Jamie Snowden Racing Club is available as a less expensive way of owning a horse (see website –

- We are a family run, honest and fun yard, which prides itself on delivering a quality experience for owners.

If I Had To Swap Being Me to Become Someone Else In Racing for a Few Days...

A wealthy owner – and I’d send all my horses to an excellent up and coming trainer called Jamie Snowden.




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