Racing took place at Plumpton on Monday afternoon for the first time in six weeks and it proved to be a landmark day in the fledging training career of the young Sussex permit holder Daniel Steele as he sent out his first ever winner, quickly to be followed by his second.
The 28 year old former Head Lad to the leading Sussex trainer Gary Moore will quite simply never forget the hour in which firstly Hold The Bucks broke his duck and then According To Them bounced home in impressive style to give him a double at his local track.
Daniel has set up shop at Henfield after embarking on his new career having spent seven seasons with Gary Moore, firstly at Moore’s old Brighton yard and then at the impressive Cisswood stables near Horsham.
“My time with Gary was fantastic and as well as the boss I got to work with some great people such as his assistant David Wilson, Jamie (Moore) and Phillip Hide” reflected Daniel when I spoke with him.
He continued “There’s so much I learnt from them all but how to keep horses’ fit, healthy and happy is a lesson I have particularly taken with me. Those principles are fundamental to being a success. Monday was a great day for me and everyone connected to the stable and although I went into the day believing they both had winning chances I also know this game can sometimes make you look a fool. Gavin Sheehan rode Hold The Bucks just as I wanted him to. He gave the horse time to fill up down the back straight when he needed it and his timing was spot on. For me he’s one of the best conditional riders’ around and as for Freddie Mitchell (who rode According To Them) I can’t believe he doesn’t get more chances as an amateur. Again the timing he showed was just great.”
Daniel does a lot of the work riding at home but Mattie Batchelor quite regularly pops in to help out with the schooling.
There is a four furlong grass gallop at his Henfield yard and all the schooling facilities he needs but Daniel likes to take the horses’ out on the South Downs.
“I like to take them down to Sedlescombe because the turf on the Downs drains so well and has good quality. A number of mine came to me with leg problems but I believe working them there has helped improve their soundness and that’s borne out by how well they’re taking their racing.”
I asked Daniel what the plan is now for his two winners’.
“According To Them will go to Fontwell on Thursday week for a staying chase. He loves it there and the confidence from winning should improve him. Hold The Bucks will go to the next Plumpton meeting for a race over the same distance. I do believe both are still very well handicapped and if things go well can prove very competitive again.”
Daniel strikes me as a young man who has enjoyed a great education in his chosen profession and with the strength of mind to develop a bright future given the opportunities that are so important in such an unforgiving sport.