National Racehorse Week offers rare glimpse into life at Sussex trainers' yards

The work of a racehorse trainer has always had attached to it a certain amount of secrecy, a question of “What really happens behind closed doors?”.

Gary Moore watches his string at work at Cisswood
Gary Moore watches his string at work at Cisswood

But now there is a perfect opportunity to see these equine operations in full flow as National Racehorse Week is staged.

From September 12 to 19, some of the UK’s most prolific stables will be opening their doors to showcase their work to the public (for free). Locally, we will be treated with Gary Moore, Dianne Grissell, Nick Gifford and Suzy Smith opening their gates to feast our eyes on their stable stars.

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I had the chance to visit Cisswood Racing Stables to spend the morning with Gary Moore ahead of National Racehorse Week. First and foremost, it’s fair to say the conspiracists who were hoping to see a cloak-and-dagger style operation will be extremely disappointed.

Shallwehaveonemore in his stable

Upon arrival, there was a warm buzz in the air as the fifth lot went out for their morning exercise.

Gary, accompanied by his two youngest sons Josh and Jamie, who ride on the jumps circuit, and daughter Hayley, who is part of the Sky Sports Racing team, were trotting down to the six-furlong gallop for their next piece of work.

Having ridden his third lot of the day, it was evident the 65-year-old trainer aimed to leave no stone unturned as he washed down one of his stars who was enjoying some grass.

As we stood and watched the next lot gallop past, it was clear that Gary didn’t just have respect for his equine counterparts, but he also had admiration for them. Listening to the specific personalities and idiosyncrasies of each horse emphasised the bespoke care put in to ensure every individual was treated like a king (or queen).

The much-loved Goshen

And it wasn’t just the current stars that were given the VIP treatment, as Sire De Grugy, the 2014 Champion Chase-winner and stable stalwart, was loving life in retirement, while Gary’s grandson and pony Cuddles were both seen sharpening up their show jumping skills.

If you are new to the sport and wish to see what happens behind the scenes, or alternatively just fancy a visit to one of these brilliant yards, click here to reserve a space.

Already have your trip to Lower Beeding to pay Gary Moore a visit? Here are a few names to look out for:

Goshen - Grade 2-winning hurdler who was unfortunate to unseat Jamie Moore in the 2020 Triumph Hurdle.

Houka D’oudairies

Botox Has - A novice chaser who made a big impression over hurdles last year.

Sire De Grugy - The 2014 Champion Chase winner enjoying his retirement at the grand age of 15.

Houka D’oudairies - A glorious grey filly who remains unbeaten after landing two victories in France.

Shallwehaveonemore - An exciting four-year-old who won his sole start at Kempton in March - looks an exciting prospect for this year.

Champagne Piaff - A lightly raced three-year-old who won cosily on his second run of the season last month at Windsor.

Marks Bear - A winner at the Racing League last month.