Born in 1966, Alan is a farmer’s son who has nurtured a passion for racing from an early age. As a teenager he went to work at David Nicholson’s Condicote yard, where he soon became Assistant, a position Alan would keep until the ‘Duke’s’ retirement 15 years later.
It was in December 1999 that he took out his own licence at Jackdaws Castle, where he trained 31 winners in six months. These included Anzum, who won the Grade 1 Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot and Relkeel, winner of the Grade 2 Bonusprint Hurdle at Cheltenham.
On 1 June 2000 Alan moved to Barbury Castle, which has since been improved and expanded in the quest for more winners. He has also made Barbury Castle into a home for his young family. Alan met his wife, Rachel, when they both worked for the ‘Duke’ and they were married in Antigua in 1997. They have a son Henry and a daughter Georgia.
ALAN’S CAREER TIMELINE
1984 – joins John Wilson
Alan started his racing career in 1984 with John Wilson at Cree Lodge Stables in Ayr. While he was there he looked after the 1985 Supreme Novices’ Hurdle winner, Harry Hastings.
1985 – joins David Nicholson
Alan moves down to Condicote in Gloucestershire to join David Nicholson as a stable lad.
1986 – Alan promoted to Assistant Trainer
Alan becomes Assistant Trainer to ‘The Duke’. Charter Party wins the Cheltenham Gold Cup this year.
1992 – move to Jackdaws Castle
Alan moves with David Nicholson to the purpose-built Jackdaws Castle were ‘The Duke’ was Champion Trainer twice and trained such greats as King George VI Chase, Barton Bank 1993; Carobee (Seagram Top Novices' Hurdle 1992); Mighty Mogul (Christmas Hurdle 1992); Thetford Forest (Sun Alliance Novices' Hurdle 1992); Viking Flagship (Queen Mother Champion Chase 1994 and 1995); Putty Road (Sun Alliance Novices’ Hurdle); Moorcroft Boy (Scottish National 1996).
1999 – Alan starts training career
In December 1999 Alan starts his training career when he takes over from David Nicholson at Jackdaws Castle after ‘The Duke’s’ retirement.
First winner as a trainer
On December 4, 1999 Alan trains his first winner, Mini Moo Min at Towcester.
First Grade 1 winner
On December 18, 1999 Anzum wins the Grade 1 Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot. Alan makes it a Graded double on the same card when Toto Toscato wins the Noel Novices’ Chase (Grade 2).
Moves to Barbury Castle
On June 1, 2000 Alan and Rachel move to Barbury Castle Stables in Wiltshire.
First winner at Barbury
On October 13, 2000 – Diva, ridden by Warren Marston – is Alan’s first winner from Barbury.
First Aintree Festival winner
Stromness provides Alan his first Aintree Festival winner on April 2, 2002.
First Flat winner
Salsalino provides Alan with his first Flat winner on August 14, 2002.
First Cheltenham Festival winner
On March 16, 2004 Fork Lightning wins the William Hill Handicap Chase, giving Alan his first Cheltenham Festival winner.
Katchit wins Champion Hurdle
On March 11, 2008, Katchit, ridden by Robert Thornton, wins the Champion Hurdle.
On April 30, 2008, Shipmaster owned by Nigel Bunter, wins the Group 3 Sagaro Stakes at Ascot.
1000 winner landmark
Ulys Du Charmil brings up Alan’s 1000th winner as a trainer when winning on May 20, 2012.
1000th National Hunt winner
On December 13, 2013, Sego Success brings up Alan’s 1000th National Hunt winner as a trainer.
Grumeti wins CesarewitchOn October 10, 2015, Grumeti wins the Cesarewitch at Newmarket under Adam Beschizza at odds of 50-1!
Paddy Power and Hennessy DoubleNovember 2015 was a very successful month with Annacotty winning the Paddy Power Gold Cup at Cheltenham followed by Smad Place winning the Hennessy at Newbury in impressive fashion.
Primitivo wins King George V at Royal AscotAlan’s first Royal Ascot winner, Primitivo, wins the King George V Handicap under William Twiston-Davies.