That moment - a touch before 4.30 on 5 April 2014 – will, surely, forever be seared into his memory. But if Dr Richard Newland ever needs to reassure himself that his 25-1 shot Pineau De Re’s mastery of Aintree’s Grand National fences, and the celebrations that ensued as he was hoisted aloft by his nephew Rupert and his companions was indeed reality and not fantasy, he only has to glance at a wall of his home at his Worcestershire stables.
It’s there in all its glory. Not a Bansky, maybe. But a unique piece of wall-art.
He recalls: “The day after the National, I went into a service station and bought all the newspapers with all the photos and reports. My wife (Laura) very cleverly turned all the cuttings into wallpaper.
Newland, 57 this month, and the father of three daughters, is rightly unashamedly proud of his feat and adds: “I’ll be quite honest with you, I do enjoy looking at it sometimes. It was a magical time, an amazing day.”
Yet, the stories within those newspaper cuttings suggested that a character who had run GP surgeries until the previous year, and was chief executive of CHS Healthcare, a business which helps the NHS discharge patients, was content for training to remain a hobby. At the time, he stabled 12 horses; his patrons primarily family and friends.
Yet, even as he protested that he trained horses “just for the fun of it”, and “I have no real plans to change because if I had more than 12 horses I wouldn’t really be able to cope” many will have harboured their doubts – scepticism that was more than justified by what confronts you today.
Today, Newland is master of two yards, the old and the new (completed early last year). “And every box is full,” he says. “We have 63 in training and obviously a few out of training, having breaks, whatever – that’s 80odd horses.
He explains the transformation in approaches since 2014, saying that he has more time to commit to racing following a switch from chief executive of CHS, his principal business, to chairman, meaning that he is no longer involved day-to-day.
His operation boasted 60 winners last year – his best since taking out a licence in 2006 – and at the time of writing, had sent out 22 winners from 116 runners this season.
Such impressive numbers have meant Newland has been up there, jostling shoulder to shoulder, with such prolific scorers as Dan Skelton, Fergal O’Brien and Olly Murphy, behind leader Paul Nicholls in this season’s jump trainers championship table (based on prizemoney won).
He has achieved this by astute handling of his charges and being rewarded for a purchasing philosophy of: buy low, aim high. He searches diligently, often in France and Ireland, for horses, particularly on the Flat, whose form has declined, but have displayed sufficient talent at one stage to suggest they will prosper from a change of environment, and a new challenge over obstacles.
Continue reading your story on the app
Continue reading your story in the magazine
IT'S ALL ABOUT CHELTENHAM
Ben Morgan thinks the flak thrown at Nicky Henderson over Altior was misplaced
WARMING UP FOR FINALS DAY
Ian Heitman has already seen plenty of action in the All-Weather Championships
THIS ROSE ONLY BLOOMED WHEN HE WANTED
Graham Buddry remembers the career of Derring Rose
HERO RON'S GOING STRONG AT AGE 93
Dave Youngman remembers the jockey who earned him a drink
Symonds is living his own dream
Nick Townsend talks to trainer Tom Symonds, once assistant to Nicky Henderson, now successful in his own right
MAROWN CAN PUT YOU ON RIGHT TRACK
Andrew Lowrie gives his view of some recent races
IT'S BALLYADAM FOR A FAST FESTIVAL START
Charlie McCann looks ahead to the Supeme Novices Hurdle
ELLIOTT'S ‘HORSE OF A LIFETIME'
Karl Hedley sees Envoi Allen power on
A SHOCKER OF A MONTH
Ben Morgan hopes the new year will see his luck changing on the punting front
Give Glance Second Look Despite Flop
Jeremy Grayson with some future winners from off racing’s beaten track
Snowdrops And Shelter
Amid the isolation of the national lockdown and unprecedented upheaval in the magazine industry, there is one place that helps keep celebrated media doyenne Jane Raphaely sane in our changing world…
Own Your Sport
Every month on these pages we celebrate sportswomen who have reached the top of their game – often against overwhelming odds. But the world of sport is so much broader than the elite athletes who compete at the highest level. There are also the support crews who put in the hours off camera to keep athletes in peak performance shape. And there are the weekend warriors – the ordinary women who may never wear green and gold on the international stage, but who have no less passion for their chosen sport. Just like top athletes, these women have to face an additional opponent whenever they step onto the field or track or course: doubt. So this month, two successful women are here to tell you that neither self-doubt nor the scepticism of others should hold you back. You deserve your spot. Own it.
Something Old, Something New
Grant Newland and Lucy Jones have created a fresh, new foodie pub at the King’s Arms in Haughley with a great menu and atmosphere
Classic With Clout
An eye for detail and clever planning transformed this house into a contemporary home with all the (quiet) bells and whistles the owner adores.