Flint Cottage Stables
If you can provide any photos associated with this stable, or additional information to fill any gaps then contact johnwslusar@gmail.com

1969-1981 Peter Poston
Peter Poston, born on 28th July 1913, made his fortune in the 1960s as the boss of a highly successful business based at Smithfield meat market in London. He used his money to indulge in his passion, horse racing, and when he could not get 'a desirable trainer' to train his horses for him he decided to train them himself. He applied for a Flat trainer's licence in 1962, launching his career training 20 of his own horses on his 120-acre Essex farm at Ingatestone. He must have thought the game would be easy when he scored with his very first runner, Faire La Nouba 25/1, at Lincoln which paid over £45 on the tote. He also won the Rosebery Stakes with Grand Avenue at 8/1. In 1969 he relocated to Exning, Newmarket, to train at what was then known as Raylands Stables on Rayes Lane. He insisted that he could run his stables, not as a profession but as a business, maximising the unique business opportunities on offer at that time. The Levy Board were keen to promote smaller racecourses, particularly those based in the North and in Scotland, by offering a travel grant of £35 per runner, equivalent today to £580. Poston, and his wife, purchased their own 8-box and 6-box horse carriers, cutting out the cost of a transport contractor, driving it to northern meeting themselves, occasionally spending the night in the box when attending Scottish meetings. He stationed the 6-box carrier at a yard he rented in Lanark, which cruised between Lanark, Edinburgh, Hamilton and Stockton, and when the runners got tired Peter drove the 8-box north to supply it with fresh horses and to take the tired ones back to his yard. Peter exploited to the full the chance to transport 8 horses to Hamilton Park, Lanark, Catterick Bridge, or similar Northern courses, collecting £280 (equivalent today to £4640) from the Levy Board irrespective of whether his horses won win or place prize money. Furthermore, he was keen to create a family atmosphere within his stables by promoting the use of his own apprentices. It saved paying the riding fee of a professional jockey and gave opportunities for up and coming apprentices, including Harry Ballantine, Bevan Freeman and Richard Hutchinson. Although he only had 36 winners between his launch in 1962 and his move to Newmarket in 1969, he was still able to run his stable profitably. He landed long priced winners like Dire Straits (50/1) and later (100/6) at Newcastle, Bramble (100/8), Patsy One (25/1), Grand Avenue (33/1) and Mill Green 8/1 and 10/1, although one of his best known, and best loved, horses was Pidgeon Toes. His star horse in the mid-1970s was Homefield, a 150 guineas purchase at the Newmarket sales, who achieved a winning sequence of 13 wins, 10 on the flat and 3 over the jumps, in the years between 1972 and 1976. He was renowned for running his horses frequently, often they went for long periods without winning, yet were still able to pay their way. The likes of Sound Advice lost 64 races but won at Lanark on Friday 24th June 1966 when 6/4 fav ridden by Bevan Freeman. Peter retired in 1981 and sold his yard to Mark Tompkins, who had begun training in 1979 with a £10,000 bank loan. Peter spent his retirement in Newmarket and died in 1991 aged 77.
1973 Milton Apprentice Handicap Stakes at Doncaster HOMEFIELD 4/1 owned and trained by Peter J Poston and ridden by Harry Ballantine
1973 Tennent Trophy at Ayr HOMEFIELD 14/1 owned and trained by Peter J Poston and ridden by Harry Ballantine
1973 Halifax Handicap at Catterick Bridge HOMEFIELD owned and trained by Peter J Poston and ridden by Harry Ballantine
1973 Austin Reed Trophy at Thirsk HOMEFIELD owned and trained by Peter J Poston and ridden by Harry Ballantine
1973 Cunninghame Handicap at Ayr HOMEFIELD owned and trained by Peter J Poston and ridden by Harry Ballantine

1979-2019 Mark Tompkins
Mark Tompkins, a proud Yorkshireman even though he was born in Leicestershire, first launched his training career in 1979 with a bank loan of £10,000, after serving apprenticeships with Walter Wharton, Willie Musson and Ryan Jarvis. He embarked on an ambitious project to purchase, refurbish and modernise Flint Cottage Stables on Rayes Lane in the CB8 8JP district of Newmarket. Although he was not born into a racing family, he was keen and eager to learn from the best, developing into one of the most respected Newmarket trainers, and a Classic winning one at that. He was a member of that rare breed of trainers who was equally adept with Flat and National Hunt horses, having landed a Classic on the Flat and a Champion Hurdle over the sticks.

NEWMARKET RACECOURSES
For over 4 centuries racing has been staged in Newmarket, but how have the racecourses evolved from an initial starting point at Fleam Dyke Pumping Station, some 8 miles from the town, with a winning post barely 200 metres from the town centre, into two world recognized, excellent racecourses and a universal acceptance that Newmarket is the Headquarters of racing?
To access an interactive racecourse map showing over 50 individually named racecourses CLICK HERE. The map will enable you to:-
1. Determine when extended races over 8 miles, 6 miles and 4 miles began to be replaced by the courses now visited by thousands annually;
2. Consider how the challenge of crossing the Devil's Dyke was overcome;
3. Contemplate why the town no longer has a steeplechase course despite having at least 5 courses during the past 2 centuries;
4. Examine the practicalities of having up to 48 starting posts and winning posts;
5. Appreciate that it was not financially viable to have an open racecourse spread widely across the heath, with a finishing post barely 200 metres from the town centre;
6. Research how and why the Cambridgeshire Handicap has been contested over 3 different courses.
NOTE: The map does not make mention of 2 particular courses:-
(i) Sefton Course (also known as the Cambridge Road Course)
Source: 1970 Raceform.  Used from 1959 to 1975.
(ii) New Circular Course
The Circular Handicap was run on Friday 29th October 1875 on the New Circular Course of about two miles.
Source: London Standard (30th October 1875): ''the horses started near the Turn of the Lands, ran back way of the Cambridgeshire Course towards the Ditch, and afterwards proceeded down the side of the Tan Gallop, and turned into the Rowley Mile near the Bretby Stakes starting post, finishing at the stand at the end of the flat. Except in the hollow near the Cambridgeshire start the runners should have been visible all the way if the sky had been bright and clear''.
Another report hoped that the Circular Handicap would become a feature in future programmes, as it would be contested in front of the new grandstand which would be completed in about a year and would be able to accommodate thousands.
(I am grateful to Tim Cox for bringing attention to these 2 courses.)
Enjoy researching the intriguing history of Newmarket and its many racecourses.
To enjoy the experience of a day at Newmarket races in May 1838 CLICK HERE

1991 Ascot Festival Treble


In 1991 Mark Tompkins experienced one of the high points of his career, sending 3 winners out to claim victories at the 1991 Ascot Festival of Racing on Friday 27th September 1991. It began with a victory for Virkon Venture (5/1 fav) owned by Mrs J Auchincloss and ridden by Allan Mackay in the A F Budge Limited Handicap. The middle leg of the treble was Gilt Throne (15/2) owned by Benny Schmidt-Bodan and ridden by Ray Cochrane in the Japan Festival Charity Cup Handicap. The final leg of the historic treble was landed by Canny Chronicle (4/1 fav) owned by Newcastle Evening Chronicle and ridden by S Mulvey in the Ewar Stud Farms Apprentices Handicap.

I am grateful to Ordnance Survey (© Crown Copyright) for permission to use the 1836 map shown above. Flint Cottage Stables is 4

Flat Career
Mark's most successful colt was Bobs Return, by Bob Back out of Quality of Life, a brown colt with white star born in 1990 at Baronrath Staud, Straffan County Kildare. In October 1991 he was purchased at the Goffs Sales by Mark Tompkins for 14,500 Irish pounds and ultimately given as a present to Jackie Smith by her husband. In a career spanning 15 races, Bobs Return won just 5 times, although they were all prominent races. He won the Listed Zetland Stakes at 2 years old, while aged 3 he won the Lingfield Derby Trial, the Great Voltigeur and the 1993 St Leger. In 1994 he had an unsuccessful four-year-old season and was sent to stud where his career was undistinguished. On 7th June 2012 Mark reached a memorable milestone by training 1000 winners, with Astroscarlet (14/1) recording the magic victory in the Royal Ascot Live on ATR Sky Handicap at Lingfield. Mark was denied a second Classic success in 2006 in the 2000 Guineas when his unfancied Even Top (40/1) was beaten by the shortest of short-heads by Mark of Esteem. He won the difficult Lincoln Handicap twice, the first time in 2004 with Babodana (20/1) when partnered by stable jockey Philip Robinson, and again in 2008 with Smokey Oakey (10/1) owned in partnership by Bryan Agar and the 1992 Oscar winning actress Judi Dench. Smokey Oakey went on to win the 2008 Brigadier Gerard Stakes at Sandown. In 2010 Mark trained Ted Spread to win the Chester Vase.

newmarket 1918e.JPG (26765 bytes) Newmarket 1940.JPG (18535 bytes) newmarket 1948e.JPG (10601 bytes)

National Hunt Career
Equally at home training hurdlers, Mark Tompkins won the 1992 Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle with Halkopous, and in the same year he won the Bula Hurdle. He was even more successful the next year when Staunch Friend won the Bula Hurdle and followed up with victory in the Scottish Champion Hurdle.

Mark retired in June 2019 having spent over 40 years as a trainer, eager to continue his career at Dullingham Park Stud.

In 1991 Flint Cottage Stables, along with its stable stars of the day, was shown in a limited edition print which is shown below. Amongst the horses shown on the print is Halkopous, who went on to achieve even greater things after 1991, winning the Fighting Fifth Hurdle and Bula Hurdle. Copies of the print are for sale on ebay for those interested in acquiring a copy.

2013-present
In Spring 2013 William Haggas purchased Flint Cottage Stables from Mark Tompkins with the express purpose of using it as his two-year-old yard. He also saw its potential in stabling new arrivals prior to moving them to Somerville Lodge, ensuring as far as possible to keep the main yard disease free.

1992 Fighting Fifth Hurdle HALKOPOUS 7/4 jt fav owned by Athos Christodoulou, trained by Mark Tompkins and ridden by Steve Smith-Eccles
1992 Bula Hurdle HALKOPOUS 8/1 owned by Athos Christodoulou, trained by Mark Tompkins and ridden by Adrian Maguire
1992 Zetland Stakes BOBS RETURN 14/1 owned by Jackie Smith, trained by Mark Tompkins and ridden by Philip Robinson
1993 Bula Hurdle STAUNCH FRIEND 6/1 owned by Benny Schmidt-Bodner, trained by Mark Tompkins and ridden by Declan Murphy
1993 Scottish Champion Hurdle STAUNCH FRIEND 5/1 owned by Benny Schmidt-Bodner, trained by Mark Tompkins and ridden by Adrian Maguire
1993 Lingfield Derby Trial BOBS RETURN 14/1 owned by Jackie Smith, trained by Mark Tompkins and ridden by Philip Robinson
1993 Great Voltigeur Stakes BOBS RETURN 16/1 owned by Mrs Jackie Smith, trained by Mark Tompkins and ridden by Philip Robinson
1993 St Leger BOBS RETURN (SR 1953) 3/1 fav owned by Jackie Smith, trained by Mark Tompkins and ridden by Philip Robinson
1996 2000 Guineas EVEN TOP 40/1, owned by Benny Schmidt-Bodner, trained by Mark Tompkins and ridden by Philip Robinson, was second beaten a short-head by MARK OF ESTEEM (SR 2123)
2003 Lingfield Derby Trail FRANKLINS GARDENS 5/1 owned by Mrs M Barwell, trained by Mark Tompkins and ridden by Darryll Holland
2004 Lincoln Handicap BABODANA 20/1 owned by M P Bowring, trained by Mark Tompkins and ridden by Philip Robinson
2005 Yorkshire Cup FRANKLINS GARDENS 13/2 owned by Mrs M Barwell, trained by Mark Tompkins and ridden by Darryll Holland
2006 Duke of York Stakes STEENBERG 25/1 owned by Kenneth Macpherson, trained by Mark Tompkins and ridden by Michael Hills
2008 Lincoln Handicap SMOKEY OAKEY 10/1 owned by Judi Dench and Bryan Agar, trained by Mark Tompkins and ridden by Jimmy Quinn
2008 Brigadier Gerard Stakes SMOKEY OAKEY 20/1 owned by Judi Dench and Bryan Agar, trained by Mark Tompkins and ridden by Jimmy Quinn
2010 Chester Vase TED SPREAD 8/1 owned by False Nose N Glass Partnership, trained by Mark Tompkins and ridden by Darryll Holland

© John Slusar 2020

ISBN 978-0-9957632-0-3

652 pages

774 former courses

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352 pages

400 former courses

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180 pages

140 former courses

ISBN 978-0-9957632-3-4

264 pages

235 former courses

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