Park Farm Stables
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1895-1905 William Peter Grey
William Peter Grey, universally known as Billy, was born in Sheffield on 1st February 1853 but spent his first 4 years in Brighton, although his mother died when he was only 4, so he and his father returned to the County Kildare region of Ireland where his father had been born and spent his early childhood. In 1865 the pair returned to England where his father became a groom at Tupgill, Middleham when Tom Dawson was in charge, and Billy became an apprentice. Although he was not awarded his first ride until 1868, he managed to gain 18 wins in his first season, and the very next season he won the Portland Handicap at Doncaster aboard Argyle, but his best season was in 1870 when he dead-heated with Charlie Maidment in the Flat Jockeys Championship. In 1870 he won the Cumberland Plate on Sweet Sound and the Liverpool Autumn Cup on Exciseman. Billy married Margaret Rudder and the couple were blessed with 3 children, William Herbert, Sydney Vickers and Lillian Emma, the family living in Middleham. In 1871 he won the Queens Vase at Royal Ascot on John Johnstone's Christopher Sly. Arguably his best win was at Royal Ascot when he landed the 1872 Ascot Stakes aboard Molly Cobroy, although during that season he also won the Goodwood Stakes at Glorious Goodwood on Spennithorne, doubling up with the same horse in the Northumberland Plate at Newcastle. Although he was still riding regularly up to 1878, eventually weight became a problem and he began to focus on a training career, gaining a position with Mathew Dawson at Heath House, Newmarket. By 1885 he had successfully applied for a trainer's licence, training in Newmarket for Lord Cawdor, while in 1890 he moved to Sefton Lodge to train for the difficult to please Duchess of Montrose. He did manage to send out the winners of the 1890 St James's Palace Stakes, Jannisary, and the 1891 Queen's Stand Stakes, Lady Caroline at Royal Ascot for Henry Milner, husband of the Duchess.

He left Newmarket at the end of the 1893 season, training a string of 15 privately instead at Russley Park for Mr Dartmouth throughout 1894. However, in 1895 he became the first trainer at Park Farm stables on the Craven Estate in Upper Lambourn, although he found it financially challenging, but did remain there for a decade before he was eventually declared bankrupt in August 1905. Billy died just 4 years later at Southsea, aged 56, on Saturday 27th February 1909.
1871 Queens Vase at Royal Ascot CHRISTOPHER SLY 8/1 owned by John Johnstone, trained by Tom Dawson and ridden by Billy Grey
1890 St James's Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot JANNISARY 8/1 owned by Henry Milner, trained by Billy Grey and ridden by Tommy Loates
1891 Queen's Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot LADY CAROLINE 20/1 owned by Henry Milner, trained by Billy Grey and ridden by Richard Chaloner

I am grateful to Ordnance Survey (© Crown Copyright) for permission to use the 1830 map shown above.

1905 Edward Johnson
Edward Johnson, born in 1865 of French/American descent, trained in Chantilly up until 1903, even holding the indenture of Steve Donoghue at one point until his financial woes put paid to that, and Johnson then moved to Russley Park in 1904. He then moved his string of 12 horses to Park Farm to replace the bankrupt William Grey, holding a Flat licence for 1905 and 1906. By the end of 1905 he had been replaced by Ralph Moreton and moved to Althorp Lodge at Epsom where he remained for the next 4 years. He had further spells in Lingfield and at Ellesmere House, Newmarket, but always struggled to balance his books. When, in 1922, he moved to St Etheldreda House, Newmarket he was down to just 2 horses and famously complained that his financial difficulties were caused by the Jockey Club only granting him a temporary licence and, as a consequence, he was unable to pay rates or school fees for his 10 children. Ultimately, he returned to France to continue his training career.

1906-1931 Ralph Moreton
Ralph Moreton, known as Ginger, was born at Keele Park, Staffordshire on 4th August 1873 at a time some 22 years before Keele Park had its own racecourse. He served his apprenticeship with the legendary John Porter, although his mounts were few and far between as the stable jockey was Mornington Cannon, one of the 3 famous Cannon brothers. By 1895 his riding career was at an end because of his weight and in 1902 John Porter rewarded his loyalty by making him Head Lad. Within 3 years the wonderful training career of John Porter ended, but he was keen to support his Head Lad, encouraging him to apply for his own licence. After John Porter had completed his autobiography he asked Ralph whether he would be spending £2 to read what's in the book. Ralph replied that he might not spend £2 to read what's in the book, but would gladly pay £3 to read the bits about his life which he could not put in the book. In 1906 Moreton took charge at Park Farm, Upper Lambourn, replacing Edward Johnson, starting with an initial string of 11 horses. In 1911 he guided Maaz to victory in the Chester Vase for loyal owner Fred Gretton, and Gretton was still with him in 1922 when Moreton trained the Royal Hunt Cup winner Varzy at the Royal meeting. Within 2 years Moreton had notched up a further Royal Ascot success when Gretton's Iceberg landed the Coventry Stakes. In 1926 Bold Archer won the Gimcrack Stakes at York for owner H Shaw allowing him the honour of making the speech at the Gimcrack dinner. Ralph continued to train at Park Farm right up to the time of his death in Newbury on 29th March 1931.
1911 Chester Vase MAAZ 20/1 owned by Fred Gretton, trained by Ralph Moreton and ridden by Piper
1922 Royal Hunt Cup at Royal Ascot VARZY 20/1 owned by Fred Gretton, trained by Ralph Moreton and ridden by B Lynch
1924 Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot ICEBERG 9/2 owned by Fred Gretton, trained by Ralph Moreton and ridden by F Lane
1926 Gimcrack Stakes at York BOLD ARCHER 11/1 owned by H Shaw, trained by Ralph Moreton and ridden by Harry Wragg

1932-1945 Vernell Hobbs
Vernell Hobbs, born in 1875 at Peopleton, Worcestershire, was from a racing family, his brother trained at Saxon House. At the age of 16 Vernell worked at Saxon House, but by 1906 he had launched his own training career, training for Captain Purefoy at Pounds Farm, East Garston. After the War he trained privately for C Bower Ismay, although he was then enticed to Primrose Cottage, Newmarket by Frank Curzon. He moved to Cozey Lodge, Lambourn in early 1927 where he landed his very first National Hunt winner. He remained at Cozey Lodge for almost 3 years before departing to Heddington in November 1929. In February 1932 Hobbs had an opportunity to return to Lambourn, taking over from Ralph Moreton at Park Farm stables, although he only had a small string of 5 initially. However, by 1934 this had increased to 30, although he rarely achieved more than 13 winners in a season, most of them in lower class races. Nevertheless, he did send out the winner of the Portland Handicap at Doncaster. At the end of the War Hobbs retired from the training ranks and relocated to Worcester Park, Surrey in 1945, but it was a short retirement, for he died on 4th January 1946 aged 70.

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1945-1955 Henry Harry E Whiteman
Henry (Harry) E Whiteman was born in Ayr and began his training career in 1933 at Fairlawne Stables, although in the early part of his career he owned the licence but stable owner Peter Cazalet controlled the training. He remained at Fairlawne until 1940, and during those 7 years he was closely associated with Lord Mildmay, sending out Shipbourne to win a 1936 Chase at Fontwell when ridden by Lord Mildmay. In that same year he nearly landed the Grand National with 100/1 outsider Davy Jones owned by Anthony Mildmay and ridden by Lord Mildmay. It is worth hearing about the race from Harry Whiteman himself, 'I was on the Aintree stands and thought everything was going so well, with my two runners, Emancipator, ridden by Mr Cazalet, and Davy Jones, ridden by Mr Anthony Mildmay. Emancipator was travelling well in fourth place, three fences from home, when he fell. But I still had Davy Jones standing and going so nicely that I really thought myself certain to achieve the big ambition of every trainer of steeplechasers and win the Grand National. He took the third fence from home, and for me he was travelling better than his only serious opponent, Reynoldstown, who was carry 12st 2lb, conceding Davy a lot of weight. Davy Jones took the second last perfectly and success looked certain. But then he swerved to his left and out of the course and Reynoldstown was left with the race at his mercy. Later I found the buckle on his reins had loosened and that broke the rein. So that, try as he would, Mr Mildmay could not steer Davy Jones, who finished amongst the spectators gathered on the far side between the last two fences.' In 1940 Harry moved to Russley Park where he remained for 5 years until, towards the end of the War, he relocated to Park Farm, Upper Lambourn, taking over the 34 boxes left vacant by Vernell Hobbs. During his decade at Park Farm he had few winners of prominent races, but regularly won races under both codes at tracks as far apart as Folkestone and Ayr. In 1950 he shared part of his stable, the left hand side of the stable block, with his son-in-law Joe O'Shea who had married Harry's daughter Joan. Joe remained at Park Farm until 1951 before returning to the United States to train jumpers. In March 1951 he strengthened his string with a number of Irish imports, notably Miss Philae, Folie Star, Woldlight and Rose Melba. Whilst at Park Farm his owners included Colonel J Thomson, H Beaufoy, C C Wooton and G W Brocklehurst. In June 1955 Harry left Upper Lambourn, travelling 250 miles north by specially arranged train, to Place Newton, Wintringham, near Malton, taking with him his wife, his family, his string of 11 horses and his staff. He spent 6 years near Malton before returning to Ayr to train at Cree Lodge on the Craige Road in Ayr where he remained for the rest of his life. He retired from the training ranks in 1968, but enjoyed a long retirement, dying in Ayr in 1983, his wife died 5 years later.
1951 Avon Handicap at Bath CADENABBIA 7/1 trained by Harry Whiteman and ridden by E Gale
1952 Folkestone Handicap WYEDALE 10/11 fav trained by Harry Whiteman and ridden by Lester Piggott
1953 Welbeck Handicap Hurdle at Nottingham LANCEHEAD 9/4 fav trained by Harry Whiteman and ridden by Bryan Marshall
1955 Newbury Handicap FIRE PRINCE 100/8 trained by Harry Whiteman and ridden by J A Leavett-Shenley

1950-1951 Joe J O'Shea (Left hand part of the stable block)
Joe J O'Shea, a Canadian American, served in the Canadian Army during World War II and then travelled to England to ride for his great friend Graham Grant at Delamere Stables on the Folly Road. However, he then returned to the United States and enjoyed particular success with a chaser named Luan Casca before returning to Lambourn. He married Joan Whiteman, daughter of Harry Whiteman, and took over the left hand stable block at Park Farm between 1950 and 1951. Joe was enticed back to the USA in 1951, taking with him Joan, jockeys Jimmy Walker and E Pug Mackenzie, and 12 chasers from his Park Farm stables. He was financially supported by American jumping enthusiast Dave Dallas, a wealthy Pennsylvanian businessman, and raced at Belmont Park. Tragically, in October 1952 there was a fire in a stable block and all 12 horses were destroyed.

1954-1955 Patrick F Daly (left hand stable block)
Patrick Francis Daly was already training at Park Farm in August 1954 when he married Una Rosamund Neall, younger daughter of Captain and Mrs Richard Neall of Derrings, Manor Way, Aldwick Bay at Pagham Parish Church. Patrick trained a few horses at Park Farm between 1954 and 1955, using the left hand stable block vacated by Joe O'Shea, although he did not win any prominent races. However, he did send out winners at local tracks like Kempton, Newbury and Wincanton. He departed Park Farm in 1955 about the same time as Harry Whiteman, and Captain Pettifer then took charge for a brief period.
1954 Kempton Stakes GREGALACH'S NEPHEW 10/1 trained by Patrick Daly and ridden by D Fisher
1954 Wincanton Hurdle MARKET DAY 4/1 trained by Patrick Daly and ridden by J Hunter
1955 Minors Hurdle at Newbury GREEK COMET 11/2 trained by Patrick Daly and ridden by Jimmy Gilbert

1955-1956 Captain Tom R Pettifer
The last recorded trainer at Park Farm stables was Captain Tom R Pettifer who took charge in 1955, replacing Harry Whiteman who had moved north near to Malton. He trained a few moderately successful horses, often owning them as well, winning minor races at local tracks like Salisbury, Leicester and Warwick, but departed for Russley Park in 1956 where he continued to train for 2 years. At some stage afterwards Neil Fraser, a prominent Lambourn racing historian, moved to Park Farm and remembers Tom Pettifer.
1955 Rancliffe Selling Hurdle at Leicester HIGH ANT 10/1 trained by Captain T Pettifer and ridden by Ray Reader
1955 Wolverhampton Stakes race CRACKERJACK 4/1 trained by Captain T Pettifer and ridden by F Hunter
1955 Daventry Plate at Warwick THE THREE SWANS 20/1 owned and trained by T R Pettifer and ridden by F Hunter
1956 Chepstow Plate THE THREE SWANS 9/2 owned and trained by T R Pettifer and ridden by J Forte
1956 Salisbury Plate JUTLAND 10/1 owned and trained by T R Pettifer and ridden by Greville Starkey

Top 5 Park Farm Stable horses of all time
ICEBERG (1924 Coventry Stakes)
BOLD ARCHER (1926 Gimcrack Stakes)
VARZY (1922 Royal Hunt Cup)
MAAZ (1911 Chester Vase)
CADENABBIA (1951 Avon Handicap)
© John Slusar 2023

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