It’s a success story to savour. Not quite rags to riches, but, in the notoriously competitive world of horse racing, as near to it as makes no difference. In the space of less than 15 years, Richard Fahey has gone from being yet another enthusiastic recruit, starting out with just a handful of horses, to becoming one of the country’s major players with more than 100 horses on his books.
By any standards, it’s been a massive ascent, from the ground floor to the heady heights of Royal Ascot glory and Pattern race achievement in England, Scotland, Ireland and France, a record of continued success, which speaks volumes for the ambitious nature, the hunger for winners, and the instinctive training talents of the man who has made it happen.
Richard Fahey has built his training career on the back of a successful stint as a jockey. Although refreshingly self-deprecating about his riding abilities, he chalked-up just over 100 winners, under both codes, in ten years in the saddle, the highlight of which was sharing the conditional jockeys’ title.
“I wasn't good enough, wasn't enjoying it and couldn't see a future in it, so I gave it up before it gave me up,” is Fahey’s succinct reflection of his days as a jockey.
For a while afterwards, he concentrated on buying and selling a few horses and running a livery yard before he was encouraged by friends to give the training game a whirl. It’s a decision he has never had cause to regret.
From starting out, in the summer of 1993, from Manor Farm, Butterwick, near Malton, with a string which barely reached double-figures, Fahey has never looked back.
Seven years in, and he got his name on the Royal Ascot roll of honour, courtesy of the horse, who did most to get his trainer noticed; the wonderful Superior Premium – a horse he’d bought as a yearling for only 2,800gns - who clinched a 20-1 triumph in the Cork And Orrery Stakes under Johnny Murtagh.
It was the start of something big. Having quickly elevated himself into the top 20 trainers in the country, Fahey has since progressed further up the ladder, thanks to consistent success and a natural aptitude and insatiable appetite for training horses that few can better.
Recent seasons have seen Fahey come firmly to the fore, his uncanny knack of being able to improve, season on season, being much in evidence.
In 2002, he won more than £500,000 for the first time in a Flat season. The following year, he did it again, while in 2004, his runners, which included 77 winners, raked-in a sizeable £740,000, and in 2005 – his first full year in his new yard at Musley Bank, Malton - the goalposts were raised again when Richard saddled 79 winners in Britain and accumulated just over £800,000 in prizes for his lucky patrons.
The progressive trend has continued. In both 2006 and 2007, he went through the £1m prize money barrier, an achievement only a handful of trainers are able to claim.