In The Spotlight | Love The Racehorse with Warren Greatrex

Features | 6th August 2021

Warren Greatrex gives his views on the importance of National Racehorse Week as well as insight into what he and his team do to keep his horses fit, happy and healthy.

Warren Greatrex is a top Jumps trainer, producing big Graded winners such as Cole Harden, One Track Mind, La Bague Au Roi and many more.

The Lambourn-based trainer enjoys success on the track but the most important thing to him is having horses that are enjoying their lives and enjoying being racehorses. Find out more…

What do you think of National Racehorse Week?

It’s a great idea. It’s important to show racing fans and non-racing fans exactly what we do and how well horses are looked after with all the care and attention they get. Also, to show that the people working with these horses’ day in day out how much they love them.

Credit: Warren Greatrex Instagram

How hard do you and your team work to make sure racehorses are fit, healthy and happy?

Keeping the horses happy and healthy is the most important thing. If the horses aren’t fit and well in themselves then they won’t perform to the best of their ability and that goes back to the lads and lasses being happy as well.

Keeping the staff around me happy is something I’m very keen on and that does translate to the horses.

Warren Greatrex team. Credit: Ian Yeates, Head Lad
Warren Greatrex team. Credit: Ian Yeates, Head Lad

How many different people such as vets, farriers etc. are involved with your horses to keep them physically and mentally sound?

Alongside all our brilliant full-time staff, we have a farrier that’s in everyday and we have an equine physio that’s in once a week.

We also have a chiropractor that comes in at the beginning of the season and gives every horse a once over so we know the horses that will need more attention than others like any human athletes some bodies can adapt with the rigours of training more than others.

There’s a nutritionist that comes in once a month to organise the feed and check we’re all happy with everything. On top of that, there’s a vet that calls in every Monday just to check if there’s anything that we need to look at and they’re only 10 minutes away so they’re ready to come over anytime.

Credit: Traveling head girl - Taylor Pook Instagram

Do you treat your horses individually depending on their personality, strengths, weaknesses etc.?

It’s very important to treat each horse individually, it makes sure they’re happier and more ready to perform on track.

There are some horses that need more rigorous training than others to keep them race fit again just like human athletes.

For example, La Bague Au Roi was a very good mare, she pretty much kept herself fit, she was very active as she loved to exercise and train hard. Cole Harden, who was another very good horse, was very different to La Bague Au Roi, he took longer to get fit and to keep fit so more training was required.

La Bague Au Roi (left) and Cole Harden (right)
La Bague Au Roi (left) and Cole Harden (right)

We make sure the lists of exercises they do day-to-day, are done the night before so we’re constantly adapting to how the horses have been feeling and performing everyday.

After the horses have done their morning workouts, most like to go in the field to get some grass and fresh air but it depends on the individual situation, some horses prefer being in their stable and relaxing to themselves so whichever each horse prefers.

It’s all about building up a profile of the horse, understanding them physically and mentally as well as learning constantly how to make them as fit, healthy and happy as possible.

When your horses retire, which new homes do they go to and what steps do you take to make sure they’re at the best kind of home for them?

I train for quite a few of owner breeders so the plan for the mares would be to go and have foals. Three of my horses that have retired recently have gone to members of staff that loved the horses when they were here, and the owners have kindly let them have the horses.

My staff with ex-racers are looking after them before, in-between and after work whether it’s a riding horse, showjumping, showing or just taking care of them in their older age.

We make sure our horses go somewhere that can properly look after and manage them because some aren’t the easiest to handle. It’s a big thing for me that they do find a good home and I will always make sure that is the main importance.