Tom Clover is hoping Soldierpoy can propel him into the big time by winning the Weatherbys Super Sprint on Sunday.
The handler is married to Jackie Jarvis, daughter of late trainer Michael Jarvis, who landed many of the game’s biggest prizes from Kremlin House in Newmarket, where Clover now trains.
Soldierpoy finished second at Windsor on debut before winning at Thirsk and Clover is feeling more pressure than normal heading into the race given several members of his family are among the Shimplingthorne Syndicate, which owns the juvenile.
“Both my brothers (Josh and Charlie) and my mother (Jackie) are involved in the syndicate, so there’s a bit of pressure on him to run a big race on Sunday!” said Clover.
“This is the only horse they are involved in. I trained a pointer for my brother Charlie and Josh is a polo player and this is his first horse. His wife and father-in-law are involved as well – it’s a real family affair, with friends as well. They all own about a hair, but the WhatsApp group is quite good fun.
“Soldierpoy seems very well. Obviously he’s got a bit to find with the likes of Get It and Happy Romance, but as a strong traveller, we’re hoping a race like the Super Sprint will hopefully suit him.”
Clover is only 34, but has already held a licence for over three years and is approaching 12 months in the Kremlin House hotseat.
“We moved here in September and it’s just a fantastic place to train racehorses, I’m very lucky to train from here,” he said.
“We started from scratch three and a half years ago and always wanted to try to get back to Kremlin.
“We rented stables for the first few seasons, but with Simon and Ed Crisford moving yards it became available, sooner than we were anticipating really. We’ve got 37 in now, so we’ve room to grow.
“It lends itself so well to training horses, we’ve got a house on site and with my wife and mother-in-law Gay helping out, it’s nice to have them around the place.
“I can only hope to be as successful and have the longevity that my late father-in-law did.
“Gay will walk around saying ‘Rakti was in this box, Carroll House was in there and Eswarah there’, the list is endless. The walkway through to the house is littered with pictures from the floor to the ceiling of Group and Classic winners.
“If we have half as much success, we’ll be very successful. I really want to be able to add to the list of nice horses who have been trained here.”
While Clover’s name is on the licence, it is very much a family affair.
“Jackie is my sounding board. We sold at lot of horses at the end of last year and we were beginning to think it was a bit tight, but it was 100 per cent the right thing to do. We’re just trying to increase the quality all the time,” said Clover.
“I’m not from a racing background but always loved it. I thought it would be difficult to break into, but I was lucky to get the job as pupil assistant to Charlie Longsdon which was great, a steep learning curve. I moved on to David Simcock and in the first year we had Dream Ahead, who was joint-champion two-year-old with Frankel and went on to win the July Cup.
“I spent almost six years there, I learned an awful lot and still speak to David most days. I was lucky enough to meet Jackie and we struck out on our own three and a half years ago.
“I’ve been second in this race with Declarationoflove, who was my first winner, and this lad reminds me a lot of him. You need a huge amount of luck, but if he gets a good draw and has pace around him, I’d like to think he’ll be hitting the line very hard.
“It’s a great race to be involved in and for a stable the size of ours, you just need that bit of luck to get a big win on the board. It’s great having winners, but we all want those big Saturday winners.
“It’s difficult to compete with the big boys at the sales, but if we keep turning our stock over, hopefully we’ll come across a good one and get lucky.”