What a year it’s been for talented young trainer Archie Watson. Since narrowly missing out on the Champion Trainer’s title in the final throes of the last All-Weather season, he has topped £1 million in domestic prize money and become only the fourth Lambourn trainer to reach 100 winners in a calendar year.
Watson, who also celebrated his first Royal Ascot winner and first Group successes with the Usain Bolt of the juvenile sprinting ranks, Soldier’s Call, has put together a strong squad for the months ahead - with Good Friday Finals Day set in his sights.
“Last winter was very exciting for us, with Corinthia Knight winning the 3YO Final, Petite Jack winning the Listed Quebec Stakes and the yard favourite Captain Lars sharing the honours as the joint winning most horse,” says Watson, who is yet to reach his 30th birthday.
“We also gave it our best shot in the trainers’ championship but just ran out of ammunition in the last few days. The main aim this winter is to simply keep chalking up the winners. If we’re in contention by March we’ll do all we can to try and go one better.”
Lingfield Park, home of the £1 million Finals Day, has been a productive hunting ground for the Saxon Gate handler this year. Corinthia Knight’s victory in a feature sprint handicap there at the beginning of December kept his strike rate above 30 percent.
Watson’s record around Wolverhampton is also impressive. He is operating at a strike rate of over 25 percent on the Tapeta surface this year and is no stranger to the winner’s enclosure at Chelmsford City and Kempton Park.
He opens his stable doors to Simon Mapletoft of attheraces.com to give us the lowdown on 12 of his main contenders.