JAMIE Snowden has admitted that it’s been a year “where you pinch yourself” as he continues to enjoy another stunning season in the sport.
Training out of Folly House, Lambourn, he has amassed a total of 43 winners from the 50 horses he has housed at his stable.
When speaking about his remarkable season, he explained how it has all happened this year.
He said: “It’s been one of those seasons where you pinch yourself because everything seems to have gone really well throughout the whole of it.
“We have 50 horses and we have had 43 winners this season – there is only one other trainer in the top 20 with a better strike rate than us this season and that’s Nicky Henderson.
“We have been lucky that we have had some high-profile winners.
“We won the Grand Sefton with Hogan’s Height over the Aintree fences and Pacify won at Kempton for the Duchess of Cornwall, which was special too.”
Despite his passion for racing, through Pony Club, hunting and point-to-point, Snowden joined the army after earning a scholarship, but his racing commitments continued throughout that.
He said: “By fortune, I managed to pick up a ride in the Grand Military Gold Cup – the big gold cup for the army jockeys – and I ended up winning it with a horse called Folly Road.
“I carried on race riding and I had a year off which I spent at Paul Nicholls’ yard and I ended up winning the Grand Military another three times.
“I had a wonderful time riding while in the army and they were very good to me because they let me do that and it was obvious that racing was going to be my career.”
After time with Nicholls, Snowden joined the team at Seven Barrows where he was assistant trainer and amateur jockey to Henderson.
He said: “If you learn from the best, hopefully some of it rubs off on you and if you hang around with the best people hopefully results can speak for themselves.
“Having worked with Nicky and Paul, I am hoping some of it has rubbed off onto me and now we have a wonderful team of staff.
“Hopefully I can use this experience and knowledge to take us to the top table.”
Snowden started up on his own in 2008, when he rented a yard near Salisbury before making the jump back to Lambourn.
He said: “We had 15 winners in three years and we realised that we needed to move forward and that resulted in us moving to Lambourn and buying Folly House in 2011.
“In our first year, we had a horse that won the summer national, we had a Cheltenham winner that autumn and we had 19 winners.
“That was the catapult that got us going and we were lucky enough to have a festival winner in 2014 which took us to the next stage.”
Snowden will head to Cheltenham Festival next month, hoping to add to his list of winners at the prestigious meeting.
His first, and only winner, came in 2014 with Present View and it’s a moment he will never forget.
He said: “People ask me what it feels like to have a Cheltenham Festival winner.
“Great British Racing put a heart monitor on me that year. They were doing an experiment that year and they put a monitor on a variety of people in the industry.
“They were trying to see how your heart beats during a big race and I was one of the trainers taking part in the experiment.
“Your maximum heart rate should be 220 less your age so mine should have been 185, but when the horse crossed the line it was 193, so I think that gives you some indication of what it’s like.”
Ahead of the Festival, which kicks off on March 10, Snowden is preparing a strong team for some significant races.
He said: “The horses I think that will be heading there are Thebannerkingrebel, Pacify, Ga Law, Kiltealy Briggs, Adrrastos, Fact of the Matter and a few handicappers too.
“We don’t want to be going to the festival with horses that don’t have a chance – there is no point running for the sake of running.
“We want to be going there with decent chances and hopefully we have a strong team who can go there and fight.”