Following the purchase at the beginning of the year of over 500 acres of training grounds on the Mandown Gallops in Lambourn, Jockey Club Estates have now appointed an Operations Manager and unveiled their initial plans for major investment in the training facilities during 2006.
On 3rd April, Tom Lovell-Stagg will take on the role of Operations Manager for Jockey Club Estates in Lambourn. Tom, 30, has extensive knowledge of the area as he was previously employed by Mountgrange Farms & Stables, to look after Kingsdown Gallops, the training facilities primarily used by Jamie Osborne.
William Gittus, Managing Director of Jockey Club Estates, said: "The role of Operations Manager is a very important appointment for both Jockey Club Estates and the Lambourn trainers. Working alongside the existing team of experienced Gallopsmen, I am sure that Tom's local knowledge combined with his experience of gallop management and his enthusiasm will prove to be invaluable."
Over the next few years Jockey Club Estates intends to make a substantial investment in Lambourn upgrading the training grounds and the accompanying facilities. The initial investment plans were formulated after consultation with local trainers to find out which gallops they considered to be the priorities for renovation. The two artificial gallops identified by the trainers are known as the 'Short' and the 'Back of the Hill', both of which are currently laid with woodchip surfaces.
William Gittus, added: “Before any of our projects could get underway we had to appoint the Operations Manager to oversee the work at first hand. Following Tom's appointment we are now in a position whereby the first project can commence as soon as the design details have been finalised. The 'Short' is a six furlong canter used by both Flat and Jump trainers and will be re-laid with a surface provided by Martin Collins, who is responsible for installing the well received Polytrack surfaces at Lingfield and, more recently, Kempton Park.
"The 'Back of the Hill' gallop is used by National Hunt trainers to give their horses a serious piece of work. To minimise disruption, the renovation work is planned to take place during the summer when there are fewer jump horses in training and when the current woodchip surface is often too dry for use anyway. We are in the process of talking to a number of manufacturers in order to identify the most appropriate surface for the gallop. This is a major project, but if we are in a position to finance and commission the work soon the gallop could be completed in August.
"In addition to the gallop projects, we will also start to upgrade the horsewalks and other facilities for the benefit of trainers using our training grounds. Our longterm aim is to provide training facilities in Lambourn that are on a par with those available in Newmarket."