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Tom Tate Q&A

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    • Total Posts 8798

    Trainer Tom Tate has very kindly agreed to do a Question and Answer session for us.

    Tom has a fascinating background. He is currently chairman of the NH trainers Association and trains near Tadcaster, North Yorkshire from where he has sent out numerous winners, including multiple Grade 1 winner Ask Tom over the jumps and the Group winner Welsh Emperor on the flat.

    Tom is married to Michael Dickinson’s sister Hazel and was closely associated with the Dickinson yard during those glory days of the early 1980’s.

    He was a top amateur rider in his day and partenered the likes of Bregawn, Badsworth Boy and Silver Buck on the racecourse, riding over 70 winners.

    Tom also trains Lemon Silk, who some of you will remember was featured on the Forum last flat season as connections are regulars on TRF.

    To ask Tom a question just post your question on this thread and they will be forwarded to Tom in due course.<br>

    • Total Posts 790

    Hi Tom,

    Having both trained and ridden winners which do you prefer ?  


    Which is the best horse you have come across during your career in racing ?

    Danny,<br>Riding of course, very thrilling. But I am too old now!<br> <br>It has to be one of the Dickinson ones I was lucky enough to ride. Either of Silver Buck, Badsworth Boy or Bregawn. I trained Ask Tom though myself and he was top class.

    • Total Posts 1008

    Tom – What is your opinion of the changes that are being made to the jumps course at Haydock ?

    SwallowCottage,<br>Haydock are moving in a positive direction to modernise their grass tracks by making it as wide a grass circuit as they can, and then laying out their Flat track in two parts so that they can water one and rest the other. Thereby avoiding a "bog" at the Sept/Oct meetings. By using portable fences they can continue to chase and hurdle but probably on better ground than they have now. Also portable fences which are used very extensive in England and Ireland now can be just as effective as fixed ones. There is much more flexibility gained and you can change the ground for landings and take-offs , which has to be better. Its the modern way forward.

    • Total Posts 5124

    Hi Tom

    Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions

    Your words reported in the RP following your election to the presidency of the NTF concerning the volume and ‘dumbing down’ of racing struck a welcome chord. I would be interested to know how you and your members would like to see the fixture list amended in the future.

    It would appear to me that with racing steadily losing its market share within the betting industry that Levy yields can no longer be relied upon to bolster prize money at current levels. So an ever increasing fixture list will be self defeating as an ever thinner coat of icing will have to be spread over an ever larger cake. Which will only lead to connections harping on still more vociferously about ‘paltry prize money’ and, dare I say it, encourage nefarious practices.

    And speaking as a humble punter and racegoer with a lifelong love of the sport, the current volume of ever more mediocre racing is an almighty turn off.

    <br>(Edited by Drone at 9:35 am on Mar. 20, 2007)

    Drone<br>I think that Horse Racing must be projected as "The Sport of Kings" because it is a traditional and romantic sport in which all participants from punter, stable lad or lass, through to trainer and Jockey, all the way to owner, are "king for a day" when things go right for them, and the noble and courageous horse is the object of our good feelings.<br> <br>It is expensive to put on even at lower levels, so lets not pretend otherwise.<br> <br>Therefore we must start with the showpiece at the top with the championship races or classics run with the changing seasons with Jump Racing making a natural break, running down through those high class and admirable horses that don’t quite make the very top but are none the less very good horses, all the "development races" which get the championships’ young pretenders graded. After that should come the others to a level that is necessary for betting "fillers" and that is both affordable and desirable to put on.<br> <br>I definitely think we have got it wrong at the moment. We are in danger of boring our audience!

    • Total Posts 2924

    Hi! Mr. Tate, thanks for your time.

    For some reason I have it in my head that your horses always excel on soft/heavy ground.

    It is probably not the case but if there is any truth in it could you explain why you think that is so.

    Thank you,


    <br>Seabird<br>Yes, its true quite a number of my good horses go better in soft ground. Currently Welsh Emperor, Dr Sharp, and in the past Aghwadda Gold and Lo Stregoni all liked it soft.<br>But Another Bottle and Celtic Sultan like firm, as do The Duke’s Speech and Ellerslie George.

    • Total Posts 2927

    Hi Tom

    What are the top 3 horses you have trained and what are they doing now? Ask Tom, Welsh Emperor and Lo Stregone spring to my mind.

    Have you ever had a horse that worked brilliantly at home but never produced it on the track?

    Thanks Tom

    (Edited by yeats at 9:03 am on Mar. 19, 2007)

    Yeats,<br>Ask Tom’s dead, Lo Stregoni was hunting last time I heard, and Welsh Emperor is in training to this season.<br> <br>Yes, the bumper horse this season Adare springs to mind.<br>

    dave jay
    • Total Posts 3386

    Jim Devine MP recently called for the banning of betting exchanges (14/3/07) and quoted ..

    Mark Tompkins, trainer and chair of the Newmarket Trainers Association, said on 25 February that<br>“if we had no betting exchanges a paper trail would not be necessary as people wouldn’t be betting to lose. If someone got rid of exchanges tomorrow, he’d be doing racing a big favour.â€ÂÂ

    • Total Posts 8798

    Hi Tom –

    Your time at the Dickinson yard during that wonderful period of success must have yielded some treasured memories.

    From that era which was your favourite horse and why?

    Also – it is often suggested that the best trainers are those with meticulous attention to detail. That seemed to be the case with Michael. What other qualities did he have that set him apart?

    cormack15<br>I think it has to be Siver Buck. I think mainly because he landed a huge gamble when I rode him at Catterick to win his first race in England. 12 to 1 he was!<br> <br>But also because he was such a top class stayer. He wasn’t very big and he liked to be prominent in his races and was very sharp and alert and what we call "peepy". But he would never go away from the other horses by much, no matter what ability they had. Consequently he won an bad amateur hurdle with me by one length, and then a top grade hurdle or chase by the same!<br>Great talent. Great memories.


    • Total Posts 4491

    What are the main reasons in a greater concentraion on Flat than jumps in recent seasons?

    You campaigned Celtic Sultan like you thought he was a very good horse last year. Were you a bit disappointed with how his season ended, what do you think the reasons for it were, and what are your expectations with him this year?

    Also how highly to you rate Sivota? The BHB assessor looks to have let him light from a mark in the low 70’s in my opinion. How far do you envisage him progressing and what do you think may prove his ideal trip.

    Kind Regards.

    davidjohnson,<br>Economics really. It’s difficult to persuade owners in the North of England to pay a good price for a NH horse. Lo Stregoni and Ask Tom were £70k and £30k and today would be £100k and £250k. Plus all the ones who don’t make the grade, with the costs of keeping them to find out how good/bad they really are, and basically top class NH Racing is very expensive. Lower grade NH doesn’t interest me very much.<br> <br>The Flat , on the other hand, you have an International market for any horse who makes the grade. So, you can buy your batch of yearlings, and providing you are willing to sell you can make profit, as you will get offers for your better ones all the time. Also you find out quicker how good they are as 2-y-o’s, so less cost there, and they can run more frequently and win more prize money. By comparison with NH it is a financial "no-brainer". But also if you really like NH, then your bigger, slower maturing 2-y-o that doesn’t make the grade can be your next season’s NH store! NH is more sporting though!<br> <br>Celtic Sultan is a good horse. Last season I thought he might be a 7 furlong/miler and because he was big would appreciate some cut in the ground. Now I am virtually certain that he is a 6 furlong fast ground horse, but I didn’t really know that until he ran in his last race at York. Just shows you how much we trainers know!<br> <br>Don’t know how good Sivota is. All I do know is that he surprised us with his ability in his first race which is often a good sign, and that he is a soft ground stayer.

    Grey Desire
    • Total Posts 1877

    Hi Tom,would like to ask about two horses (one past one present).

    Aghawadda Gold was a horse I followed throughout his career.<br>Presumably it was injury that meant that he only ran 16 times (of which half of those were victories).<br>Any ideas of his whereabouts these days?

    In the same colours The Dukes Speech,such a promising novice has seemingly totally lost his confidence over fences.<br>Has had a couple of runs over hurdles recently and showed some promise last time.<br>Will he eventually go back over fences and do u still harbour high hopes for him?

    GreyDesire<br>Aghawadda Gold was a tremendous horse. The best of jumpers, he didn’t even have to think about it. Great speed but unsound with bad knees from the first time he came into my yard. It was a tribute to his courage and talent that he did what he did. He’s hunting with Charles Barnett of Aintree management with the Meynel Hunt in Cheshire. Happy days.<br> <br>The Duke’s Speech has to have fast ground and this Winter he has never had it. I am not saying that he is a championship horse but there is definitely more to come for his sporting owner David Hodgkiss (alias The Ivy Syndicate).

    • Total Posts 159

    Hi Tom, thank you for taking the time to answer our questions. What 2yos and what older horses do you consider horses to follow from your stable this coming season?

    <br>naps<br>Too early to say with the 2-y-o’s  yet.<br> <br>Older horses I like are: Raucous, Greek Envoy and Celtic Sultan.

    Grey Desire
    • Total Posts 1877

    Just thought of another question.

    Through my involvement in the forums syndicate one of the most difficult aspects for the syndicate and for the trainer seems to be trying to attract new owners (for instance I haven’t seen Pam Sly gain any new owners/horses through her achievements with Speciosa).<br>Have you yourself found this difficult or have u been lucky enough to have a good loyal base of owners who have followed you through thick and thin?

    Grey Desire, <br>Yes and no. It has been a slow process.<br> <br>I had Lo Stregoni and Ask Tom both of whom I found and bought for their owners myself. But whilst they encouraged their particular owners to buy more horses with me, they did not seem to attract many news ones.<br> <br>Sometime later, last year to be precise, and when I had got much more involved with Flat racehorses, I got quite a number of new owners.<br> <br>Strange!<br>

    Black Sam Bellamy
    • Total Posts 441

    Hi Tom…thanks for answering our questions…I’m a small time breeder; fairly new to the bloodstock game in fact.

    I’d be grateful if you could share your thoughts on the buying of horses. What do you look for ? (flat yearlings and stores)…Pedigree ? confirmation ? action ? size ?.the sire perhaps ? What do you like to see in a prospective purchase and what puts you off ? Who are your favourite sires from both codes ?

    I just wanted to say that even though you don’t train him any more, Europa has been a favourite horse of ours for years. I was at Doncaster when he won his first bumper without coming out of first gear; he’s been a great horse over the years.

    <br>Black Sam Bellamy,<br>The most difficult thing is where to start?<br>By that I mean you have to start with the catalogue otherwise you wouldn’t know what was at the sale, but you have to bare strongly in mind that it is the individual that you are buying not the pedigree. Having said that if you only buy "good sorts" you need "enough" pedigree because "nothing comes from nothing"! Also the mare can breed a good horse to an sire with an indifferent record because she is "carrying" it.<br> <br>Therefore at a sale I start and try to look at nearly every horse at a sale, weeding out the poor individuals and the "poor" pedigrees, obtain a short list of individuals, then "value" them on how strong or close up the pedigree is.<br> <br>I don’t know whether what I am saying makes any sense to you but it has taken me all my life to get to this point and I am still learning!<br> <br>What I look for in the individual is a good bold outlook, combined with athletic strength. But it does come well disguised sometime!<br> <br>Buying the young horses is definitely more than half the job of getting good class winners. So its worth the effort.<br> <br>Its important to know the sire lines and what their particular strengths are. Nobody knows these better than John Magnier. Some lines are tough, some talented but s**t
    ty, some jump well, and there are some very disappointing top class racehorse as sires. There are very, very few good sires that can raise a mares game. For example the Aga Khan’s mares are so good that most of them would breed good winners to a donkey!<br> <br>Europa was an extremely talented young horse. A big powerful and fast galloper. But his hind joints had poor cartilage quality and they let him down when jumping. Otherwise he would have been a top class chaser. Great pity.

    Neil Watson
    • Total Posts 1376

    Hi Tom.

    I wanted to ask you if you think the organisers in racing have a preference for everything to be Southern based as regards all the big races under flat and national hunt?

    It seems to be that apart from the Grand National,Ebor and St Leger meetings the north seems to get ignored?

    One more thing is do you think that Wetherby has lost its way a bit this season because of the A1 track realignments and the continual moving of fences?

    • Total Posts 608

    I rember your mother in Law, she and my grandmother used too meet up at wetherby races when i was a boy, my grandfather had a couple of pointers one was called Brass Tacks and the other was called Free Lance, yur bother inlaw may have rode for us at once stage before he went into training. Do you have Tapeta on your gallops.

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