Harry Derham is a nephew of champion trainer Paul Nicholls, so it was probably inevitable that a career in racing beckoned.
Harry, 27, was initially a successful jockey, winning the Martin Pipe at the 2013 Cheltenham Festival, but the aim was always to train. Continuing at Nicholls’, he spent a year as pupil assistant before becoming assistant trainer for seven seasons.
After those eleven informative years based in Somerset, Harry is just moving to a purpose-built yard in Berkshire. ‘Fingers crossed’ he says, ‘I’ll have my first runners at Christmas or just after.’ To be honest, we hope the same – for this bold and assertive rookie trainer is the future of racing.
How did you get into racing?
'I always went racing with my dad on Saturdays. I then spent a lot of time stood next to Dan Skelton and his now-wife Gracie.
Growing up, I had no better inspiration to get into racing than Paul Nicholls, Ruby Walsh and Kauto Star.'
What is the best advice you’ve been given?
'Early on in my racing career, my former boss Paul said ‘Horses can’t speak but will tell you all you want to know if you listen.’
What is the best aspect of racing?
'I love multiple things but the joy of working with the racehorse is my number one. They are spectacular animals and all what they’re capable of doing for you, of running and jumping and trusting you.
For me, racing is a dreamland of being around good people and being at the races, but working with the horses is where my joy comes from.'
What is the worst aspect to racing?
'There’s too much of it – too much flat and jumps, which leads to small fields and everyone is stretched. A good break would not be a bad thing.'
Fast forward ten years, where would you like to be?
'My dream goal and ambition is to be one of the leading National Hunt trainers in the country. It’s a difficult way to earn a living but I’d love to train horses for top level races.'
Is social media positive or negative?
'It has the capacity to be both; if used in the right way, it’s positive but can be ruined. Twitter has become increasingly negative.'
Will you continue to write your blog?
'At Paul’s, I loved writing my blog and I fully intend to continue. I thoroughly enjoy sharing my work life.'