Newmarket is located in Suffolk, England, approximately 100km north of London. It’s popularly known as the birthplace and global centre of Thoroughbred horseracing. It’s the largest racehorse training hub in Britain, the largest racehorse breeding centre in the country, home to most major British horseracing institutions, and a key global centre for horse health. Newmarket plays host to two Classic races and three British Champions Series races every year. Newmarket has stabling capacity for over 50 horses, two large racetracks, and one of the most extensive and prestigious horse training grounds in the world. Newmarket also hosts the Rowley Mile and the July Course. The town has a population of over 3,500 racehorses, and the racing industry certainly generates a large portion of the town’s employment – approximately one in three local jobs is related to horseracing in some way. The town boasts true racing heritage, as it is also home to Palace House, the National Heritage Centre for Horseracing and Sporting Art, the National Horseracing Museum, and Tattersalls – the racehorse auctioneers. Surrounding the perimeter of Newmarket are 60 breeding studs, ensuring future racing generations. Newmarket truly lends itself to a significant horseracing and breeding industry. One of the top trainers in this area is William Haggas of Somerville Lodge.
William Haggas is a well-respected name in the horseracing industry. Horses are in the family, as William is the son-in-law of the legendary Lester Piggott, who is a former professional jockey. William is based at his racing yard, Somerville Lodge, which is located in the racing hub of Newmarket.
William spent time gaining experience with John Winter and Sir Mark Prescott before taking out his own racing licence and training his first winner, Tricky Note (15 April 1987). This was the start of William’s successful career, and since Tricky Note, over 1,500 winners have emerged from Somerville Lodge. 2016 was William’s most successful season to date, with a total of 138 winners over the year, exceeding 2015’s record of 113 winners. In 2011, William was made a member of the elite group of trainers to have trained two Epsom Classic winners, when Dancing Rain added to Shaamit’s 1996 Derby victory. William added another Group 1 winner to his tally in 2014 when Mukhadram won the Coral-Eclipse. William’s other Group 1 successes include Count Dubois, Chorist, King’s Apostle, Aqlaam and Dancing Rain.
William Haggas’ yard, Somerville Lodge, is a picturesque racing yard in Newmarket, evident from the moment you step foot on the property. The smoothly painted red stable doors line the spotless pathways and walkways, each occupied by a beautiful equine athlete. All the horses at Somerville Lodge have individualised care regimens, tack fittings, and specially allocated stable hands and training jockey riders. William Haggas misses nothing, and has a handwritten ‘report’ as such with each horse’s individual notes and comments that he tends to. Every morning, the horses are categorised into three training groups, according to what William decides, and taken out to the training fields. William has a team of people who support him, from the top vets in the area to physiotherapists and horsemen. The team assists in analysing the horses’ gaits and way of going during their training sessions, and they are then categorised into the treatment programme they need to be put into, with the accompanying training programme for the week. This all happens in between William taking his horses to prestigious races, races out of town, as well as him travelling across England (and internationally) for the admin and business side of racing, which testifies to his immense success in the industry.
The full article appears in the August INTERNATIONAL ISSUE of HQ > Shop now