We are delighted to present an interview with former Scottish Show Jumper turned trainer Katie Scott. Katie hails from the Scottish borders where she has her training yard.
Having started training PTP & National Hunt horses in 2015, Katie became a dual purpose trainer in 2017. Katie takes us through her early days, who has inspired her and the horses in the yard……
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself please?
When I was growing up my parents worked in the hospitality trade.
My first home was the flat upstairs of The Wagon pub in Kelso, they moved between a few different restaurants, pubs and hotels in The Borders.
They are exceptionally hard working people and that has given me a good grounding for running a business. I learned to ride at the local riding centre and then joined the pony club and was hooked on horses from there.
When I left school I started riding out for Alistair Whillans. I attained good grades at school and always intended to go back to university but the racing bug is hard to shake and here I am training horses.
I have a fantastic group of friends, love going out for meals and to concerts. I love reading books and listening to music.
You began riding ponies when you were younger…. Is this where you got
the racing bug from?
I rode ponies quite successfully when I was younger including lots of pony club activities and hunting. Being capped for Scotland in the Show Jumping team was a highlight.
My parents had point-to-pointers at home and then horses in training at Alistair Whillans and I started to help leading up at the weekends for him and riding out.
The first time I ever led up at the races was a horse called Nautical Star at Ripon under Keith Dalgleish, the horse won and that was me hooked.
Were you always around horses/ponies when you were growing up?
Yes. The Scottish Borders is a very equestrian community and I was fortunate to enjoy riding lessons and then we always had ponies.
What was your first horse racing memory?
I was always taken along to the point-to-points when I was younger and then when I was old enough to start helping out I started going to the races regularly. I can’t pin point the exact first memory though.The first horse that I really followed was Moscow Flyer I just loved watching him jump, and he was in such a great era of two mile chasers.
Who has influenced your training style and career path?
I worked for Alistair Whillans and learned a lot in my time there. Alistair was mainly NH then and was doing well with a small string of horses and I learned a lot about feeding, routine and working horses.
I then spent a bit of time working for permit holder Rayson Nixon. While I was there we had plenty of winners mainly from home bred stock and I gained a lot of experience in dealing with young stock and training youngsters.
I think its important to keep learning and being open to change and improvement in this job.
You set up a Point to Point racing Business, which yielded many winners in the PTP & Hunters Chasing sphere, has this given you a good grounding now heading into the Training world?
Definitely, a few of my owners from the pointing days are still with me as well. Point-to-pointing is a great grounding for young horses, jockeys and trainers.
When did you take out your racing Licence?
I attained my NH licence early 2015 and my flat licence came in 2017.
You use dressage along in your training methods, can you tell us a bit about why you do this & how it helps horses to further their careers after racing ends?
Our horses all do some flat work in among their training. I think it helps to keep them balanced and supple and I think they enjoy doing something a little different. It also means that the horses have basic skills to go on and after racing to successful careers.
How many horses do you currently have in the Yard? NH & Flat….
Currently have 10 NH, 8 Flat, 1 point-to-pointer and a mare and foal
As a small yard, do you have a stable jockey or do you have to go through agents?
We do not have a stable jockey but I do try to use lads that can come in to help school and ride work. There are lots of good jockeys in the north and we are never stuck. Both Stephen Mulqueen and Callum Bewley are sponsored by owners in my yard and have been in over the last week riding out and they are up on next weeks runners.
On the flat Phil Dennis and Jason Hart have rode the majority of runners and I feel they get on well with the yard. Jockeys that are genuinely interested in the horses and can give good feedback to owners are worth their weight in gold.
What are your thoughts on the current prize money situation?
I think that the prize money is very low in comparison to the costs of keeping a horse in training. I have to be honest and say that I wouldn’t know enough about racecourse income to know the best resolution for the situation.
Is finding Owners an issue?
We may only be a small yard but the owners I have are loyal and brilliant to work with. We are always looking to improve and expand so new owners are important and it is hard to find them but I keep my head down and work hard and at the moment that seems to be doing the job.
Night Law has had a decent season on the Flat turf, is that it for the
season or will there be an all weather campaign?
Night Law was super in winning two races for us this summer after having poor form in Ireland, its a bit of an odd situation as her owners live in Ireland and sent her over in the spring but I still have not met them. However, she is destined for the December sales as her owners intend to replace her with a young horse to bring on for the future.
Rockley Point has been in fine fettle on at Newcastle on the AW, what
are the plans for the winter?
He is a superstar for the yard, although he is a class 6 horse he is very consistent and has given me some great days including my first flat winner. He has just had a couple of quiet weeks and is back in work ready to run at Newcastle through the winter starting on the 6th of December.
Getaway Gerry is still a novice hurdler, what are your thoughts for the
Gerry’s 2nd place finish at Kelso has been franked by the third horse racking up a Sedgefield double. He ran at Hexham on Wednesday and he has a lovely attitude.
A couple of quickfire questions…..
Favourite drink…. Irn Bru or Prosecco for celebrating
Favourite food….. I am a proper foodie, top of the list would have to
Favourite race course… Kelso
Favourite race horse…. Zarkava
We would like to thank Katie for her time and wish her and the team all the success for the season and for the future. We all know that from small acorns grow big Oaks….
Interview by Rich Williams
Pictures from Katie Scott Website & Twitter Account