We are delighted to present an interview with TDN Editor Emma Berry.
Emma is the European Editor of Thoroughbred Daily News, along with her supporting role at Beverley House Stables. Emma is also the Associate Editor of Bloodstock Notebook…

Emma tells us about her early life, an obsession with horses, Photography, the rise to European Editor of TDN, Sea the Stars, her best day at the races & how to make the the BEST bacon butty!

Emma Berry

Can you tell us your first racing memory please?
I’m not sure which came first but on the racecourse it would have been going to Windsor, where I was born and grew up, with my family on New Year’s Day back when the course still had jump racing.
My first taste of Newmarket came when my grandparents, knowing how much I loved horses, stopped en route to Norfolk so I could see the gallops. That would have been about 1978 and it made a huge impression on me. I couldn’t believe my luck when I moved to Newmarket 25 years later.

As a youngster, were you brought up in and around horses?
Yes and no. I’m not from a horsey family but I was obsessed with horses from the start and learnt to ride at the age of four. I didn’t have my own pony growing up but I did whatever I could to spend as much time around horses as possible, every weekend and throughout the holidays.

Did you always want to be a journalist and involved with horses in some way?
I wanted to be a photographer and that’s what I did for the first eight years of my working life. Apart from a stint spent working for Darley at Dalham Hall Stud, I have always worked in journalism, initially on local newspapers. A childhood dream was fulfilled when I was offered a job working for Horse & Hound in London in 1997. The two worlds collided and the writing side of my job evolved and gradually took over, though I still take pictures regularly.

You must have done well at school, did you go on to further education? If so, what did you study?
I studied photography – if you can call it that – at art college and was taken on as a trainee photographer by the local paper upon graduation. I covered everything from cricket matches to flower shows and swan upping. It was huge fun.

Being European editor of TDN, can you tell our readers a little about the publication and how you got into the role?
I have my great friend Ed Prosser to thank for ending up where I am now. Ed was well known as a sales reporter, among other things, for the Racing Post and he also contributed to TDN back when it was based solely in America. Ed was headhunted by Keeneland and when he accepted his current role as the sales company’s esteemed European representative he put my name forward to take over his TDN sales beat. 
This I did in addition to my role as bloodstock editor of Owner Breeder magazine, and I was fortunate enough to be in the right place at the right time when TDN launched its European edition six years ago.

It is a publication that was ahead of its time in a sense when print publications were affected by the rise of the internet. It was founded in New Jersey as a bloodstock-focused daily news sheet that was faxed to subscribers. It then progressed to being the first daily PDF racing paper delivered by email, which still happens alongside a website with news and features from around the racing and breeding world, videos, race replays and stallion tables. A few years ago we also launched an app which delivers the paper direct to smartphones and tablets.

TDN has a small but dedicated team, headed by Sue Finley and Gary King in America, which has now been bolstered in Britain by Chris McGrath and Alayna Cullen. Our international editor Kelsey Riley is a Canadian living in Kentucky, but you’d never know it from how knowledgeably she writes on the subject of European racing and breeding.
With more than 20,000 subscribers, TDN has three daily editions, in America, Europe, and Australia and New Zealand.

I would encourage anyone with a passion for racing and breeding to sign up for free via our website www.thoroughbreddailynews.com, or to download the app.

You are also associate editor of the Bloodstock Notebook, what does this entail and how often is it published?
This annual publication was the brainchild of the unusually gifted Milo Corbett and is beautifully designed by Simon Mitchell. I help out with a little bit of writing, commissioning and editing.
Bloodstock Notebook is published in time for the December Sales and is available at Tattersalls or can be ordered via the website. It is a great read with some quirky and historical features. I’ve even known a few bloodstock agents to pick up a number of copies at Tatts and give them out as Christmas presents.

If money was unlimited and you could breed any mare and sire in the world, what would be your perfect racing pairing?
I absolutely loved Sea The Stars as a racehorse and he has done nothing to change my view since he retired to stud. He is very much out of my league as a small breeder, but if you’re allowing me to wave the magic wand, I would love to breed a mare to him. Ideally it would be one who traces back to Urban Sea or her dam Allegretta to experiment with some inbreeding to that outstanding family.

Back in the real world I am happy to own Hope Is High, who hails from the excellent Lanwades Stud family of Alruccaba. She won six races for us and, since she joined the stable in 2016, there have been at least 17 new stakes winners under her first three dams. I was looking for a mare by Sir Percy, one of my favourite stallions who I feel should become a good broodmare sire, and I just got lucky when Hope went through the ring early at the February Sale and I was able to buy her for 800 guineas.

She is in foal for the first time to Sixties Icon and I now own her in partnership with Bob Nastanovich.

Emma before the operation

Through Twitter, I have seen you with the horses at the yard, do you ride out and travel to meetings with the team?
I haven’t ridden for a while as I have recently had hip surgery and I’ve pretty much lost my bottle, but I hope to get back on board to plod around on my 18-year-old hack Panto. I go racing as often as work allows.

John and yourself have a busy schedule with the yard, I hear you make a mean bacon butty, what is the secret?
A good butcher. We are lucky to have two in town: Tennant’s and Powter’s. Newmarket sausages are the best.

What is your favourite meeting of the racing calendar?
The Derby meeting. I love everything about the Derby and the Oaks, and the weird and wonderful racecourse that is Epsom.

Hope Is High

Can you tell us the best day you have had when going racing?
September 21, 2017, the day Hope Is High won the Bath Summer Staying Series Final. Bath’s track had been attacked by chafer grubs that season and the final was in danger of being called off. She’d won her qualifier and was on a real roll that summer. We knew she had a good chance in the final and we begged ARC to move it to one of their other tracks. Thanks to the efforts of Katie Stephens at Bath, it was moved to Yarmouth and Hope Is High won.
Our friend Nancy Sexton was with us to cheer her on and it was just a very happy day. We all know how often things can go wrong with horses so it is lovely when a plan comes to fruition. The stayers’ and sprinters’ series at Bath, as well as the grassroots series run by Jockey Club Racecourses, are fantastic initiatives for smaller owners and trainers in this era of dire prize-money.
I hope we find a way to ensure that sound, genuine horses who can win a couple of races a season pay for themselves through prize-money earned, but we are a long way from that at present, and these series offer a nice chance of scooping a decent pot.

If you were in charge of the BHA, what rules would you change in racing and why?
I would never want to be in charge of the BHA but one thing that could really do with being looked at is the allocation of fixtures.
I feel the BHA should have a much bigger say in this and that the racecourses which are committed to providing proper rewards for the people who supply the core product get a better share of the most desirable slots for racing. 
Even though I love jump racing, I would like to see much less of it in the summer months.

Michael Kinane and Sea The Stars

And finally, what advice would you give to any young aspiring journalist?
Read and re-read your copy before submitting to an editor, check your facts thoroughly, stick to your brief and your word count, and never assume anything.
If you are working on a specialist publication, get involved hands-on with the subject as much as you can and try to learn from the experts.
Don’t be afraid to ask for advice. 

We would like to thank Emma for her time as she is exceptionally busy at this time of year, with racing, sales & home…
We also wish Emma all the best for the future…

Interview by Rich Williams
Photos – Emma Berry – Except TDN (Twitter) & Sea the Stars (File)

Arseonlineracing Production

Published – August 2021