Martin Keighley, Condicote Stables, Luckley, Nr. Moreton in Marsh
Martin and Belinda Keighley have been immersed in National Hunt racing since teenage days. Martin, a former NH jockey, rode for the late David Nicholson as well as Nigel Twiston-Davies, and initially trained point-to-pointers and hunter chasers. After a spell working as a groundsman at Cheltenham Racecourse, he seized the opportunity to train at Condicote and is maintaining a commendably upwards trajectory, with both the number of staying types in his yard and their quality. Belinda was a successful event rider and amateur jockey who started riding out for the Nicholsons aged 12. As with many Owners for Owners yards, we’re backing a husband and wife team in their total commitment to success and readiness to embrace our vision of “Joining Forces to Buy Better Horses”. Since we first had horses with them several years ago, the relationship between the Keighley family and Owners for Owners has strengthened and it is a particularly enjoyable yard to be associated with and to visit.
Four reasons why he is one of our NH trainer team:
- Steeped in the David Nicholson tradition: Alastair Down, in his obituary, said “Here’s to you Duke, maker of horses, maker of men”. The Keighleys are the embodiment of that sentiment. Not only were Martin and Belinda shaped by close involvement with the legendary trainer, but so were many of their closely-knit team: Maggie Turner (physiotherapist and expert in muscular-skeletal
- back problems), Jeremy Swan (vet), Nick Partridge (highly regarded farrier), Warren Marston (tutored by the Duke and rode 709 winners), and Gerry Hogan (the Keighleys’ much-trusted and respected Ireland-based bloodstock agent) who also spent a number of seasons with The Duke at Jackdaws Castle.
- Focused on proper chasing types: Gerry and Martin excel with horses that progress from bumpers, through hurdling and into high-quality staying chasers. Most of the horses that we buy with them fit this category, and we’ve recently invested in foals / yearling bloodstock to provide, in time, a pipeline of that type of horse.
- All roads lead to Cheltenham: the highlight of David Nicholson’s career was winning the Gold Cup with Charter Party in 1988. Martin would love to emulate him. There is a real affinity with Cheltenham – indeed, for a while Martin worked there as a groundsman. No-one would question Martin’s considerable skill in preparing a horse ready to perform at the home of National Hunt racing. The yard consistently punches above its weight, with 16 winners so far at this magnificent course. We are really looking forward to our first Prestbury runner with him.
- Magnificent gallops and training facilities: very few NH trainers have access to such wonderful private facilities as those at Luckley. There are three 10-furlong gallops; extensive schooling grounds; and huge paddocks for R&R and turnout. Ideal for conditioning proper chasing types and keeping them healthy and relaxed. Martin keeps on investing in these facilities, most recently in a state-of-the-art carpet gallop which horses love and which helps to keep them sound.
All of us at Owners for Owners are guaranteed a warm welcome at Condicote Stables. This is a very friendly and enthusiastic stable to visit, whether discussing training with Martin, sharing a joke with Belinda, chatting to sons Freddie and Harry or playing with stable dogs Windsor and George. We’re delighted to have Martin as one of our key trainers.