Top Sussex horse trainer prepares for busiest time of the year

Glen Rocco prepares for Newbury

Christmas is the busiest time of the year in horse racing and one trainer from Sussex is hoping to celebrate, with the comeback of a very special horse.

After 2 years away from racing, due to a tendon injury. Glen Rocco is back. Primed to race here Newbury on December 29th.

Part  owned by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, Glenn Rocco has huge potential and will be much fancied. AND his trainer knows a thing or two about Festive winners. Having guided Straw Bear to a famous victory.

I was only just started training then and to have a horse good enough to run in a Grade 1 is fantastic You're on a cloud the whole time He let Archibald get in front of him and then he nabbed him on the line. It was a great ride. Very exciting. Thrilling. A huge crowd at Kempton. To win a Grade 1 on Boxing Day is wonderful.

Nick Gifford

With Berkshire now in Tier Three - Newbury and Ascot racecourses won't be allowed to welcome spectators this Christmas. But in Sussex - Fontwell and Plumpton will.


Video report by ITV News Meridian's Andrew Pate


And for those involved  in the business - the work continues.  On Christmas Day this year stable staff will look after around 14,000 race horses here in the UK. To make sure they're on top form for the festive fixtures.

Christmas is the busiest time of the year for us. We try to enjoy Christmas but it's a fleeting Christmas for us. It's literally lunch, open presents, back out in the yard. Boxing Day always lots of runners. Lots of meetings, Lot going on. You try to enjoy it but it is pretty hectic.

Nick Gifford

Nick's father Josh Gifford was one of the greatest horse trainers of all time, from their stables in Findon in Sussex.

His most famous winner is Aldaniti. The horse that came back from injury to win the Grand National. Ridden by Bob Champion, who'd recovered from cancer. Nick will be hoping Glen Rocco can also make a marvellous comeback, starting this Christmas.