"Nick Bradley is one of the shrewdest men you'll ever meet in racing" - Roger Fell, Trainer.
Nick Bradley recently gave an interview to Rich Williams from the
In the interview Nick talks in detail about his background, how Nick Bradley Racing was formed and his approach to buying horses.
You can view the full interview here.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself please?
I have been following horse racing from a very young age, the Grand National was the highlight of my year as a child and since then my love for horse racing has developed into a full time career. I gave up teaching in my Mid 20s and went into gambling for a profession. The income I earned from gambling was then used to fund racehorse purchases and it has developed into a syndication company and I own a couple of farms from where we breed thoroughbreds.
Nick Bradley Racing was formed in 2015, how did this come about?
I was a co-owner of the racehorse syndication company Middleham Park Racing between 2008 and 2015 and chose to leave for various reasons. A lot of people encouraged me to set up my own racehorse syndication company and as a result Nick Bradley Racing was born in 2015.
What do you look for when buying yearlings?
I’m a big believer in the harder I work the luckier I will be on the racetrack. I therefore attend as many of the yearling sales as I can physically cope with in the yearling sales season. Firstly I have to believe in the pedigree, for example I would rule pedigrees out if they are primarily AW or dirt stallions or if the mare has produced multiple foals without producing a Stakes horse. When I inspect a yearling, for me the most important factors are their strength, conformation and action.
Is it better to buy at the sales or breeze ups?
Both sales offer different opportunities and I wouldn’t particularly say one is better than the other as they both have their advantages and disadvantages. Buyers have a lot more information at the breeze ups and the breeze itself can be analysed by stride length and sectional timing.
8-10 years ago, many agents and trainers didn’t analyse this and it gave people like me an edge at the sales as I was able to do that. In 2018 I bought 4 horses at the breeze ups and they have all won.
Creationist showed plenty of ability at the breeze but he was lame after the sales which made him accessible to Nick Bradley Racing, had he been sound he would have made a big six figure sum and I wouldn’t have been able to buy him.
The yearling sales happen over a 2 month period and thousands of horses are sold across Europe and USA in a relatively small window of time. This presents an opportunity as the market isn’t as perfect as when property or cars are sold. I aim to find the yearlings which don’t reach their true value so that I can offer the Great British public another bargain.
Is it better to buy from a proven Sire/Mare, or sometimes does it pay to take a chance on a relatively unknown Sire/Mare?
There isn’t a right and wrong answer it all comes down to the price. In an ideal world I would buy from a proven sire and mare but that is what everyone would like to do so the market is usually very strong on those horses. I would put much more value on the ability/pedigree of the mare than the stallion when buying horses to race.
It must bring you immense pleasure when a purchase wins a race, Can you describe the feeling when you had your first winner?
The first horse I bought was a horse called Exceptional Art, he was a 3yo in training with Peter Chapple Hyam. I’d watched his videos and liked him but I wasn’t wild on him. I expected him to make close to £100,000 but when he was struggling in the ring I picked him up for less than £50,000. His first race was in the Listed Beverley Bullet. He went from last to first inside the final furlong and the guys involved in that horse still talk about that day today.
What has been the highlight for you so far?
I’ve been in the game long enough to have many highlights, Junior was a great horse for me. I was the only person who wanted him at the sales and picked him up for the reserve price. He won on debut at Royal Ascot and also landed a gamble for us at Cheltenham when he won by 24 lengths in the Kim Muir.
Commissioned also won first time out for Nick Bradley Racing at Royal Ascot and again landed a gamble on the day. Horse like Melesina, Vona, Sandiva, Lilys Angel, Tatlisu and Donjuan Triumphant were all horses we had with Richard Fahey who gave us plenty of great days on the track.
The horse I probably am most well known for buying is G Force, who we picked up for 25,000 Guineas, again I was the only person to bid on him. He went on to win the Group 1 Betfred Sprint Cup and was sold for a life changing amount of money afterwards.
Are Racing clubs/syndicates the future of race ownership?
Without a doubt. It minimises the risk for investors and allows them to spread their stake and experience ownership in many horses rather than putting all of their eggs in one basket. Good syndicate managers should also add value and their knowledge and reading of the fixture book and the game will increase your chances of success.
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