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An Interview with Top Trainer Stuart Edmunds

Updated: Apr 20

  As a boy growing up in Northampton, having no family connections to horses did not stop Stuart Edmunds learning to ride. He later worked for Olympic showjumper Peter Robeson, and competed in showjumping himself but eventually swapped coloured poles for racecourses.

Photo Credit: Racing Post


Peter’s wife Renee and Stuart worked as a team out of the Robesons’ Fences Farm in the village of Tyringham, Buckinghamshire, training many successes, including a Grade 1 Sefton Novices’ Hurdle with Ogee in 2009. This training partnership lasted thirty years until fate stepped in, and Stuart took over the training.

Under his own name, Stuart, 58, has trained a Cheltenham Festival winner when Domesday Book won the Kim Muir under Gina Andrews in 2017 and a double at the 2021 Aintree Festival in ’21 with Rowland Way and Hometown Boy. Last August, he moved his operation to the purpose-built Croft Farm in Stewkley, always adding to his total of over 750 winners.

This season has particularly been successful for Stuart and his yard, having sent out a winner with his first ever runner in Ireland when Marsh Wren won a Listed mares' chase at Thurles in February. That was her eighth win and she ran a blinder to finished third in the mares' chase at the Cheltenham Festival. Then, last week, he trained his first winner over the Grand National fences when Arizona Cardinal battled to win the Topham at the Aintree Festival. That was the horse's seventh victory and his biggest win yet, having pegged up two previous victories over fences since the new year.

Stuart is supported by daughter Harriet in the role of assistant trainer and wife Trish works tirelessly behind the scenes, with paperwork as one of her many tasks. The other two family members are two border terriers, Millie and Mabel.


Did you have a horsey childhood? Not really, no. Off my own back, I decided I’d like to ride ponies so I went to ride for a farrier when I was around 9-10 years old.


How did you get into racing? I rode for a very famous showjumper called Peter Robeson, and his wife Renee Robeson started training a lot of racehorses so I got into racing through her.


Were you a jockey? I did have a few rides but I was very bad. I had one winner in a three horse members’ race round Newton Blossomville, the Oakley point-to-point. But I was dreadful. I rode in a few hunter chases and finished second but I waved at the crowd a lot!


Which trainers have you worked for? I was assistant trainer to Renee Robeson for many years until she died and I then took over from her.


Did you always want to train racehorses? The main reason to start training because you couldn’t earn a living out of showjumping. With racing, you could just about earn a living out of it.


Best days in racing so far: We’ve had a Cheltenham Festival winner and three Aintree Festival winners the Topham was brilliant. When I was employed by Mrs Robeson, we had a winner in Punchestown, Olney Lad, which was great.


Favourite racehorses so far: Hometown Boy – he was one of our Aintree Festival winners and I ride him out at home. He’s lovely and has to put up with me most days.


Which race would you most like to win? The Cheltenham Gold Cup – it’s the pinnacle of racing.


Which racehorse would you most like to have trained? Kauto Star – he was a legend.


Favourite racecourse: I always say my favourite racecourse is wherever I had my last winner. I do have a bit of a soft spot for Fakenham.


Favourite meeting: The Cheltenham Festival – it’s the pinnacle of everything.


In view of the recent actions of certain animal right movements, how safe is the future of racing? I just think as long as racing moves, within reason, with the times, we should be ok. I don’t think we’ll ever appease those staunch antis who are against racing – they want all animals, even dogs, cats and horses, to be rewilded; they’re just bonkers and have no concept of reality.


Generally, what are the positive points about racing as a sport? Having done a lot of showjumping, and I still know a lot of people who own showjumpers, I do think racing looks after the owners well at the racecourse. With showjumping, sometimes, owners will have to pay to get into a county show to watch their own horse jump.


Where could improvements be made? I’m going to say what everyone else will say: prize money. Nobody is asking for prize money to be upped so high that it bankrupts the business, but other countries, like France and Ireland, have a lot stronger prize money. Hence, why owners are disappearing over there. How can they have better prize money that we do?


Who is your racing hero? John Gosden is a genius – I could listen to him all day long, he makes a lot of sense. And, obviously, AP McCoy for his dedication to racing was just amazing.

Right: Arizona Cardinal and Ciaran Gethings winning the 2024 Topham Chase


Favourite meal: Chinese food.

Favourite drink: Guinness.

Favourite holiday destination: The Caribbean.

Favourite film: The Great Escape.

Favourite music: Anything by Adele.

Other hobbies/interests: I don’t really have time for anything else!

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Guest
Apr 19
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Great trainer, great team. thank you all for all you have done for us and our horses over the years!

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Guest
Apr 18
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

A great read and a lovely family I wish them all the luck in world

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