‘I was bloody nervous!’ – Darryll Holland wastes no time getting off mark as a trainer with debut runner

Horse Racing Darryll Holland
Darryll Holland: saddled a winner from his first runner. Photo: Harraton Court Stables

By Jon Lees

GB: Darryll Holland says he couldn’t have wished for a better start to his new career after his debut runner gave him his first winner as a trainer.

Former multiple G1-winning jockey Holland admitted he was “bloody nervous” ahead of Lilkian’s run in a 6f all-weather handicap at Kempton on Friday night but everything went to plan as the four-year-old held on by a neck to score under 5lb claimer Angus Villiers.

“It was expected,” admitted Holland, 48. “He had come really good at home and his last piece of work had been fantastic.

“I had backed off him a bit because he seemed to run well fresh and I thought Angus gave him a lovely ride too. He rode to orders as well. It kicked off a perfect start; it went quite smoothly. A lot of times things don’t!”

Holland, who retired from the saddle after riding in Canada last year, set about upgrading the training facilities at Harraton Court Stables in Exning, near Newmarket, which he already owned, for the new British Flat season.

Six-time British Flat champion jockey Kieren Fallon is the assistant trainer at the yard which started with a team of 20 horses.

“It was brilliant for the first runner to win,” said Holland. “We couldn’t have written the script any better than that – and I must admit I was bloody nervous before the race.

“It wasn’t in my hands, that’s probably why. I never really got that nervous when I was riding. There was a huge sense of relief when he crossed the line. It was exhausting watching him go round.”

With their next runner not for a couple of weeks, Holland and Fallon have attended this week’s Tattersalls Craven Breeze-Up Sale in Newmarket looking to add to their two-year-old team.

“We’ve had enquiries,” said Holland. “The phone never stops ringing. There are no goals. We just want to have as many winners as we can and build up the business. The two-year-olds are improving massively.

“With Covid this might not have been the best time to start, but I thought if we can get through these times things can only get better. I am sure it will pick up very quickly when more people start being able to go racing.”

• Visit the Harraton Court Stables website

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