Upcoming horse racing trainer Oliver Greenall will send his star horse ‘Herbiers’ to the Cheltenham Festival on Friday with absolutely every chance.

Running in the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle event, the chance for Greenall to compete against the ‘big boys’ of the sport will be a fantastic occasion.

Cheshire-based Greenall sat down with Merseysportlive to discuss Friday and his journey from jockey to talented trainer.

Oliver Greenall winning at Plumpton racecourse in 2009

The Cheltenham Festival is where the best horses clash, settling endless debates and arguments across Great Britain to find who the top horses are.

For Greenall to throw his horse in the ring and compete is an achievement alone.

Greenall’s promising five-year-old, Herbiers, will look to secure the first Cheltenham Festival winner for the Greenall team, a feat many can only dream about.

Greenall illustrated what it would mean for his team to cheer on their horse at the festival, but ensured they won’t be going to make the numbers up.

“It’s really good, we’re lucky we got him in, it’s been a bit stop start this season for him but it’s really good we got him in because I think Cheltenham will really suit him.

Despite the 33/1 odds, Greenall believes they have every chance.

“It’s good ground, he’ll like that so he should run well off a fast pace, which it will be.

“He’s been improving, he probably needed the run last time at Kempton, but he’s still got improvement in him.”

Despite not being one of the biggest yards in the country, to produce a quality of horse like Herbiers, is a real credit to Greenall and his team, who intend that they want to keep growing and improving.

“We’re up to about 60 horses now, if we could get up to 80 in full training national hunt horses all the time, that would be ideal really.

“Keeping the decent quality and spending more and more money on the horses, if we can keep doing that I think the better horses will come our way.”

In the future, Greenall, who the Racing Post described as “a trainer on the rise”, hopes that his day at Cheltenham could become a regular thing for his team.

The passion to win is clear to see.

“We want to be having runners on the big stage, we’re getting into a position where we can afford to buy better horses.”

Greenall was no stranger to horses from a young age, riding as a child and then transitioning into a full time jockey.

Greenall won the National Point-to-Point Jockey’s Championship in 2007/08 and further notched up 78 wins under rules securing the Amateur Jockey’s Association title.

Greenall winning at Chepstow racecourse, the race before the Welsh National

“I rode as a child, when I was 17 I rode in a race and it just went from there really. I rode point to points and under rules for 10 years.”

Greenall admitted training race horses was never a plan but began training point-to-points when the jockey career started to go a little quiet.

“Five years ago, I got my licences and that’s how it sort of developed really but it was never a thing that I wanted to be a jockey or a trainer.”

How the time flies from amateur jockey to training runners at the Cheltenham festival. Alongside Greenall’s great work on the track, work away from the racecourse has been just as impressive.

As trustee of the National Horseracing College in Doncaster, it is a title that means a lot.

“It’s good, I’ve always been keen to help people develop and it’s just a small part that I do. To try and help bring any knowledge from the industry into the school to help them find jobs for the people and to teach them in the right way.”

Greenall has taken on lots of graduates and work experiences to his yard to gain vital experience in the industry, which he “absolutely” wants to carry on doing, which is so important.

As Greenall continues his great work within the horse racing community, he will head to Cheltenham with the big dream.

“Hopefully he wins!”

(Featured image by Carine06 under creative commons licence)