Harry Derham insists there will be no stepping on the toes of former boss Paul Nicholls as the final pieces of a new purpose-built yard are put together.
Derham signed off from his role as the 13-time champion’s assistant on Saturday and now begins on the road to becoming a trainer in his own right, with his first runners expected in 2023.
Since announcing his plans in September last year, Derham has been working on the construction of an establishment in Boxford, near Newbury, aided by the support of a number of owners.
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Explaining the latest developments, Derham told Sky Sports Racing: “It’s currently a farm and a building site at the moment which we’ve designed together. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
“I’ve got some really good support behind me and hopefully will have my first runners at the turn of the year, so I’m really excited about that.
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“I’ve got some owners who are supporting me. I’ve made some good relationships with the owners of Paul’s [horses] but I’m not going to upset people or step on toes. It’s never going to be a case of moving horses to me from Paul’s because none of the owners are mad!
“Hopefully some of them will support me in a small way when I start and I’ll be very grateful.”
Derham, who has been part of the Nicholls team at their Ditcheat base since retiring as a jockey in 2014, is the latest of Nicholls’ protegees to take out their own licence, following in the footsteps of Dan Skelton and Harry Fry.
Asked if he sees any similarities between himself and Skelton, who finished third in the trainers’ championship, Derham said: “If I do half as well as Dan I’ll be very happy. He’s been an extraordinary success.
“Ditcheat gives you an excellent grounding and you learn off the boss how to do things right.
“I’m not sure at this stage there would be a USP because everyone does it in a slightly different way but I think the key is to have a very professional team.
Derham hailed Nicholls’ ‘extraordinary’ work ethic as he leaves the 13-time champion to set up his own training operation
“I want people around me who are really young, ambitious and want to succeed.
“You’re not trying to reinvent the wheel, you just have to give people a good experience.
“It’s an expensive hobby so you have to let people enjoy themselves and communicate well but at the end of the day you have got to have good results. You can give people a great day out but you have to produce results.”
Dan Skelton has built a hugely successful team since leaving Nicholls' yard
Derham enjoyed a dream end to his spell with Nicholls as the team ended the 2021/22 campaign with a remarkable five-timer at Sandown, including Grade One success for Greaneteen in the Celebration Chase.
“It was amazing,” Derham said. “We went there with good chances but you never expect something like that to happen. It was just an extraordinary day.
“It is very rare in racing for things to go that well. We have to be very proud of what Paul and the team have achieved.
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“His work ethic, without doubt. He’s absolutely unrelenting. He’s a 13-time champion trainer with no sign of letting up.
“There’s never a day when he’s not worried about something. To have had the success that he’s had and still put in the level of work that he does is extraordinary.”