Consistent success and career longevity are the hallmarks of every accomplished trainer. Malcolm Jefferson scores highly in both categories.
Brought up in Cumbria with a farming background, Malcolm began his career in racing with the late Gordon Richards at Greystoke, working as his travelling head-man alongside top jockeys Jonjo O’Neill and Ron Barry.
In 1981 Malcolm moved to North Yorkshire, buying Newstead Cottage Stables, his base to this day, and wasted no time getting off the mark. He trained his first winner on 24th September that year at Perth, when Mark Edelson won a bumper.
It was the start of something big, something special. Malcolm soon carved out a solid niche for himself, which has stood him in excellent stead for well over thirty years.
Although he has had some useful Flat horses through his hands, most notably High Debate, Tancred Sand and Clarinch Claymore, Malcolm has rightly always been more strongly associated with the jumping game.
His first success at the coveted Cheltenham Festival came in 1994 with Tindari in the Pertemps Hurdle Final, while twelve months later he became the first British trainer to land the Weatherby’s Champion Bumper with Dato Star, whose natural ability and athleticism subsequently saw him develop into one of the best hurdlers in England and Ireland.
Not only did he win the Grade 1 Hurdle at Kempton, Dato Star twice captured Newcastle’s Fighting Fifth Hurdle and also bagged a brace of victories in the Champion Hurdle Trial at Haydock Park.
While Dato Star remains the best horse Malcolm has ever trained, there has been a whole host of others through the years who have made their mark in high-class company.
Plenty of enthusiasts will remember the hurdling exploits of such as Tullymurry Toff, Go-Informal and Roman Ark, and the chasing prowess of horses like Calatagan, Gilbarry and the ultra-popular According To Pete.
In 2012, Malcolm pulled-off the extraordinary feat of completing a Cheltenham Festival double with Cape Tribulation and Attaglance and the following month, pulling-off a ‘double-double’ with the same two horses at Aintree’s Grand National Festival when both were carrying top weight.
Cape Tribulation won the Pertemps Hurdle Final and followed-up in the Silver Cross Handicap Hurdle, while Attaglance gained his back-to-back successes in the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle and the John Smith’s Daily Mirror Punters’ Club Handicap Hurdle.
Cape Tribulation, a horse with a large following, went on to notable success over the major obstacles in the Rowland Meyrick Chase at Wetherby and Cheltenham’s Argento Chase.
While Cape Tribulation and Attaglance are now enjoying honourable retirement, Urban Hymn and Cyrus Darius, both notable Grade 2 hurdle winners remain much in evidence at Newstead, a neat-as-a-pin yard, which embraces modern boxes, an American barn, horse-walker, lunging ring and turnout paddocks.
It is a measure of Malcolm’s success and reputation that many of his owners are long-standing patrons, while others have been attracted by his consistent ability to get the best out of every horse under his care. Those inmates include a handful of home-bred horses out of useful mares previously trained at Newstead.
With a happy, enthusiastic and knowledgeable staff, Malcolm Jefferson is one of jump racing’s stalwart trainers; hugely experienced, always approachable and still passionate about the game he loves.