James Ewart heads into the new National Hunt season full of optimism and excitement after installing a state-of-the-art Tapeta gallop at his base in the Scottish Borders.
Ewart has had a good grounding for the training game, having worked under the likes of Nicky Henderson, Ferdy Murphy and multiple French champion trainer Guillaume Macaire before starting out on his own in 2004.
He has quickly built up a reputation as one of the most upwardly mobile young trainers on the northern circuit, saddling 23 winners from his Langholm base during the last campaign, with Quicuyo and Time Out scoring four times apiece. He is confident of beating that tally this season.
"We train in the Scottish Borders and first and foremost it is wonderful to have a Tapeta gallop in Scotland and I am very proud to have it here on the farm," said Ewart, speaking at a press morning at his yard.
"It's a Flat, oval gallop over five and a half furlongs. We've had a very wet winter so far, which means all the turf gallops you might utilise are terribly testing. We've now got this gallop, which has allowed us to continue working horses on a surface you would consider good ground.
"This is only the fourth Tapeta track in the UK. Two are at Godolphin in Newmarket and the other is Mark Johnston's in Middleham. For us to have the fourth is a massive thing for us."
Tapeta is the brainchild of the legendary trainer Michael Dickinson, most famous for saddling the first five home in the 1983 Cheltenham Gold Cup
Ewart went on: "We have 35 horses in training and I think there's a few young horses to look out for. We have a very nice novice chaser called Lets Get Serious, who won his bumper at Cheltenham for Nicky Henderson. He'll run at Doncaster on November 30.
"We have an exceptionally nice novice hurdler called Lord Wishes, who won his two bumpers from two starts. He might go to Doncaster as well.
"We have a very exciting recruit from France who won his only start over hurdles, called Rockawango, and the handicapper to watch is Beneficial Reform. He was second to Air Force One at Doncaster last season and set the track record there over three miles as a novice. He's very exciting ."
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