Ollie Pears has high hopes for My Arch in Cesarewitch

Pears, the son of a farmer near Barnsley, was riding out for family friend trainer Steve Norton by the age of 11 and had already won a John Smith's Cup on Mr Confusion by the time he was 17.

His career did not quite stall after that dream start, but, in his own words, it became "middle of the road." In all he rode 168 winners, although even before concussion brought the riding to a halt in 2002 he had planned to go down the training route.

Initially, he set up a successful livery yard before spending 18 months in charge of Howard Johnson's two-year-olds followed by a short spell with Michael Dickinson, in Maryland.

In November 2007 he found the Old Farmhouse at Malton, a yard he has subsequently bought, and walked in there with just three horses. Emphasising the dual purpose nature of his business, his first winner was over fences, the second was a two-year-old. He has now had 58 winners.

"We're progressing," he said. "We've had a good time in what has been a rough period financially, so hopefully we'll be fine. The quality is up, the numbers are up, but I won't have horses in the yard just for the training fee. If they're no good we move them on. I've never lost an owner from being truthful."

Pears was racing at Catterick one day 18 months ago when the owners of My Arch, who had spent a year in a field after injuring his back in a fall at Perth, asked him to look at the horse.

"It was only two miles up the road from the racecourse," recalled Pears. "As there was space on the wagon, I took him home with the plan to give him one run before last year's Cesarewitch. But he fell down on the road. I didn't want to give him his first run for 18 months in the Cesarewitch, so we ran him at York and then won a handicap chase with him at Musselburgh last November, but I was already thinking Cesarewitch then.

"When he won over two miles at Newmarket last time he looked like he wanted further. Franny Norton is a good jockey with 20 years experience in these sort of races. I've told him to make sure he's fit because My Arch will be off the bridle six out, but will stay on. We've had to graft hard to get where we are, so it's super to have one with a chance in a big race."

From The Telegraph, By Marcus Armytage

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