A chance to catch up on the most recent P2P Focus in the Racing Post, which featured Francesca Nimmo and Charlie Poste...
Doctor Beeching's axe may have been the death knell for thousands of rural railway lines in the 1960s, but it did Francesca Nimmo and Charlie Poste a favour.
One such stretch near Stratford makes a tree-lined canter on which to warm up their string of pointers before descending the railway bank into an open field for more serious work on an all-weather gallop. They rent a cottage, stables and the gallop on a working farm owned by Richard and Ken Hutsby, the last-named having owned the high-class jumper Mighty Moss.
Nimmo and Poste met six years ago, moved to their current yard three years later and now look after 50 horses, comprising breakers, horses out of training, and a string of pointers that focuses on opposite ends of the sport, namely stores who are bought to race and be sold, and horses ridden by their owners or novice riders. Poste, a professional jockey, is the right man to break and school a store, and also give advice to riders with little or no experience of racing.
Nimmo says: "Charlie does most of the work with the breakers, but on Sunday, when we run a first-time-out four-year-old [Courtandbould] at Larkhill, he is more likely to go to Cottenham with owner-rider Gordy Hopkinson, who rides his own Black Jewel."
The couple's pleasure at helping novices is summed up by Poste, who says: "Last season we helped Alice Stevens win the novice women's title – all her wins came on Fran's horses, including one on the last day of the season that proved decisive. That gave us as much kick as selling a horse at the Festival sales."
Poste says the pinhooking gained wings in the spring of 2015 when: "We broke in an unraced Kayf Tara filly called Fortunata Fashions who won at Brocklesby Park [and then sold for £55,000]. That was the catalyst, and every year since we've bought a few more and spent a bit more. We buy them on spec – Francesca is brilliant at conformation and fussy, while I'm more impulsive, so we make a good combination.
"We have to compromise because perfect pedigrees and conformation are out of our budget. The top price we gave this year was £32,000 at Doncaster for a son of Della Francesca, but we have horses at £5,000 and plenty at £10-£15,000, and if we can sell 50 per cent to like-minded people all the better."
Why not run them in bumpers or novices' hurdles with Poste in the saddle? He says: "Because I'd get blamed when they were beaten! The pointing model suits us because we like the mix of young horses and young riders or owner-riders."