The unbeaten Reckless Abandon, who gave you a second Group 1 success in the Prix Morny, is one of the most exciting juveniles in Britain. Is he the best you’ve had?

Yes, I think he is the best I have trained to date, but that takes nothing away from Xtension or Gilt Edge Girl. To have Reckless Abandon in the yard makes a huge difference as last year we said goodbye to some great old friends: Balthazaar’s Gift, Dunelight, Beacon Lodge and Polly’s Mark.

We really needed a new star and thank goodness he came along.

How did you manage to pick him up for only £24,000 and what did you know about his sire, Exchange Rate?

Last August I didn’t have any orders in place and the trade was very strong for the obvious and fashionable sires. Exchange Rate wasn’t a sire I knew a lot about but the dam’s side was very familiar.

I remember Ticker Tape very well; she was a dual Grade 1 winner and is a half-sister to Sant Elena, the dam of Reckless Abandon. Reckless Abandon caught my eye immediately as he was very athletic and a smashing individual.

As soon as I got him home Stephen Barrow saw him and he and Julie Deadman took a half share each.

What is the plan for the rest of this season and what do you see his optimum trip being next year?

Reckless Abandon is very quick into his stride and has an effortless and natural high cruising speed. Being so effective at five, five and a half and six furlongs, I think the Middle Park Stakes at Newmarket is the logical step.

Who knows, next year I’m sure we will explore going further; his pedigree suggests a mile wouldn’t be impossible and I wouldn’t rule anything out.

We have campaigned him gently and at this stage we all know that he has proved a potent force over five and six furlongs. He has looked amazing since winning the Morny, his physical progress is on an upward curve and hopefully that continues.

As you would expect, we had plenty of interest in him. He has been bought by Darley, but leased back to Stephen and Julie and will remain in training here until the end of next year.

It is a fairytale story and I am so pleased and proud for the whole team that he will still be racing for us and not moving on.

Your first Group 1 winner, Gilt Edge Girl, and Guineas fourth Xtension were also cheap purchases. What’s your secret?

An athletic individual is my first priority and it’s never a surprise that most good horses have a clue in the family.

So, as many ticks in as many boxes is what I like, plus, of course, a big dollop of luck!

In the current climate, is it possible to buy on spec and then find an owner?

Being a farmer’s son I am a value-for-money person, but I know what I like and would happily buy on spec at the right price.

That said, I’m not foolish and normally know the type you can move along.

You rode nearly 100 winners over jumps. What was the highlight and how does it compare with training?

I am pleased I am making a fist of training, as it is hard to replace the thrill of race-riding. I was fortunate to ride many good horses for nice people.

Winning the Frogmore Chase at Ascot on Admiral’s Cup for Fred Winter and the Mares Final at Newbury on Atrabetes were probably the highlights, and, as second jockey to Atrabates’s trainer Oliver Sherwood, I was lucky enough to ride in nearly all the races at the Cheltenham Festival.

Training is much more demanding, but I’m delighted the taste of success is just as sweet.

Jump jockey-turned-Flat trainer, Clive Cox

In what way does the jockeys’ school of hard knocks provide a good preparation for a training career?

I think the apprenticeship as a jump jockey, especially with its unpredictable nature, is a very helpful foundation as you quickly learn about the highs and lows.

Also, I was lucky to have ridden in an era before jockeys’ agents, so you had to manage yourself and be very hands on with owners and trainers, which I now appreciate. The daily uncertainty also allows you to really appreciate the good days.

As you say, you come from a farming background in Somerset. What influence did that have on you and what made you want to train?

Learning how to handle stock was part of growing up and my father and grandfather always had horses and ponies. I’m grateful for those formative years and wish my grandfather could see us now.

He loved racing and was a regular racegoer, owning horses with Percy Allden in Newmarket and Ken Cundell at Compton. He passed that interest on to me and I am pleased he saw me ride a winner on the Flat and a treble at Newton Abbot. Dad still works hard milking every day.

I wanted to be a jockey and I was very focused and blinkered in that respect. But as time progressed as a second jockey, it was clear I had to work much harder than others to achieve what I did.

The first jockey turns up last in the morning, jumps on and off, whereas the second jockey has to do that bit extra. Now I am grateful for that because it helped me to learn more about the training side of things.

What gives you the most satisfaction in your job?

Buying a yearling, watching it develop and planning that path which leads to the racecourse and hopefully the winner’s enclosure.

Also, being alone to look around last thing at night is always special; I guess that’s the farmer in me.

France has been a happy hunting ground. Will you be targeting more French prizes?

I love racing in France and now with the Channel Tunnel making it even easier to travel horses it makes sense and the owners normally enjoy it.

Of course, the higher levels of prize-money there make it an attractive project as long as it suits the horse. I just wish I could improve my French!

Gerald Mosse partnered Reckless Abandon to his two French victories after Adam Kirby had ridden him to win the Norfolk Stakes at Royal Ascot. What was behind the change?

Adam Kirby was my apprentice and is now a first class jockey. He was banned for three weeks after Ascot so wasn’t available for the Prix Robert Papin.

Gerald Mosse is top class and we have always used him as much as possible in France, so he rode him in the Morny as well. However, Adam will be back on board in the Middle Park.

Adam is always trying, amazingly strong and is a wonderful judge of pace. He is a horseman as well as a jockey and can always tell you something.

Plenty of your horses seem to have been around for ever. What’s the key to keeping these horses sound and happy?

I do get attached to some of them. We retired Dansili Dancer, who was a very good servant to us, but his re-homing didn’t go according to plan and he came back to us the other day.

I went out to see him in the field the other night and he knew me. It was like greeting part of the family. I am always very proud of the enthusiasm of our older horses, which gives me great confidence and pleasure in our facilities and routine. They must all be happy.

Now that your landlord John Francome has decided to stand down from his television work in 2013 will he be riding out even more for you?

John is the best. He has always been so helpful and when he rides out, which is most days, the craic is lively.

He is a good judge and when we occasionally school one is still a joy to watch.

Does your cheery outlook disguise the stresses there must be in training 80 horses?

All trainers will tell you it doesn’t go right all the time. I am my biggest critic but I also have confidence in my team and even on a bad day, after a couple of hours on my tractor, I can piece it all back together.

I hate being the bearer of bad news but I do believe in dealing with things head-on.

Will you be expanding your business and what is the maximum number of horses you’d be comfortable with?

We are actually in the process of finishing a new barn, which will take the numbers up to 100. This is more than I had ever imagined but to maintain your position you need the horses.

The facilities at Beechdown are brilliant and we have evolved carefully and gradually, with the necessary attention to detail in order to get the very best out of every single horse.

With a wife, Tina, and two daughters, Lucy and Emily, how do you juggle family life with running a successful stable? Do any of them ride out or play a part in the business?

I like to spend as much time as possible with my family; they grow up so quickly. Tina has been a rock all the way, supporting us through many hard times.

Both Lucy and Emily are good riders but I am sure they will take their own paths in life.

Tariffs have been controversial but seem to have achieved the objective of increasing prize-money at certain tracks. Do you support them and would you ignore races below a certain value?

They’ve achieved a lot but we still have a long way to go. Northern Racing, now merged with Arena under ‘ARC’, concerns me very much and until you win one of their races it doesn’t sink in just how bad the prize-money situation is.

And now, with the prospect of losing tracks like Folkestone and Hereford, it concerns me deeply.

I have avoided below-tariff races, but I also understand when you have struggled to get a horse right and there aren’t many options, you have to do what is best for the horse.