Cameron Sword only got into racing during Covid and, incredibly, he bought his share in Lucinda Russell’s second Grand National winner for just £4,000 after he had already won a point-to-point and two hurdles. Corach Rambler is now heading back to Aintree with every chance of emulating fellow Cheltenham Festival hero Tiger Roll as a dual National winner, while Sword’s involvement in racing is expanding at pace through his creation of Claymore Racing.


My interest in racing only really started during Covid, as I’m sports mad and horse racing was about the only sport on, so I’ve been incredibly lucky with Corach Rambler. I started watching racing and reading about it, and the more I saw the more I wanted to learn. As a naive 19-year-old I looked up my nearest trainer and just gave Lucinda [Russell] a ring, more for some of the behind-the-scenes access you don’t get in other sports than anything else. Lucinda had what she felt was a good starter horse for someone like me, and I joined six other lads in Corach Rambler, who was literally the first racehorse I’d seen close up like that. He was beaten the first time he ran after I became involved, but the buzz it gave me watching him was one of the coolest sporting moments I’d had at the time.

I wasn’t able to go to Cheltenham when he won the novice handicap there at the December meeting, but I was there for his first Ultima win, and I’ve never missed him since. It was my first time at Cheltenham and as it was the Tuesday, the roar at the start of the Supreme showed me how different Cheltenham is to anywhere else. There was no pressure as just being there with a horse who cost only £17,000 felt like we’d already won, but as the race unfolded, we felt more and more that he was going to win. Winning the Ultima really opened my eyes and felt like winning the Champions League. I didn’t expect it to happen again last year, as it was mainly a prep run for Aintree, so as soon as he crossed the line I thought ‘Wow, he really could win the National’.

The Gold Cup is for the best horses but the Grand National is the one I wanted to win most, as it’s connected with so many great stories and the atmosphere at Aintree is incredible. Corach Rambler was 10lb well in and favourite, but the whole day was almost too good to be true. It gave us all more confidence when Derek Fox passed his medical just an hour or so before the race, as he was already a National winner and Corach takes a bit of knowing. The whole experience not only lived up to, but exceeded, all expectations. It was unbelievable.

I’m still a student for a couple more months but life has changed quite a lot for me since Aintree. I’ve been to events and met people I’d never have dreamed of meeting, and I’ve set up my own syndicate, Claymore Racing. I’ve always wanted to be in professional sport or run a business and at 21 or 22 I thought I should just go for it, then if it didn’t work out it’s not the end of the world. Nothing else quite gives me the feeling I get from being on the racecourse and having a runner, and pretty much as soon as the celebrations were over we bought a horse called King Of Answers, who unfortunately got a tendon injury when a promising third to a subsequent Cheltenham winner at Bangor. Going from such a massive high to that low put in perspective how lucky I’ve been with Corach Rambler, but he’ll be back, and we’ve since bought two more.

Getting more involved in the sport through Claymore Racing is so rewarding; the early disappointment has just made me even hungrier for success. I targeted younger people and started out with microshares of £60, but we are still mostly attracting more of an older demographic. We are trying to keep the costs as low as possible, and because prize-money is so poor, we are offering other benefits like The Racing Manager, video calls, stable visits and so on. I finish university in May and after an internship in London last summer doing data analytics, I know I need to be genuinely interested in what I’m doing in order to be fully motivated. I appreciate how lucky I am to be getting so involved in racing at such a young age, and I can’t wait to one day compete down south with other syndicate horses.

If racing is going to attract the younger audience it needs, it has to be more affordable, just as the Dublin Racing Festival was. Invades, which was set up by Dom Matcham, is a brilliant concept and is doing a great job with student race days, putting on live music, lowering the ticket price and so on. I think students can go to the Grand National for £30 or so, and Dom organises buses and so on from university. Invades has brought 3,500 or 4,000 students to Musselburgh on a Sunday, and not only are they valuable paying customers, they also contribute massively to the atmosphere and the experience of others. Sport needs an audience and an atmosphere, and it’s not much fun when there are only a handful of people there. The drop off away from Cheltenham and Aintree and so on is massive.

Racing is too niche and over-complicated and it’s closing itself off too much. Pub talk with friends is all football and rugby, and racing hardly gets a look in. When it does, the racing terms that those of us involved use in conversation are lost on others, and so they quickly lose interest. We should be concentrating more on the great storylines, and the sport’s characters, by which I don’t necessarily mean celebrities but people like Shark Hanlon. The Hewick story is an incredible one.

Cheltenham was very much a prep race for the National again for Corach Rambler, and he nearly didn’t run because of the ground, so his Gold Cup third was brilliant. It worked as a prep last year, so fingers crossed. Tiger Roll was instrumental in getting me interested in racing, and there are obvious similarities between him and Corach Rambler. Last year I thought if he stayed on his feet he’d win and this year I think his chance is about the same. I certainly wouldn’t swap him for anything else in the race. It’s exciting to be in that position again, but if I never win another race, I’ll still finish off in the sport the happiest man alive.