The Early Days (Race Horse Training in Ireland)
A highly accomplished amateur rider, Michael Halford rode over 50 winners throughout his riding career. While his record as an amateur rider was highly creditable, Michael ultimately decided that his future lay in the training ranks, and at the age of 21 he took out a licence to train, buying a piece of land at Pollardstown on the Curragh where he built a house and 10 boxes in 1985.
Those 10 boxes soon became 30, but it was far from plain sailing during the late 1980’s and early 1990’s. Michael’s visits to the winners’ enclosure became more frequent from 2000 onwards and has continued to concentrate on self-improvement as well as raising the calibre of horses in his yard.
The Big Wins
Since then he has been represented by multiple Stakes winners such as Invincible Ash, Miss Sally, Eastern Appeal and Snaefell along with jumpers such as Golden Cross, who was twice placed at Cheltenham and famously defeated a stellar field of hurdlers to spring a 66/1 shock in a Grade 1 at Leopardstown’s Christmas meeting in December 2003.
Evidence of Michael’s growing stature in the early part of the last decade came at the Guineas meeting at the Curragh in 2003 when he sent out four winners over two days at one of the best meetings of the year in Ireland.
Several years ago Michael was asked to train a number of horses for His Highness the Aga Khan and further evidence of his progress up the training ladder came a couple of years ago when Sheikh Mohammed invited him to train two yearlings, one of whom transpired to be Casamento.
Group 1 Glory
Prior to Casamento’s Group 1 success in the 2010 Racing Post trophy, Michael Halford had been heralded as one of the brightest young training talents in Europe with the facilities to match that reputation. Casemento duly delivered on the biggest stage, and in doing so, provided Michael with that elusive Group 1 win. That success has made Michael even hungrier to replicate such a triumph and everybody in Copper Beech Stables shares the same aspirations; to record wins at the very highest level.
Moving To Copper Beech Stables
Michael has been operating at Copper Beech stables for the past eight years now and made the move look seemingless. The winners have steadily increased and so too has the calibre of horses within his care. The purpose built yard at Doneany, just outside Kildare , offers owners world class facilities for their horses and provides each horse with the best possible chance of reaching their full potential on the track.