He’s been a jockey - he’s been a trainer. Now Philip Hide has a new role in racing.
The popular West Sussex-based figure has been appointed trainee clerk of the course at Fontwell and Brighton – two racecourses he knows extremely well from both his days riding and training.
He had a successful career as a National-Hunt jockey which spanned 19 years, during which time he rode more than 400 winners for the likes of Josh Gifford and Gary Moore, with more than 80 of those wins coming at Fontwell Park.
His first response when presented with this statistic was “It should have been more” – summing up his humility and giving a reminder of why he is so well-respected within the industry.
Hide went on to set up as a flat trainer, saddling 18 winners at Brighton – for which he gave credit to the track for being lucky for him - before making the difficult but conscientious decision to bring his training days to a close in the summer.
Talking about Fontwell, he fondly remembered his win in the Sussex National – now the Southern National – during the early part of his career in 2001, when he claimed victory for Gifford and ‘a good bunch of owners’ on board 7/1 shot Lordberniebouffant - describing it as ‘one of the highlights’.
Less fondly, he also recalled a time in the days when you could re-mount a horse saying, “I had a horse odds-on and it turned over with me. I re-mounted and just got beat a whisker.” That horse was aptly named No Pain No Gain I.
On his knowledge of the hurdle and chase course at Fontwell he said: “I know it as well as jockeys could know a course. I always liked to walk it if I could before racing."
He is a fan of the new all-weather bend, which he was not lucky enough to experience as a rider: “I think it’s a very good thing. When I started there was a common bend at the bottom and the top and you had the chasers going around it one way and the hurdlers the other [before the bottom was changed to one way] – it used to get really chopped up and trashed – but that was a step in the right direction and now the all-weather is there it’s even better.
“It is less maintenance but also for the jockeys, you can ride more of a race, because it was getting pretty slippy out wider and if you went three deep you were never really going around there as well as you should have been.”
Hide went on to explain that the bend isn’t as tight as it may look to spectators. He said: “It rides a lot better than it looks.”
He added: “The hurdle course is a very fair course, you can ride a race around there, and the chase course suits a lot of horses because you’re always on the turn – horses who like to be kept mentally busy, it does suit them.”
With his depth of knowledge, you can see why Hide has been chosen to take up the new role. For the next six months he will be working towards his official accreditation but is looking forward to the challenge.
* They race at Fontwell tomorrow (Fri Nov 9) - then it's all systems go for Southern National Day on Sunday 18.