Group 1-winning trainer Michael Halford has revealed that he is set to join forces with Tracey Collins and take out a joint-licence ahead of the new Flat season in March.
Halford, whose Group 1 win was achieved with Casamento (Ire) in the Racing Post Trophy in 2010, has also enjoyed international success in Dubai as well as Royal Ascot glory in recent years from his Copper Beech Stables.
However, he is set to relocate from that purpose-built facility to Collins' Conyngham Lodge yard on the Curragh, where the pair will become just the second joint-licence holders in Ireland.
Speaking about the move, Halford, who sent out 24 Flat winners last term, said, “The association between the Collins family and Irish racing goes back close to a century and is one of the proudest in our sport. I'm grateful, humbled and excited by the chance to train alongside Tracey at one of the most famous yards on the Curragh and look forward to starting this new chapter next month.”
Halford is one of the few trainers in Ireland to have sent out more than 1,000 winners. He has trained for some of the biggest owners in racing, including Godolphin and the Aga Khan, and his seasonal tally of winners has hit double figures every year since 1998.
Collins has enjoyed notable success in her own right, notably with stable star Captain Joy (Ire), and hails from a family steeped in Irish racing history. Her grandfather, M.C. Collins, sent out Windsor Slipper to win the Irish Triple Crown in 1942 and trained five Classic winners from Conyngham Lodge. Her father, Con, will forever be associated with Sandy Creek, the Classic-winning Princess Pati and the Moyglare S. heroine Chelsea Rose.
Collins, who sent out two winners last term, commented, “There is a long and proud tradition here at Conyngham Lodge and I'm greatly looking forward to the next chapter in the yard's history by teaming up with Michael from the start of March. It's an exciting venture and one full of potential and I hope we have much to look forward to over the coming months and years.”
Father-and-son team Eddie and Patrick Harty are the only other joint-licence holders in Ireland but Danny Murphy is understood to be in the process of joining Kieran Cotter on the licence.