Carluke trainer Keith Dalgleish once had to quit riding as he was 6ft tall and weighed 14 stones

Keith Dalgleish rode around 300 winners before quitting as a jockey back in 2004
Keith Dalgleish rode around 300 winners before quitting as a jockey back in 2004

Carluke horse trainer Keith Dalgleish has been reminiscing about his former riding career, which was cut short as he was just too big.

Dalgleish (35) has established himself as one of the top handlers north of the border in recent seasons, most recently training over 100 winners in 2017 and 30+ so far this year.

That success, achieved from his plush base at Carluke’s Belstane Racing Stables, comes after a stint riding between 2000 and 2004, when he was the apprentice jockey for trainer Mark Johnston.

Dalgleish rode around 300 winners in five seasons – including a £70,000 Group 1 in Germany aboard Yavanas Pace – despite a large frame which ended up with him being six feet tall and weighing 14 stones.

“Weight management was always the difficulty I had as a jockey,” the Coldstream-born trainer told the Carluke and Lanark Gazette.

“In the summer months it was particularly difficult, because in the heat you need to hydrate.

“And I eventually had to quit my riding career because I was too heavy,” added Keith, who started at Belstane in 2011.

“I was fortunate in that Mark Johnston gave me a chance when I was young and still light.

“If I had taken a while to get into riding then I would never have done it in the first place.

“My frame eventually got too big for me.

“Nowadays there are a few races where the jockeys have to be a minimum of nine stones, which would suit me better than what it was like back in the day.”

As a trainer, Dalgleish made an impressive opening impact to the 2012 flat season, notching up 52 winners, a record not held by a Scottish flat trainer for 55 years. In 2016 he became champion trainer in Scotland, eclipsing the previous records with an impressive 80 flat winners.

Dalgleish has now managed an impressive 330+ winners over the flat and jumps since 2013.

In the process, these victories have earned almost £3 million in prize money.