Racing Post

Bloodstock People
February 2001

Name: James Delahooke
Age: 56
Occupation: Bloodstock Agent

How and when did you become involved in racing?

I made my first trip to Ballydoyle aged 13 and have been hooked ever since.

Who had the greatest influence on your career?

Guy Harwood, who was the first person to give me the chance to show whether I knew anything about the horse.

What aspect of your job do you most enjoy?

Following the success of past purchases on the racecourse and at stud – for example, the Juddmonte and Gerald Leigh foundation mares. There are over 50 stallions standing who I purchased as yearlings.

And least enjoy?

Reading catalogues.

What was your best day in the business?

Probably To-Agori-Mou’s win in the 1980 Solario Stakes at Sandown, because it was the first time we were taken seriously and people realised that Ela-Mana-Mou hadn’t been a fluke.

If you intended to spend 500,000gns on a yearling or store horse, whose opinion would you seek? And who would train and ride the horse?

I would take the opinion of my assistant Anthea Gibson-Fleming, who is the hardest working and most able assistant anyone could have. The trainer would be Amanda Perrett or John Hills and the jockey Kieron Fallon.

Who is the most underrated stallion?

Celtic Swing. He was very under-promoted at the National Stud and is now resident at the Irish equivalent where, for the first time in his life, he might get a serious chance.

Who do you most admire in racing/bloodstock?

Alec Head and Vincent O’Brien, because they are the two most complete horsemen in the world, having mastered every aspect of the bloodstock business.

What is your ambition?

To buy a Derby winner. I’ve been second twice, with Dancing Brave and Master Willie, and have bought the sire and dam of two winners.

What would you like to see change in the bloodstock industry and why?

The guinea is an anachronism in this day and age and should be done away with. It causes confusion and aggravation and we should be selling in pounds. I’d also like to see Tattersalls falling into line with all other sales companies and stop announcing when horses are on the market.

What advice would you offer to a newcomer in the industry?

Remember that the horse is a herd-instinct herbivore and treat it as such; stay close to mother nature and go to Australia.