James Horton will return to Newmarket to train next term after “parting ways” with owner John Dance.
Horton, who spent seven years as assistant trainer to Sir Michael Stoute, was recruited by Dance and his wife Jess to be their private trainer, saddling his first winner from his new Middleham outfit in April 2022.
However, Dance was blocked from having runners by the British Horseracing Authority earlier this year after an intervention from the Financial Conduct Authority.
Dance founded Vertem Asset Management, a prominent sponsor within racing, but that firm was one of three trading names of WealthTek LLP, which was ordered to cease trading by the FCA in April due to “serious regulatory and operational issues coming to light”.
Leading chaser Bravemansgame, who was co-owned by Dance, was subsequently barred from running at Aintree’s Grand National meeting, but was later allowed to resume his career as Bryan Drew took sole ownership.
Dance’s other horses, most of which resided with Horton, were cleared to run under either the Coverdale Stud or Titanium Racing Club names in May, but it was announced on Monday that “further concerns have since come to light” and another interim stop had been put on runners by the BHA.
Horton has now decided to move back to Newmarket to continue his career on his own.
A statement issued to the PA news agency said: “In light of the ongoing uncertainty for James Horton and his team, he is to part ways with owners John and Jess Dance in North Yorkshire and relocate to Newmarket to train independently from there next season.
“He is very grateful for the opportunities which have been given, where he has trained some wonderful horses and looks forward to the future ahead.”
Sam Maximus recorded Horton’s biggest success to date when winning the Listed Hopeful Stakes last term, with Phantom Flight arguably the stable’s star performer in winning three times, including a handicap contest at last year’s Ebor meeting.