Roger Charlton is the current trainer at Beckhampton stables on the Western side of Marlborough He follows several illustrious trainers, including Sam and Fred Darling, Noel Murless, and Charlton's mentor, Jeremy Tree.
It's a stable that invites longevity from its inmates. Darling, Murless and Tree and Charlton are the only trainers based there since before the First World War, and Charlton's 21 years as incumbent make him a mere acorn amongst those mighty oaks who were his predecessors.
He made an immediate impact at the start of his career, winning both the English and French Derby winners in 1990. However, over the years, he has had more regular success with sprinters, winning the Sprint Cup at Haydock Park with Tamarisk (1998) and Tante Rose (2004) and the top French sprint, the Prix de L'Abbayes, with Patavellian (2003) and Avonbridge (2005).
This season Charlton is particularly excited about Bated Breath, who came in second behind Dream Ahead in the July Cup earlier this month. He views Bated Breath as the best speed horse he has ever trained, and he has won five of his ten starts to date. However, Charlton's view is that his best two performances came in his last two races, in both of which he was defeated. Before his run at Newmarket, Bated Breath had finished in fifth place in Royal Ascot's Group 1 Golden Jubilee, just two lengths behind Society Rock.
As a result of these two runs, Bated Breath's rating has gone up from 113 to 118, official support for Charlton's view that the horse continues to improve at the age of four. It's this that leads him to think that York's Nunthorpe is the right race for Bated Breath to tackle next. "We are thinking about the Nunthorpe over five next time and I've always been of the opinion that, although we've had a lot of good sprinters here, he was the best. I think that ratings would confirm that and he has an amazing physique and is extremely laid back."
In the Nunthorpe, Bated Breath would not come up against either of the horses to have beaten him recently, so it must provide an excellent opportunity for him to gain a Group 1 success.