Denton Hall Team
- 24-Feb-2024: Latest News from Denton Hall Stables the home of Michael Dods Racing
- 25-Jan-2024: Marcello Si wins for the second time this year at Newcastle under Clifford Lee
- 17-Jan-2024: Stallone goes in at Newcastle under William Pyle for our third win of 2024
- 04-Jan-2024: 2024 gets off to cracking start as Marcello Si and Hale End land Newcastle double under Clifford Lee
Have you a question you'd like to ask a member of the team? Then send it to us by email and we'll endeavour to answer it.
Michael started training from Denton Hall, near Darlington, in 1990, following the sudden death of his father Dickie Dods.
Since then, Michael has developed into one of the most consistent trainers in the north of England, surpassing the 1,000-winner mark in 2022.
In recent seasons, Michael’s reputation has been elevated by the Group 1 successes of Mecca’s Angel and Mabs Cross. Mecca’s Angel became the first horse in 30 years to win back to back runnings of the Nunthorpe Stakes in 2015 and 2016, while the victory of Mabs Cross in the 2018 Prix de l’Abbaye took the stable over the £1m barrier for the season.
Michael was born into a family that had farmed at Denton Hall for two generations and the family business still includes, sheep, arable and fattening beef cattle.
Carole has been an integral part of the training operation throughout Michael’s career.
The couple married in 1990 – the year Michael took over from his father – so the success of the yard over three decades has been a true partnership.
Carole grew up as part of a farming family at nearby Caldwell and was an accomplished team chase rider in her youth.
As well as managing the administrative needs of a busy racing stable, Carole also fulfils a vital role behind the scenes with the horses.
For example, her patience in leading the headstrong Dakota Gold up to the start and helping him to settle at the stalls was key to the horse’s remarkable success.
Assistant trainer/work rider
Chloe joined the team permanently as Assistant Trainer and Work Rider in June 2022, having gained plenty of experience as an amateur jockey.
She says the highlight of her career in the saddle was riding Archi’s Affaire in the 2019 Queen Mother’s Cup at York. Although unplaced, she loved the experience of riding on the famous Knavesmire.
As well as riding out regularly at Denton Hall, Chloe has also passed a road haulage exam so brings transport management expertise to the yard.
She graduated from York St John University in 2018 with a first-class honours degree in biomedical science.
Sophie has had plenty of rides as an amateur jockey and the highlight of her career came in June 2018 when she won the Queen Mother’s Cup on Mister Belvedere in a thrilling finish at York.
Sophie graduated from York St John University in 2018 with a first class honours degree in biomedical science and works as an ACA qualified chartered accountant.
However, she still rides out regularly at Denton Hall and is a valuable part of the operation.
Steve is a real stalwart at Denton Hall, having first worked on the farm as a 20-year-old and progressed through the ranks.
Born and raised three miles down the road at Killerby, he’s the son of a farm worker and has a lifelong passion for horses.
Steve has had two stints at Denton Hall, having worked for us for 14 years before leaving to run his own business. Having returned to the yard, he’s now in his 13th season back and doing a great job.
His role involves the feeding of the horses, maintenance, working the gallops, and generally ensuring it is a smooth operation. He is a real asset.
"I just do whatever needs sorting and, for me, the satisfaction is about seeing the horses healthy and happy," he says.
Outside of work, his hobbies include watching cricket, with his son, James, playing for Barnard Castle. He’s also recently become a doting grandad.
Best racing memory: “Mecca’s Angel winning the Nunthorpe Stakes at York the first time was a great day.”
Phil is one of the founding partners of Hambleton Equine Clinic and has become a leading authority on veterinary practices in the racing industry.
Having established the clinic in October 2012, this is his seventh season working with Michael Dods Racing, and has enjoyed seeing the stable flourish in recent seasons.
He is part of the British Equine Veterinary Association Council, and also sits on the Veterinary Committee of the British Horseracing Authority, adding a practical and pragmatic industry voice.
Phil qualified from the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies in 2005, and completed an internship at The Equine Medical Centre of Ocala, in Florida, followed by a Surgical Residency at Michigan State University. He is, therefore, one of the few veterinary surgeons in the country to hold dual US and European Diplomas in Equine Surgery.
He has developed a particular expertise in lameness and surgery, and the practice has a hospital which provides a referral service for vets across the North of England.
Phil is married to Caroline Blakiston, another founder of Hambleton Equine Clinic, who has a particular interest in racing, having trained and ridden her own point-to-pointers. Caroline is the senior veterinary surgeon at Catterick and Sedgefield racecourses.
Phil says his racing highlight is seeing Michael Dods Racing emerge as a stable capable of producing Group winners, such as Mecca’s Angel and Mabs Cross.
“It’s really satisfying to be part of a team that is doing so well,” he says.
Travelling Head Lad
As the man in charge of making sure our horses get to the races safe and sound, Kenny has a huge responsibility.
But, with a lifetime of experience behind him, we have every confidence in Kenny’s ability to carry out the role calmly and professionally.
Born in Middlesbrough, Kenny’s racing career started as an apprentice jockey for George Robinson, at Haggerston Castle in Northumberland.
He then moved to Middleham to work for Ken Payne; followed by Bill Watts, at Richmond; Basil Richmond, in Lincolnshire; Lynda Ramsden and Andy Turnell, near Thirsk; and Alan Swinbank, at Melsonby.
He’s been a trusted part of the set-up at Denton Hall for eight years and last year was recognised by Catterick Racecourse for his lifetime of achievement in racing.
“I’ve been all over the world, met some wonderful people, and love the camararderie,” says Kenny, who rode 10 winners on the flat and another 10 over jumps.
Kenny has an abundance of racing memories, not least transporting Mecca’s Angel and Mabs Cross to their Group One victories. But another that stands out is riding out on Teleprompter every morning before he won the Arlington Million for Bill Watts in 1985.
Connor hails from Spennymoor and is the grandson of Bobby Beasley, assistant trainer to the legendary Arthur Stephenson. Connor started riding out for Richard Guest at 14 and joined Michael Dods in 2012, having his first winner at Ayr in that year.
In his first season as a professional, he suffered an horrific fall at Wolverhampton but has made an admirable recovery. He has developed a particularly successful relationship with Dakota Gold, and won back-to-back Stewards' Cups at Glorious Goodwood aboard Commanche Falls.
Paul, who grew up in Ealing, began his career in 2000, rode his first winner at Southwell in 2001, and went on to ride out his claim three years later. He joined the elite 1,000-winner club in 2019 when steering Camacho Chief to victory for Michael Dods at Doncaster.
He had his first Group 1 success on Mecca’s Angel for the stable in the 2015 Nunthorpe Stakes at York and the filly defended her crown a year later. Paul also enjoyed a Group-winning relationship with Mabs Cross.
Peter Barron is one of the North-East’s best-known journalists, with nearly 40 years’ experience, and was the longest-serving editor of The Northern Echo.
He’s also passionate about racing and manages our social media, website and press relations.
Media enquiries can be made through Peter on 07711 958272.
Valued Team Members
Other Key Staff
Ollie & Bruce
Ollie, the Labrador, and Bruce, the Alsatian, don’t really contribute much to the operation but we love them anyway.
Ollie belongs to Sophie and is described as “pretty lazy” but that’s OK because he’s getting on a bit.
In stark contrast, Chloe’s dog, Bruce, is “hyperactive” but we forgive him because he’s only young.
Barney was Michael’s first group winner and he is now enjoying retirement out in the field at Denton Hall.
He’s 21 now and is the apple of Carole’s eye. If it was a choice between Michael and Barney, there’d only be one winner!
He’s seen just about everything in his time, so he’s the wise old sage of the operation, keeping an eye out for the young ‘uns and making sure all of us are doing things right.
In fact, Barney's wit and wisdom is so admired at Denton Hall, he's now even got his own blog!