1 9 9 1 – 1 9 9 2 (UK)
20 x 50 minute episodes
Dreary BBC drama about an up and coming horse racing trainer, Mike Hardy (Mark Greenstreet), seeking to succeed in the Sport of Kings.
Hardy secured the backing of grouchy businessman James Brant (Nigel Davenport), who sent his best horses to Hardy’s Arkenfield Stables. Also on Hardy’s side were wealthy widow and stud owner, Rachel Ware (Susannah York), local gambler John Grey (David McCallum) and head lad Joe Hogan (Des McAleer).
Hardy also had his enemies, including his former boss, rival trainer Hugo Latimer (Patrick Ryecart), and he also battled with a drink problem.
Poorly cast (both McCallum and Greenstreet were both eminently resistible), the series failed to include enough of the ‘shagging-in-the-shires’ factor that made Jilly Cooper’s equine serial Riders so compulsive.
After an only moderately successful first season, Trainer rode on to a second year which saw James Brant disappear and Hardy fall in love with Alex Farrell (Claire Oberman), the girl sent to administer Brant’s estate.
Trainer was filmed on the Berkshire Downs and on racecourses up and down the country. The village pub (the Dog & Gun) was actually the Crown & Horns at East Isley, just north of Newbury.