Highclere Stud’s Jake Warren: “I want to drive Highclere to the top of the industry”

The youngest in the Warren breeding dynasty tells Gentleman's Journal his family's key to success

Ben Read

‘My earliest memory of horse racing?’ says Jake Warren. ‘That would have to be sneaking out of school on Monday nights, to get to Windsor’s evening meeting in the summer term. I had a 100 per cent record of not getting caught, something I’m pretty proud of to this day!’

Warren’s passion for racing was lit early. Despite ‘desperately’ wanting to play tennis professionally growing up – the now 30-year-old won several regional competitions in his adolescence – breeding and caring for horses is in his blood.

Warren’s father, John, is widely regarded as one of the finest bloodstock advisors in the world. At Highclere Stud, the family’s 300 Berkshire acres of undulating grassland used to prepare the yearlings and foals, the Warren family continue to manage The Queen’s racing and breeding interests – quite the responsibility.

‘Highclere Stud is one of the places I’m most happy,’ reveals Warren. ‘Just looking at yearlings there on a Sunday afternoon. The other places would have to be my wife’s family home in Cumloden, Scotland, and – of course – the winners’ enclosure!

‘I like to be surrounded by people with determination, confidence, and fun,’ says Warren. ‘I actually had a friend at university who had the ambition to start a band, and he left – as I did, actually – halfway through to go for it. Four years later, I was watching him close the Glastonbury Festival on the Pyramid stage.’

Warren’s admiration for courage and risk-taking is clear – and his own ambition is clear.

‘I solely want to keep driving Highclere to the top of the industry,’ the breeder reveals. ‘We have a budding stallion business to develop and an outstanding consigning and breeding business to maintain. Breeding a Classic winner would have to be up there too!

‘I’m always excited to see any of our purchases, bred or sold horses run. Last year we had horses run in an Oaks Trial and the famous Investec Derby trial called The Dante Stakes, among others. There’s always plenty to keep track of, and it’s exciting watch our horses live up to expectations and achieve incredibly bright futures.’

Warren, who cites Timeform’s Black Book as ‘the bible’, bought a racing crop of around 35 yearlings for this year, and has confidence in their prospects. But it is not only horse racing the young Warren is involved in.

‘Last year, I was also involved in a brilliant new event at Glorious Goodwood, called Dancing at the Doghouse – where we bring eight greyhounds down to Goodwood House and race them on the lawn after the last day of the festival. It’s absolutely epic, and we put on a huge party afterwards!’

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