Aspiring racehorse trainer Toby Coles, aged 23, sets off this month for New Zealand on an all-expenses-paid trip — thanks to gaining a scholarship set up in memory of the Newmarket trainer Alex Scott.

Alex was shot and killed by a former employee at his Newmarket yard 14 years ago.

His wife, Julia, and friends formed a memorial fund to run an annual scholarship that gives assistant trainers the opportunity to go abroad for one month to learn different training methods.

“I am so pleased to have this marvellous experience,” said Toby, son of hunt devotees Bobby and Sally Coles, of Barrow, near Oakham.

“I shall be attached to the staff of Murray Baker who trains Flat horses at Cambridge in New Zealand’s North Island, and know it will be worthwhile.”

Toby plans to spend the rest of the year in Australian racing, adding still further to his extensive overseas experience.

He worked for a year as an assistant to American trainer Christophe Clement, based at Payson Park, Florida, training at tracks up and down the East Coast.

There, he rode horses in training on dirt and grass, including the Group One mare Mauralakana, who won the Beverley D race at Arlington.

Before that, Toby had a sound start as a pupil/assistant for two years with Newmarket trainer Sir Mark Prescott.

“My plan is eventually to make a career in the UK, and I was so lucky to have such a grounding from Sir Mark, “says Toby. “It was hard work but I was given plenty of responsibility in his yard.”

Julia Scott, who runs the Glebe House stud at Cheveley, Newmarket, said: “The scholarship has helped a number of young people who have gone on to do well in racing. Hetta Steele, who was assistant trainer to Rae Guest in Newmarket, won two years ago and went to work for Michael Dickinson in Maryland.”

Other winners include James Given, Eoghan O’Neill and Charlie Longsden.

Applicants for the Alex Scott Memorial Fund Assistant Trainer scholarship should send a full CV, with covering letter to: Julia Scott, Glebe House, Cheveley, Newmarket CB8 9DG.

This article was first published in Horse & Hound (8 January, ’09)