Training licence since 1985
Based in Copper Beech Stables, Kildare Town, Ireland
Success hasn’t come the easy way for Michael Halford, but the master of Copper Beach Stables is now firmly established among the top 10 Irish trainers on the flat, while also enjoying Graded winners over jumps. The son of a farrier, Michael Halford started working for trainers John Murphy and Dermot Weld as a teenager, and rode around 50 winners as an amateur for Noel Meade and Frank Ennis. Having learned the ropes as assistant to Meade, he decided to branch out on his own in 1985, aged only 21. One of his early winners, a filly named Cockney Lass, ran 2nd in the Gr.3 C.L. Weld Park Stakes but unfortunately for Halford, she was subsequently sold to Dermot Weld for whom she went on to win the Gr.1 Tattersalls Gold Cup. Tough years followed during which he struggled to make his mark in the extremely competitive environment that is Irish racing, yet by the turn of the century his perseverance started paying off. The year 2000 saw him climb to 8th place on the Irish trainer rankings as well as win a first Stakes Race – and he hasn’t looked back since. In 2003, Michael Halford made an eye-catching impact at Stakes level, winning three Listed races as well as a first Group contest with the fast Miss Emma, who defeated Captain Rio in the Gr.3 Greenland Stakes. 2005 proved a definite milestone, with Halford finishing 4th leading trainer in Ireland – only Dermot Weld, Aidan O’Brien and John Oxx stood ahead of him. His charges won 54 races that season and collected over a million Euros in prize money, headed by the admirable Miss Sally who landed a Listed race and two Gr.3s over sprint distances. The following year started in the same vein, with more Group and Listed glory on the agenda, but there was even better news to come as in November 2006, Michael Halford was informed that he had been chosen to join the elite group of trainers for the Aga Khan. The new team were quickly off the mark courtesy of the two-year-old Dirar, who won second time out in 2007, and has been lifting more winners year after year. 2007 was another excellent season for Michael Halford, on the back of which he moved his entire string, which by then was well in excess of 100 horses, to a brand new, state of the art complex in Doneany, on the outskirts of Kildare town. Stakes winners headed by the consistent sprinters Deauville Vision and Snaefell continued to frank his position in the training ranks in 2008 and 2009. Then in 2010, Halford enjoyed the crowning achievement that all trainers long for when Casamento, already the impressive winner of the Gr.2 Beresford Stakes at home, crossed the Irish Sea to land the Gr.1 Racing Post Trophy in breath-taking style. The son of Shamardal was one of only two juveniles that Halford had been sent by H.R.H. Sheikh Mohammed Al Maktoum.