Kit Bousfield

Christopher (Kit) Bousfield

Kit 1
Kit was born and bred at Holme Farm Appleby. Born in 1922 he grew up with an inherited love of horses and animals, with his father Christopher owning a pacer back in 1925.

Kit alongside his brothers Jack, Tom, Walton and Jim all well known owners and breeders of pacers around the trotting circuit – using the name Bousfield Bros. He and his brother Jack were both successful drivers and racked up many big race wins including Musselburgh and Appleby. Kit drove not only his own horses but secured drives for others too.

Kit remembers racing his horses at numerous tracks throughout Great Britain, these included (in no particular order): Clapham, Wolsingham, Hellifield, Sedbergh, Dent, Hawes, Musselburgh, Kilnsey, Motherwell, Morecambe, Kendal, Carlisle, Moffat, Temple Sowerby, Prestatyn, Chasewater, Deckland Showground in Kent, London, Droylesden, Errol, Manchester, Bainbridge, Stainmore, Corbie-wood, Brough, Appleby, Hilton, Murton, Longtown, Lanark, Egglestone, Silloth, Stanhope, Penrith, Barnard Castle, Low Row, Ayr, Newton Stewart, Winton Castle, Fir Tree, Tir Prince, Bellsfield, York, Stirling, Tregaron, Aberysthwth, Western CarntyneGlasgow and Hartlepool. Many of these tracks are now long gone and often sadly forgotten. The first horse Kit had success in the cart with was Pandora who he won Appleby Spring Races with in 1953. This mare concreted his lifelong love of harness racing, as his experience and confidence increased so did the win tally.

April Star was another well-known racehorse of her time. Bought from Sandy Reid of Scotland she memorably won Musselburgh in 1953 off 19 seconds ridden by Hugh Carmichael – back when saddle and sulkies went head to head. She later went on to win Brough that year off 32 seconds, with Kit fondly remembering that “the ‘go’ horse was already behind her with a lap to go.” She went onto produce numerous successful progenies including April Showers who was bought by Eric Dougal of Ireland. Kit would travel to Ireland twice to drive her, winning both times.

Hilo’s Chief was a full horse out of April Star who was often in the winning enclosure, he spent his retirement at stud in Cork with John Shanahan. April Star’s genes are still prominent in the Bousfield stables today.

Sir Harry yet another horse that provided multiple wins for the Bousfield Brothers in the 50s, he too won Musselburgh for them giving Kit more success in the driving seat.

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Kit fondly remembers his friendship with Noel Simpson who successfully set up Prestatyn. Kit regularly raced at Prestatyn, which few Eden Valley competitors did at the time. Kit would support Noel at every turn, helping to stand in transit stallions, Kit, winning Appleby Spring Races (1953) – Pandora and when Noel who also imported numerous mares from New Zealand (to try to improve the bloodlines of horses in the UK), was the left with a mare (the last of an imported batch that nobody wanted) he bought her.

That mare (Kit remembers fondly) was Tiny Trews, he explains that poor Tiny, nobody wanted her. She was to prove a great success and was to go on and become the matriarch of the Bousfield breeding.

Tiny Trews was a regular at both the Prestatyn track and the Kent showground. In 1965 she won the race series ‘The Moussec Pace’ at Prestatyn. Horses had to win a mile race to go through to the next round where they then raced over a mile and a half, following winning this they ran a 2 mile final race. Tiny won all 3 races with ease, proving her versatility. Due to this success (and others throughout the year) she won the ‘Mare of the Year’. She was a regular at Kent showground where she raced twice a week and was only beaten once by a then young Ian Pimlott – a fact Kit fondly remembers!

In the 1960’s Kit was a regular driver at Kent Showground, he would get the train from Penrith and be picked up in a Rolls by one Kit with Tiny Trews winning the Moussec Pace, Prestatyn (1965) of the ‘London gangsters’ who he was driving for. He heard lots of stories but promised he would never divulge, and never has!

Tiny Trews went on to breed some great horses including Trews Choice who won the 2yr old championship at Kendal. She also bred Trew Seas (affectionately known as Tom Tom) who was probably one of the best horses she produced.

Tom was a full horse by Rough Seas and proved to be a tough horse to crack. As a 2yr old he once went over a car with the sulky and Kit in toe, you wouldn’t dare walk past his stable in case he took a bite out of you. He did later settle down and had a great affection with the children, proving to be a real school master, teaching Kits’ then young daughters to drive and ride in races.

Tom often raced against the mighty Monkroyd Mystery and Missing Link, notching up notable wins against them both. He once won off a 120 yard trail, always a back marker and certainly a crowd pleaser. He notched up heat wins at Musselburgh in ‘86, ’87 and ’88 also winning the consolation race in ‘88.

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Tom’s biggest success came in 1987 when he was entered for a ‘Free for All’ at Tregaron, whilst also receiving an invitation to the ‘International Free-for All’ which was scheduled on the same day. This year was the first year Tregaron was televised and because of this his races were due to be run back to back. Fortunately the stewards on the day allowed a race in-between.

Tom went out and won his first race with ease with Stevie Lees in the seat, they un-yoked him, walked him around the wagon, but all too soon he was back on the track where he went on to notch up his second free for all of the day. In his later life Kit would often yoke him up and use him to drive around the farm to check on stock.

Kit a prolific breed of fine fillies has passed on his compassion for the harness racing game to his 4 daughters Helen, Claire, Catherine and Rachel and also to his seven grandchildren.

At the spritely age of 97 Kit continues to train the racehorses whilst Claire now drives all the horses. Claire has had many notable successes. However her best meeting has to be in 1999 where over the two days she had 10 winners. Amongst her favourites are De-Claire in 1996 winning the Tuesday night Musselburgh handicap, Appley New Fair with Atitagain & Silky B. Clemistic—a firm favourite of Claire’s (one of the first free-legged pacers to race in recent years) gave her and Kit numerous wins including a maiden at Musselburgh in 2001, heat in 2002 and the Fir Tree handicap in 2006, she also secured the Appleby Spring races.

Other horses bred by Kit were Ginger Tom (a successful son of Trew Seas), Rachel B, Uncle Tom, Aprils Subject, Flipnfast, B Lucky, Truly Amazing, Worth Seeing and Bumble B – nearly all getting a win at Musselburgh under their belts. Thomas Gratton a grandson of Tiny Trews won the 3yr old grass championship at Appleby in 2003. April for Sure (great grandson of April Star) was one of his favorites, winning an intermediate at York in a time of 1.59.3 in 2006 and a heat at Tregaron in the same year.

Stakes on the Pan now owned by his daughter Rachel Kane and husband Patrick is one of the recent home bred success stories winning the 2019 M50 Skip Hire Final at Portmarnock in 1.57, Kit is still regretting not getting around to getting a passport and flying over to see it!

Until recently Kit has been an active committee member of both Appleby Spring Races and Appleby New Fair Races, these along with Brough races are held on his farm in Appleby. His dogged determination and passion for the sport have helped to ensure that Appleby Spring Races, one of the oldest and greatest fixtures in the history of the sport in the UK, is still a premier event on the calendar. Even though now 97, and no longer attends committee meetings, he is just as committed to the meeting, and he still spends time diligently preparing the track with endless rolling and chain harrowing.

Kit continues to travel with his daughters to as many race meetings as he can get to, and still enjoys catching up and reminiscing with friends at these meetings

Kit’s passion and pride in the Holme Farm bloodlines never diminishes and he takes much delight in the fact that all the horses passing through the stables are home bred, or to excuse the pun (Holme-bred).

Reluctantly in the last 10 years he has given up the sulky seat and replaced it with a van seat. Kit can be seen daily in the van with the jogger in toe, and four horses running alongside, thus allowing him to continue the work of training racehorses.

Kit’s longevity and knowledge in the sport of Harness Racing and his numerous stories of people and horses past, make him a perfect choice to be the first person to enter the BHRC Hall of Fame.

Whilst Tiny Trews might be the matriarch of the Bousfield breeding, it is without doubt that Kit, a true gentleman and expert horseman is the patriarch of our sport.