IT was a gamble, the biggest of their lives. Their future was at stake.

Chris and Jenny Gordon were ambitious. Though they could have comfortably remained as private trainers to point to point enthusiast Mike Tindall, they yearned to have a yard of their own and in 2007 they cast complacency to one side and took the bold decision to strike out.

“We were a one trick pony and wanted to break out on our own,” the affable Chris explained of the momentous move.

They scoured about a dozen potential yards before finding Morestead Stables just outside Winchester which were being vacated by Brendan Powell, and with the aid of a generous loan from Tindall who also acted as guarantor, they bought the premises with just five horses in their care, and unaware the recession was about to bite. “It was very tough but in one sense if you have nothing to lose, it makes life easier. There wasn’t an option.”

Fortunately there was a welcome publicity boost when their second runner Quarrymount won a handicap hurdle at Fontwell which - like Plumpton - they have continually plundered, and then came King Edmund who grabbed the headlines when scoring at 80-1 on his debut in a Ludlow bumper. It was the first of nine triumphs.

Through sheer graft and charging the bare minimum training fees, the two people team survived and gradually the number of horses and owner has risen. It has not brought them wealth, but more importantly it has delivered them undiluted enjoyment.

“We don’t have the luxury of a secretary and things are always tight but the great thing is that we have this property. It’s a great location and both of us are very happy here. Training fees are the grease that helps turn the wheel. It’s a great way of life and If I won the lottery tomorrow, I would still do the same.”

But what they have already won is the wide spread respect of the their fellow professionals and the confidence of punters who always know they will get a good run for their money.

Chris acknowledges his debt of gratitude to their loyal band of owners who do not have a bottomless pit of money. “They can’t spend a lot of money and they are in it for fun. It’s a pleasure to train for people I can meet socially. That’s very important but at the same time I am trying to upgrade horses and spend more money.”

Four years ago the yard’s average intake price was £8,000, now it’s about £20,000 - real bargain basement purchases. Their most expensive acquisition has been Baddesley Knight who cost £65,000. The seven-year-old winner of a bumper, a hurdle race and a chase, was sent to Doncaster the other day and finished second to a horse bought for £310,000!

Though the yard suffered an uncustomary slip in winners last season, it has already harvested at the time of writing 26 for this term, five short of its best and one of which was a high profile winner at Kempton’s televised Christmas meeting.

Not that he is one for numbers. “I am not a target man. It makes you rush and do silly things. You cannot force the issue with horses. I do the right thing with them and not the owners.”

So consider this as testimony to their skill and patience.

Itsonlyrockandroll had been sidelined since April, having survived an attack of colic, sustained a fractured skull after banging his head and undergone wind surgery. Yet on his return to the track this month he won a competitive handicap hurdle off top weight in stamina draining conditions.

And for the notebook, February 22 could be a momentous day with three of the yard’s best horses earmarked for Kempton. The Anthony Ward-Thomas owned Highway 101 and Highway 102 are destined for the lucrative Racing Post Chase and a graded hurdle respectively and Commanche Red goes for a novice chase.