Phil has lived in Shropshire all his life and was handed the tenancy on the family farm in 1991. He has always been a stockman primarily, milking for many years and then building up a breeding flock of 1000 ewes, which has since decreased to about 100, because of the time constraints running the farm and the yard. But he also has up to 100 young calves and cattle at any one time. His family, particularly his Grandmother, have always been passionate about racing also owning racehorses and Phil’s earliest memories are with Granny drinking champagne at the races!


Mel moved to Poplar Cottage Farm with her family in 1986 and immediately started up a small livery business, looking after hunters and competition horses. She has been involved in horses all her life and coming from a ‘non-horsey’ family had always presumed she would have to work for people, so is eternally grateful for her parents’ support in helping her to realise all her ambitions. As well as the racehorses, Mel has trained and competed to Grand Prix level in Dressage and still tries to fit in as such as she can.


Phil and Mel met and subsequently got married in 2000, when coincidently all the ground and buildings surrounding Poplar Cottage came up for sale. They bought it and then all the hard work started! Everything that you see has been built by them with the help of contractors and lots of sweat and tears!

Mel and Phil have two children, Isabella is 14 and loves the horses and racing and so is already very involved. She has her own failed racehorse that she events.

Ed is 11 years of age and tractor mad so helps with all maintenance around the yard and on the farm.

Both Mel and Phil do everything from mucking out to driving lorries to races and leading up. Very hands on! Mel also runs the office with the help of Phil’s Auntie Helen and Sarah.


Phil is an extremely good stockman, having had cattle and sheep all his life, and so has a very natural feel for an animals general wellbeing. the balance between feed and exercise is crucial to keep an animal at optimum performance levels, and his expertise in this area is invaluable and has clearly paid dividends over the last few seasons.

Mel has the technical expertise to ensure that all the horses are worked as correctly as possible on a daily basis. This develops core strength and an all round fitness that cannot be achieved by fast work alone, and this in turn helps keep them sound, supple and mentally capable of coping with the rigours of racing.

By working together and constantly bouncing opnions and ideas between them, they have tried to develop a winning formula that continues to evolve year by year.