Graham was born in Cambridge, England in May 1964 and raised at Newmarket’s Herringswell Manor Stud operated by his parents Michael and Jo.
Michael was an international bloodstock agent and North American representative for Tattersalls, the British bloodstock sales company. Jo rode as an amateur in England and took care of the 1951 (Aintree) Grand National winner Nickel Coin before becoming an assistant trainer in the United States. Jo now owns and operates the popular Middleburg Tack Exchange in Virginia. The family relocated to the States in 1980 where Graham attended and graduated from Kent in Connecticut.
Graham’s two sisters are Claire, a third-grade teacher in Middleburg and Pippa, a wholesale gourmet food distributor in the Baltimore/Washington region. Andrew, Graham’s younger brother, was the Thoroughbred manager at Lazy Lane Farm in Virginia for 10 years before turning to consultancy work and also obtaining his real estate license. He has since founded his own sales consignment company, Old Chapel Farm in Bluemont, Virginia, and has enjoyed much success with young horses which he has broken and prepped himself.
After graduating from Kent School, Graham began working for Hall of Fame trainer Jonathan Sheppard. During his six years at Sheppard’s Ashwell Stable, Graham traveled extensively with four-time Eclipse award winning steeplechaser Flatterer. This was followed by time with trainer Jonathan Pease in Chantilly, France. It was there that Graham met his future wife, the former Anita Hall, who was working at the time for Alain de Royer-Dupre.
Returning to the United States in 1990, Graham went to work as assistant to Bernard (Bernie) P. Bond at Laurel Park in Maryland. Upon Bernie’s death in 1993, two of Bond’s owners elected to leave their horses with Graham, who subsequently took out his trainer’s license. He called his operation Herringswell Stables after his childhood home. The stable won 21 races that first year, three of them stakes with Gala Spinaway. Now 30, Gala Spinaway lives in retirement at Herringswell’s Fair Hill base.
Graham, Anita and chief assistant Adrian Rolls moved the operation from Laurel Park to Fair Hill Training Center in northeast Maryland in 2002. Two years later, Bushwood Stables’ Better Talk Now thrust the whole team into the international spotlight with his exciting win in the 2004 John Deere Breeders’ Cup Turf at Lone Star Park. That breakout performance proved to be a game-changer for Herringswell.
During his remarkable career, Better Talk Now took his connections to Japan and Dubai, thus solidifying Graham’s status as an international trainer. Among the many highlights in the years since have been more Breeders’ Cup victories – Shared Account in the Filly & Mare Turf in 2010 and Main Sequence in the 2014 Breeders’ Cup Turf. Main Sequence finished 2014 as a dual Eclipse Award winner, named Champion Male Turf Horse and Champion Older Male. Main Sequence recently returned to Fair Hill and now spends his days with Gala Spinaway.
In 2011, Graham’s named was recorded in the history books as the trainer of a Kentucky Derby winner when Animal Kingdom stormed down the Churchill Downs stretch to win the 137th renewal of America’s premier race. Two years later, Animal Kingdom added even more lustre to his trainer’s resume with a heart-stopping win in the Dubai World Cup. Already a success in the breeding shed, he is now based at Arrowfield Stud in Australia, shuttling to Darley America in Lexington, Kentucky during the northern hemisphere breeding season. It was a special thrill for everyone at Herringswell when the first crop of Animal Kingdom 2-year-olds arrived in the barn in 2017.
As of the beginning of 2018, Graham has celebrated over 2,200 victories, and his charges have earned in excess of $115 million.
As the business has expanded, so has the Herringswell footprint at Fair Hill. Chevation I was purchased in 2004, with constant improvements – fenced paddocks, a courtyard annex, round barn/walker – added since then. A second barn, Parlo IV (better known as “H2”), was added in 2014 and serves as the primary location for incoming 2-year-olds. Also residing there are Gala Spinaway, Main Sequence and barn mascots Tom the Turkey and Chicharron the pig. Most recently added to the Herringswell holdings is H3, situated just off-site about 1/2 mile from the main entrance of the Training Center. Providing ample turnout, this facility is used exclusively to give horses in training a freshening and physical and mental break from daily life in the race barns.
Graham and Anita also reside in Fair Hill, very near Herringswell’s main base of operations. Daughter Jane is now in college, and son Chappy is in high school. Rouding out the family are three Labradors – Sasha, Ginger and Bentley – and the newest addition, Irish Black & Tan Terrier Truly Scrumptious.