ONE of East Lancashire’s best-known businessmen has been appointed to a key role to mastermind fledgling racing syndicates.

Highclere Thoroughbred Racing has signed up Jason Fildes, founder of Barden Mill and Reedley Marina, as their man in the north.

Formerly managing director for Haydock Park, Mr Fildes has a well-established pedigree for the role, which will see him working with chairman Harry Herbert and John Warren, the bloodstock adviser to the Queen.

Highclere has recently established three northern syndicates, each named after prominent artists linked to the territory. And it will be the role of Pendleton resident Mr Fildes to ensure the maximum return for investors in the Anthony Gormley, David Hockney and George Stubbs collectives.

He said: “I’m really honoured to be working for Highclere in the North, it is a wonderful opportunity and a hugely exciting job.”

He has already made a name for himself locally after being at the helm of a mill shopping complex and the first marina to be launched on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal for generations.

The marina, launched in 2002 at a cost of £1.1million, eventually saw Barden Mill relocate to Pendle Village Mill.

Three trainers, Tom Dascombe, Richard Fahey and Mark Johnston, have been charged with ensuring the company’s light and blue navy silks are best placed from Royal Ascot to the Derby.

Mr Herbert is the brother of the Earl of Caernarfon and Highclere is the setting for ITV’s Downton Abbey.

Welcoming the appointment, he added: “Having lived on the Lancashire and Yorkshire border for most of his life, Jason is extremely well placed to manage our horses and syndicates and to work closely with the trainers to ensure continued success for our owners.”

Their list of champions includes Harbinger, officially the best horse on the planet in 2010, bolstered by keynote wins in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes.

In their 20-year history, another standout was Petrushka, who secured their first classic, the Irish Oaks, along with the Yorkshire Oaks and the Prix de l’Opera.

Sir Michael Stoute, her trainer, called her “the best middle-distance filly I have ever trained”.

Other syndicates cover National Hunt, Australian racing and Bermuda, which Sir Michael and fellow trainer John Gosden mastermind. Their Royal Ascot Racing Club offshoot was responsible for the development of Motivator, which won the Group One Racing Post Trophy in 2004.