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L I V E 2 4 -SE V EN


‘hangman’s bone’ as it’s called but fortunately it was not displaced. I then spent 2 months across the road from the racecourse in Worcester Hospital. I very much knew I wanted to get back on a horse and this was a driving force for me whilst I was in hospital in traction and immobile. It was the Jockey Club doctor though who suggested I should think a bit more about returning to race riding again!


I presume you are now a keen supporter of the Injured Jockeys Fund? Of course, everyone is who is involved with racing. It’s the main charity and they do a fantastic job.


Tell us how you started as a trainer? I had already been an assistant trainer to John Edwards and had spent some time both in America and Australia with other trainers so I continued in the same job but obviously, I was no longer riding before I started training on my own in 1995.


How did everything change when you won the Grand National in 2009? Absolutely nothing changed at all! In fact we had a tough time for a couple of years after winning the National, partly as it was during the time of the Credit Crunch and no one could be seen to be spending money, especially businesses if they were making people redundant. Funnily enough some owners who did join me a couple of years later, thought I would have been overwhelmed with requests so decided to wait another year and we have subsequently enjoyed a lot of success together.


Do you think this has been your greatest achievement so far? Yes. It’s the one horse race, everyone, world over has heard of. The name, Grand National has brought on its own meaning itself. I would of course love to tick off winning the Gold Cup but my non-horse friends for instance wouldn’t understand the magnitude whereas everyone knows what you mean when you say you have won the Grand National. Apart from anything else it’s the double money too to any other jumps race.


How many horses are currently in training at your yard and for someone who is interested in buying a horse or getting into a syndicate what do you suggest? We currently have about 90 horses in training and if you’re interested in joining a syndicate the first thing you can do is to get in touch with me! We actually ran one of our syndicate horses yesterday, who had his hurdling debut at Hereford. We have 3 syndicates that we run – one has two horses and people can join in with a 5% share which will cost them £6000 which will buy them both horses and have it trained for the whole year with no extra expenses. It’s a nice way to dip your toe in the water with racehorse ownership and no nasty hidden expenses. There’s lots of what I would call extra curriculum activities amongst the owners such as outings we arrange and they all have lots of fun. You don’t even have to have any knowledge of horses just be part of a team. People from all walks of life get involved and find they become firm friends with others in the syndicate.


Would you describe yourself as a woman in a man’s world or is there now total egalitarianism in racing? There are certainly more women who are training and a few girls who are doing well as jockeys both on the flat and jumping. The opportunities are all there for females if they want to get involved with the sport. There’s no reason why we should be given any more artificial opening of doors than the guys get. As women I think we bring a slightly different approach to the job and the tasks and the way we look at horses and the demands we place on them. We may have different approaches, which some people may appreciate more.


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