Changing places: Sally Randell takes over Broad Hinton training yard from Andy Turnell
Sally Randell has just applied for her training licence. For the past year she has been assistant trainer at Andy Turnell's yard on the edge of Broad Hinton - soon she will be taking over the yard.
Turnell, who as a youngster was a star jockey and then became the quiet man of racehorse training, is still recovering from the stroke he had two years ago which paralysed much of his right side. He will be changing to a 'supporting role' at the stables.
He and his wife hit it off with Sally from the word go. He told the Racing Post: "I'm confident this will work. Apart from being a tireless worker, Sally is bringing new owners to the yard."
Turnell 'inherited' his licence from his father who trained at Ogbourne Maizey. But Turnell, who is now 66, moved his training establishment around England, before settling back to Wiltshire and his everyday view of the Hackpen white horse.
Sally had been training point-to-pointers in Wales and when she arrived at the Turnell yard just a year ago, it was empty. While Andy was recovering from his stroke, the horses had gone to other other trainers. Working together closely , Andy, his wife Gilly and Sally have re-built the yard and have been having successes - six winners in the 2014-2015 jump season.
There are now seven horses training in the licensed yard for the summer. In the winter Sally hopes to get that up to sixteen or seventeen.
Sally has completed her three modules at Newmarket's British Racing School. Also on her courses was another soon-to-be trainer from just the other side of Marlborough, champion jockey Richard Hughes.
When Marlborough News Online was at the stables, Sally and amateur jockey Brodie Hampson were riding out the final two horses of the morning. Brodie was on the eight year-old Waddingtown Hero who has had two recent wins in chases at Ffos Las.
"Ffos Las has been good for us," says Sally with a smile. But looking closer at the results tables you find that Waddingtown Hero has come third-first-second-second-first in his last five races - providing quite a tonic for the yard.
Sally was riding the bay gelding Killimordaly - a six year-old named after a village near Galway. His Irish owner, Patsy Hardiman, died recently - very suddenly.
His family are keeping Hardiman's other horse, the four year-old Any Destination. But Sally is now forming a syndicate to keep Killimordaly at the yard. He raced over hurdles last season and early in June he came second in a two mile seven furlong chase at Ffos Las.
Brodie, in the earliest of her twenties, has known Sally since she was eleven. Her father was Sally's detachment commander when they were serving with the Royal Artillery. And she met Brodie who kept a pony at the regimental Saddle Club when Sally was there.
They have worked together for five years and Sally believes Brodie has a great future as a jockey. She won her first ever point-to-point race and with six wins over jumps and under rules she came second in the 2014-2015 Amateur Lady Jockeys National Hunt Championship - behind Bridget Andrews.
Sally told us that one of best memories of her year at the stables was seeing the delight on Andy Turnell's face when Brodie rode Aristocracy to a three lengths victory in a hurdle race at Wincanton last November: "He thinks the world of Brodie."
Sally herself was no mean jockey and only announced her retirement earlier this year. In 2009, riding Oakfield Legend, she became the first woman to win Sandown's Grand Military Gold Cup. She won it again in 2014 on Bradley and again this year on Loose Chips.
Another boost to her year has been seeing how Andy made great progress in his recovery once the horses were back in the yard: "He's back to his old self."
He travels to the races with Sally, but gets pretty tired. Every week he goes to Oaksey House, the Injured Jockeys Fund headquarters in Lambourn, for physiotherapy - and he rides with the Lambourn Riding for the Disabled.
Sally says the Turnell training establishment is "A really great yard" and she is very pleased to be taking it over. It has 17 licensed boxes, enough paddocks for the horses to be turned out every day, an under-cover horse walker ("Great for the winter!") and a long all-weather circuit. Further down, the barn has sixteen more horses that Sally plans to keep for point-to-pointers.
On the day we visited Sally, yard manager Gerald Burton and his son Sam were away on training courses. Sam is just turning sixteen and joins as a novice aiming to be an amateur jockey.
Sally has just appointed Emma Owen to look after the yard's admin and publicity, and she too has been at the Racing School. And Kate Leahy is joining the team soon.
And then we are introduced to Donnas Palm - an eleven year-old grey gelding with a history and now quite a magisterial presence at the yard.
Beginning in 2008, Donnas Palm raced in Ireland and chalked up six wins and three seconds in his first 13 outings. Ridden by such well-known jockeys as Paul Carberry and Barry Geraghty, he won eleven races under rules. Racing in England from April 2013 onwards was not such a success.
He is now trained by Sally for point-to-pointing. In that first race in Ireland at Navan he was ridden by Nina Carberry, so it is fitting that Brodie Hampson has been racing him recently.
Brodie says he is an 'absolutely straightforward horse'. There is, however, a 'but'. If he finds himself in the 'wrong position' with other horses in a race "He simply tries his best to stop." Brodie now has the measure of him and Sally hopes he will be at the yard for the rest of his days.
Thanks to Racehorse Photos for use of their photo of Brodie Hampson and Donnas Palm.
[Click on photos to enlarge them.]