Leeds photo essay: First past the post for horse trainer

THE smiles say it all. To Samantha Drake, she fulfilled a lifetime's dream when her very first runner as a licensed trainer was a winning one when the aptly-named Star Performer triumphed six weeks ago.

Saturday, 5th March 2016, 7:10 am
Updated Saturday, 5th March 2016, 7:16 am
Samantha Drake. PIC: Tony Johnson

To her, and her jump jockey fiancée Jonny England, it is a labour of love as they put a dozen horses through their paces at their Leeds stables each day.

The work is intense – time spent riding out is interspersed with the day-to-day graft of mucking out, cleaning tack and feeding horses – and the days are long.

There’s more to do as Britain’s newest trainer looks to attract new horses, owners and syndicate members to her Guiseley yard. Yet, as Drake, 28, concedes, how can you be unhappy when your job is your hobby? As she says, it will always beat working for a living – and that’s a racing certainty.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Samantha Drake. PIC: Tony Johnson
Samantha Drake with her boyfriend, jockey Jonny English on the gallops at their Guiseley yard. PIC: Tony Johnson
Samantha Drake. PIC: Tony Johnson
Samantha Drake. PIC: Tony Johnson
Samantha Drake with her boyfriend, jockey Jonny English on the gallops at their Guiseley yard. PIC: Tony Johnson
Samantha Drake. PIC: Tony Johnson