Leeds photo essay: First past the post for horse trainer

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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.

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.

Samantha Drake. PIC: Tony Johnson

Samantha Drake. PIC: Tony Johnson

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.

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

For possible use in the YP From the Archive series.''10th May 1988''THE MIGHTY Mallard, pride of Britain's railway history, puffed into Leeds Station today with a raging thirst.''It was pulling such a heavy load - 12 carriages carrying 250 top Post Office customers and stamp collectors - that it needed extra water supplies at Holbeck.''"The last thing we wanted was the boiler blowing up on Britain's pride and joy," said Mr Philip Round, Post Office Information Officer.''Mallard was making a special run across the Pennines from Manchester Victoria to mark two major anniversaries:

Leeds nostalgia: Mallard pulls into Leeds to mark 50th anniversary of world speed record... in 1988