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

The Beast from the East is set to bring three days of snow to Yorkshire.

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