Tuesday, 7 January 2020

Sue Smith Only the Third Female Trainer to Win the Grand National

Midnight Shadow wins at Cheltenham
Based at Craiglands Farm near Bingley Moor, In West Yorkshire, Sue Smith was only the third female trainer to win the Grand National when the 66/1 outsider Auroras Encore won the famous Aintree race in 2013 putting her alongside the great Jenny Pitman and Venetia Williams. The one time top class show-jumper clearly loves horses and her first win came in 1990 when African Safari won at Ascot. Her first Cheltenham winner came in the name of Mister McGoldrick in 2008 and plenty of big winners have followed. A big thanks to Sue Smith for answering a few questions for my blog and good luck for the rest of the season.

Sue, how long have you been involved in horse racing? 


I got my full licence in 1990 but my dad owned racehorses and I used to ride out for a local trainer when I was still at home. If you weren't a trainer what would you have done? It would have been something with horses, I was a show jumper and I liked bringing on the younger horses so I probably would have carried on in something like that. 

Do you feel a lot of pressure training horses? 

There can be a lot of pressure and it’s non-stop, every day no matter what the weather is doing but I love doing it and when the horses run well and we get winners it is worth all the hard work. 

If you could train any horse in history who would it be and why? 

To be honest we’ve been very lucky with what we have trained and had some really special horses like The Last Fling, Auroras Encore and Mister Mcgoldrick. 

Winning the Grand National with Auroras Encore must be up with the highlights of your career, what others stand out for you? 

Beecher Chase – Ardent Scout and Kildimo, Mister Mcgoldrick at Cheltenham, Royal Emperor 2nd in The RSA. 

A typical Christmas at the Smith household?

Starts the same as most other days with getting the horses out and making sure everyone is ready for racing on boxing day. Harvey cooks a lovely Christmas dinner and some of the lads will join us. 

What do you do to relax when you get the time? 

We don’t really get a chance to relax at home, we try to go to our place in Spain a few times a year and that is when we get to relax and not do a great deal other than a bit of swimming and sunbathing! 

Tell us something we don't know about Sue Smith? 

Erm… I don’t know what to say. I still ride out when the horses first come in, I like Never Up – do people know that? 

The old fella Vintage Clouds looked in fine shape in the Tommy Whittle last time out and kept on nicely, will he be taking another shot at the Grand National?

No, he doesn’t like the fences there so we will be looking for something else for him. Do you have any dark horses for my readers to follow this season? We have plenty of young horses that we are looking forward to like Aire Valley Lad and Jayaaah as well as Flamboyant Joyaux and Frimeur de Lancray.

Visit Sue Smith's Website

Twitter: @Suesmithracing

Instagram: Suesmithracing

I would like to thank Sue for taking the time to answer these questions and wish the stable a successful season. 

Thanks for reading. 

Photo: Midnight Shadow winning at Cheltenham 

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