Fleur Hawes becomes Norfolk’s newest professional racing trainer
A familiar face on the East Anglian point to point circuit has become Norfolk's newest professional racing trainer.
After enjoying her share of success as an amateur rider and handler Fleur Hawes is hoping to make her mark at a higher level.
Months of studies at Newmarket Racing School paid off as Fleur, who is based at Bressingham, near Diss, was awarded a dual licence which allows her to train horses for the Flat and National Hunt races.
Fleur recently sent out her first runners on the Flat at Folkestone and Yarmouth and is looking forward to a campaign over the jumps in the months ahead. She is prepared to travel to wherever opportunity knocks in pursuit of success. At present she has seven horses, with plans for a few more at her sprawling Hill Farm Barn base.
There is a wide array of facilities required to school and care for the inmates including 10 stables, a six-horse walker, a menage, two all-weather canters, two further gallops, and plenty of turn-out space.
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'I quite like to have a small number of horses because you can pay much greater attention to detail,' she said. 'I like to look at every horse and ride them and know that they are well,' said Fleur, a mother of two children aged 17 and 20, and wife of Walter, an enthusiastic racing supporter.
Although her new venture will prove a steep learning curve, she is hoping her experience acquired during a life-long equine love affair will stand her in good stead.
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'Because we have been Hunter Chasing already it's not quite so daunting as it could be,' she said. 'I know the procedure to follow when you get to the racecourse.'
She described her ambitions as: 'Just to have lot of winners. It would be great to have a winner at Cheltenham Festival but that would be everybody's dream. We will just work pretty hard and hope that the work pays off with some success.'
Fleur, very much a hands-on trainer, involved in all aspects of the seven days-a-week job, said: 'I shall do it as long as I enjoy it and when I don't enjoy it I will stop doing it.'
• Scotland Yard: A 9yo bay gelding. He is a small horse who will go hurdling. Won seven out of 10 point-to-point races. Has been injured but is returning.
• Fraudster: 9yo bay gelding. He has got plenty of speed. We will take him hurdling over two to two and-a-quarter miles.That will suit him. He won an 18-horse bumper race in Ireland by five lengths.
• Flaming Gorge: 7yo chestnut gelding. Formerly with top trainer Paul Nicholls, he won a novice chase at Wincanton. He is a lovely great big strapping horse with a neck like a giraffe. He has got feet like dinner plates and likes good to soft ground. Stays all day.
• Harry Lime: 3yo bay gelding. He is quite a well-bred little horse. He will run on the Flat for the remainder of the season. Had a run at Folkestone over 10 furlongs and came 9th of 11.
• Cappielow Park: 3yo bay gelding, bought at Tattersalls in July. The aim would be to go juvenile hurdling at two to two and-a-half miles. We ran him at Yarmouth over one mile six furlongs. He finished 11th of 11. It was a Class 4 race and he is really a Class Six horse. Should be in action at Fakenham.
• Played Away: 4yo unraced bumper horse. He will hopefully be at Fakenham or Huntingdon in a National Hunt Flat Race.
• Bantry Bere: 8yo bay gelding. A previous Hunter Chase winner we'll probably run him over hurdles to start with. Needs a trip and likes soft ground.