A forgotten racehorse trainer who was the first woman in the UK to be issued with a training licence in 1886 is to have a race at The QIPCO Guineas Festival renamed in her honour, The Jockey Club announces today – International Women’s Day.
Ellen Chaloner has laid in an unmarked grave in Newmarket Cemetery since her death in 1944, with much of her extraordinary life story unrecorded and forgotten with the passage of time.
But now, thanks to a campaign launched by her descendants and supported by The Jockey Club, the ‘First Lady of the Turf’ will have her name deservedly etched into the history books.
At an event hosted at The Jockey Club Rooms in Newmarket on March 6th to commemorate Ellen ahead of International Women’s Day, it was announced that the trailblazing trainer’s contribution to the sport would be marked with the permanent renaming of a race on 2000 Guineas Day, Saturday 6th May.
The campaign has also enabled the purchase of two new headstones to mark where Ellen and other members of the Chaloner family are buried in Newmarket Cemetery, and will make a contribution toWomen In Racing’s Bursary Fund to support the professional development of women working in racing today.
Ellen’s family travelled from all corners of the United Kingdom and Ireland to attend the occasion, where a special episode of Stephen Wallis’ podcast, The Paddock and the Pavillion, was recorded in front of a live audience.
Among those in attendance was retired Irish Champion Jump Jockey Charlie Swan, Ellen’s great-great grandson, who said: “When I started riding my mum kept telling me that my great-great grandmother and father used to ride and train horses, but it sort of went over my head a little bit when I was that age. I didn’t really think about it.
“It’s only in the last few years that I suddenly realised where my riding talents probably came from.”
Swan added: “It’s fantastic that Ellen is getting some recognition and hopefully we’ll make it there on the day.”
During the event to honour Ellen’s place in the history of British Racing, a portrait was unveiled which will be on display at Newmarket’s Rowley Mile racecourse.