It’s been quite a few weeks for Shae Edwards from Bognor.
You may not know the 23-year-old’s name, but you;ll have hard of at least a couple of the horses she looks after.
At Glorious Goodwood, Chiddingfold trainer George Baker’s 125/1 winner in the Victoria Racing Club Maiden Fillies’ Stakes, Feel Glorious, was described as the story of the week – and Edwards had the job of leading up the victor.
The next day she was leading Magnolia Cup winner Harry Hurricane, riden by Katie Forrest, into the winner’s enclosure amid wonderful scenes.
Edwards’ passion for horses began at the age of five when her mother took her to her first riding lesson. After that, she rode at Hunter’s Lodge, near Chichester, every Saturday and every day in the school summer holidays, even taking people with disabilities out on rides.
She recalled her late grandmother taking her racing at Fontwell and her favourite track, Goodwood, describing her as her ‘inspiration’. There is a memorial bench in Fontwell’s gardens.
Following school, Edwards went on to study a four-year equine related course at Brinsbury College, before moving on to the British Racing School. There she spent nine weeks learning every aspect of working on a racing yard, before beginning a two-year work placement with the acclaimed National Hunt trainer, Nicky Henderson and later working with William Knight.
She has been working for Baker for the best part of a year now and was lucky enough to ride Feel Glorious, the Goodwood-winning filly as a yearling. She said: “We always had high hopes for her and knew she was going to be a nice horse, but she was disappointing first time out. We put her away for Goodwood and she shone!”
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Her great week continued as she led in Harry Hurricane, the winner of the annual Ladies’ Day charity race, the Magnolia Cup. Winning jockey Katie Forrest came to Baker’s yard just three months before the race, having no previous experience of race-riding, and spent ten weeks being coached by Shae.
Edwards explained: “It was unbelievable! I felt sick with nerves watching the race but I was cheering her on at the side. When she came in I ran over to her crying and she dropped her reins and celebrated.
“She has been nicknamed ‘motionless Katie’ after she didn’t move a muscle to guide Harry to victory. The best part of all was when she pulled him up at the line. I don’t think I’ve ever been that happy!”
Edwards will soon have an opportunity to ride a winner of her own after gaining her amateur licence. She will likely be riding Baker’s Guard Of Honour on the all-weather, once the turf season comes to a close.
Her goal is to become a professional jockey, but sensibly said she wants to find her feet in the amateur ranks before applying to become an apprentice.