TRAINER TALK: LYNN REDMAN

by JAKE EXELBY

‘A CARING CONCERN’

I got to know Lynn Redman in 2014, when my horse was being driven to Paxford by husband Martin on a busy Easter Monday with their own Boomtown Kat. Well known prankster Alan Hill introduced me to Martin with the words: “This is Willy, the box driver.” Embarrassingly, I believed him – and haven’t been able to live it down since! Luckily, Boomtown Kat won the Ladies Open and my Broken Eagle took the Restricted, so there were no hard feelings as we celebrated a double.

Lynn trains at Mount Hill Farm, Tetsworth, Oxfordshire where Martin – known as Willy “Because I’m Martin William, it’s as simple as that, but Rachael Talbot calls me ‘chief’” – farms about 500 acres of Oxfordshire countryside. Asked how much her husband lends a hand, Lynn’s reply was unequivocal. “Oh my God! Only if he has to. All I get is ‘bloody horses’. He tolerates them, but likes them if they win.” She smiles as she says this and – as I’ve never seen Lynn at the races without Martin – the tongue-in-cheek affection is obvious.

Lynn’s involvement with horses started at the age of 16, when she bought a two-year-old thoroughbred, named Tinky! Though she was a thoroughbred, Lynn did not race her. “She was just a riding horse – I broke her in and we hunted” and had no race-riding ambitions. “God no,” she laughed when I enquired if she’d ever wanted to get in the saddle in points. “I admire anyone who does. It frightens me to death! I hunted, but was probably full of port!”

Like so many others, she got into point-to-pointing almost by accident. “We used to drink in the Three Pigeons at Milton Common,” she recalled. “One day I was in there with Rose, who used to lead up for Owen, Chris King’s father. She asked me to stand in for her one day and, once I got the bug, that was it…” Lynn trained her first winners – Kelly’s Eye and Sizzling Sun – in 1994. She described the aftermath of the latter’s win, in a Maiden, at Hereford. “(Owner) Maurice Thomas, my ‘partner in crime’ ran the whole of the last furlong with her. Then we went to the bar and he bought champagne and beef rolls for everyone. Apparently you can still see the marks in the ceiling from the popping corks!”

Maurice has been an owner with Lynn for nearly 25 years without a break and Laurie and Margaret Kimber, who owned Kelly’s Eye, have been involved over the same period. Of the 11 horses currently in training with Lynn, one is wholly owned by Martin, two run for the ‘Three M Partnership’ (“Martin, Maurice and Margaret”) in the Kimbers’ blue and grey colours and eight belong to the ‘Back of the Car Racing Club’, so called because “Everyone is round the back of Maurice’s car drinking G & T and eating beef rolls! And anyone’s welcome to join the Racing Club. We have more than one horse, so if something goes wrong, you’ve got several others!”

Lynn is very hands-on – when I arrived she was wheeling a barrowful of muck! – but any successful yard relies on a good team, and Lynn’s is no exception. Her head girl is Cara Gianni, who has been based at Mount Hill Farm for about 18 months. “She came to me from Pam Sly,” said Lynn. “I knew she’d be able to ride well because she used to work in a dealer’s yard!”

The rides this season are likely to be shared between Max Kendrick, Hugh Nugent, Ben Hicks and Page Fuller and Hannah Watson in Ladies Races. “Chris Loggin is my agent,” laughs Lynn. “He finds me riders. Seriously, I want the jockeys on my horses to be the ones who ride out here. Max, Hugh, Ben and Page come in two or three times a week.” Asked why she spreads the rides, Lynn clarifies that it’s down to the individual horses. “Certain horses go better for different riders.”

In addition to being a farmer’s wife and training 11 pointers – “It’s my hobby” – Lynn acts as a health care assistant for One to One Care of Oxford. “I work virtually full time in the summer when I’m not busy with the horses and several evenings a week during the winter.” She explains how the role came about. “I looked after Martin’s Mum when she was ill and wanted to do something a bit different. It’s such a worthwhile job and I absolutely love it. I worry about the people, but you’ve got to be careful not to get too involved. However, you do get attached – some of these people are wonderful.”

This attachment extends to Lynn’s equine charges. “I care about horses in the same way. You have to love them else you wouldn’t do it. We don’t bring on young horses to sell them – it can take a lifetime to have a good horse, so when you do, you don’t want to get rid of it. Maurice is the same.” Cara sums up Lynn’s relationship with her horses. “They’re not machines. Horses are everything to Lynn – she cares for their brains as much as their bodies. And all of hers have got another job to go to afterwards.”

Talk of good horses leads us to Home By Midnight, probably the best that Lynn has trained so far. “We bought her as a four-year-old from Ascot Sales for the Herringtons and didn’t run her until she was six. She was very naughty and difficult to read – she had a mind of her own.” Lynn remembers some of the mare’s more endearing character traits. “When we used to take her to the gallops, I’d have to run and lead her in. She’d be on her hind legs, boxing me. Then after her gallop, she wouldn’t come back down. Whoever was riding her would have to lead her all the way. Everything was always on her terms.”

The mare, a winner of eight races, is still very much part of the family, now owned by Lynn and Maurice and currently boarding at David Brace’s Dunraven Stud in Wales. “We got her after she retired,” Lynn tells me, “And wanted to send her to Dr Massini at Dunraven. We think he’s really good – the top living stallion in Britain. That’s how we became friends with the Braces and why we have so many they’ve owned and bred.” The success is set to continue. Home By Midnight retired in 2011 and Lynn now has her three-year-old by Dr Massini, a Brian Boru two-year-old and has just picked up her Dr Massini yearling. And the mare is in foal to… you guessed it, Dr Massini!

 

Before I leave, I ask Lynn one final question: what don’t you like about the sport of point-to-pointing? The answer epitomises her overall attitude: “Nothing. I love it. I admire all those young boys and girls who go out and ride, and the hard work put in by everyone from trainers to yard staff. I have no negatives – I wouldn’t do it if I did!”