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Thursday, 17 January, 2019

Hundreds turn out to pay respects to record-breaking trainer

James Reveley in conversation with the Reverend Alison Phillipson before the funeral of his grandmother Mary
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Hundreds of mourners from across the whole spectrum of racing were present at St Nicholas Church in Guisborough on Tuesday to pay their final respects to record-breaking trainer Mary Reveley who died suddenly aged 77 last month.

In her address the Reverend Alison Phillipson described Reveley as "loyal, generous and astute, a person who read other people well".

She added: "What you saw was what you got with Mary, she was a thoroughly lovely lady. She was a real family person and at the end of every summer holidays she would pack all her grandchildren into the back of her Jeep and take them off to Toys R Us.

"When she was young she was a 'daddy's girl' and when her father died suddenly when she was only 15 she and her mother were determined to make a success of running the farm and they did."

Hard life

Her son Keith said: "It was a hard life for her because there were no tractors in those days. Everything had to be done by hand, and horses, most of them Clydesdales, were used to work the land. From a very early age she knew about horses, she knew what made them tick and she know how to feed them."

The congregation gather outside St Nicholas Church in Guisborough

The congregation heard how after after starting up with two point-to-pointers, she built up a string of more than 100 at her peak and in 1994 became the first female to train 100 winners in a season, and  with 2,010 winners she is still by far the most successful woman trainer of all time.

One of her 'foundation' horses was Lottie Lehmann, who was the dam of her best Flat horse, the Listed and Cambridgeshire winner Mellottie.

Son Keith recalled: "We bought her from trainer Jimmy Etherington at Doncaster and she was a great mare for us though sadly she was badly injured when falling in a hurdle race one day at Southwell. She spent a month with vet Laurie Griffiths near Thirsk and when she recovered, she was covered by his own stallion Meldrum. The result was Mellottie, her first foal and the best Flat horse my mother ever trained. He was the one who really put her on the map."

Mellottie and John Lowe after their Cambridgeshire win in 1991

Knew what she wanted

Breeder Jim Mernagh had travelled over from Ireland for the funeral and he said: "I sold Mary a lot of good horses like Cab On Target. She was a person who always knew what she wanted, she was a fine judge but she would never pay a fortune for them."

Former champion jockey Kevin Darley said: "She was incredible for when she went round feeding them she knew just by looking at their eyes whether they were healthy or not. I rode most of the horses she trained for Peter Savill and she wouldn't stand any nonsense, they ran when where she wanted them to run."

Among the congregation were trainers Peter Niven, Noel Wilson, Chris Grant, Nicky Richards, Phil Kirby, Tim FitzGerald, Michael Herrington and Gillian Boanas, former trainers Peter Beaumont, Jack Berry, Tim Walford and Peter Easterby, her former jockeys Tom Eaves, Graham Lee, Kevin Darley, Tony Ross, Fergus King, Michael Naughton, Dougie Costello and Tony Dobbin, amateurs John Dawson and Stephen Swiers and owner Peter Savill.


What you saw was what you got with Mary, she was a thoroughly lovely lady

Key data

Mary Reveley
E.W. Terms
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