John Best takes out joint licence with Karen Jewell after stable merger
The two main racing stables in Kent have joined forces with John Best and Karen Jewell, daughter of trainer Linda Jewell, granted a joint licence by the BHA.
The combining of the stables has taken place at Best's Eyehorn Farm in Sittingbourne after Linda Jewell sold her Southfield Stables in Sutton Valence, where she has trained for more than 30 years.
It signals the end of an era for Jewell as the 64-year-old trainer relinquishes her licence and hands over control to 38-year-old daughter Karen, who has been the assistant at Southfield for 22 years.
"I built up Southfield Stables over the last 40-plus years, so it's a bit of a wrench, but it's not easy running small yards like ours any more," said Linda Jewell.
"We weren't strong when we went into lockdown and coming out of it our horses got a virus, so it's been tough. We've done the best we can with the horses we've got, particularly when you consider I trained on barely four acres, which is like a back garden.
"I've always known John Best up the road very well and we've helped each other out. We kept on mulling over the idea that two small yards amalgamating is going to make us stronger. He's got very good facilities with lovely gallops, an in-door school and in-door stabling.
"This has been a long time in the planning and all my owners have been really supportive, so we've sent all our horses and staff up there, which is wonderful.
"It's a great opportunity for Karen. The time is right for her to take over the licence and I'll still be very much involved."
The new joint trainers have taken out a dual-purpose licence, with around 35-40 horses at the expanded yard, and the pair will have their first runner together at Kempton on Tuesday with Torbellino declared for the 1m3f fillies' handicap (8.30).
Best said: "This is an exciting move for both of us. I have known Karen and Linda for many years, and she brings plenty of experience along with a team of mainly jump horses and most of her staff.
"It will allow me a bit more time to look for horses and hopefully find new owners as well. It's exciting to get back going with the jumpers and I'm sure we will have a successful time."
On the chances of making a dream start with Torbellino, Best added: "She's got an okay draw [in seven] and has run well on her last two starts, particularly at Goodwood the time before when she would have gone very close had she not been hampered. She certainly goes there with a chance."
Linda Jewell had runners over both codes and landed her biggest win when Rowe Park won a Group 3 sprint at Newbury in 2007.
Reflecting on the other high points of her long career, she said: "Breden has done very well winning five races for us, we went very close in St Moritz with Cupid's Glory and good old Itoldyou won the Sussex National."
Karen Jewell, who, like her mother, spent time as a jockey, added: "I'm so grateful to my mother for the help over the years and this move is a great opportunity to further my career.
"It has always been my long-term ambition to train and this allows me to fulfil that. I'm so impressed with the facilities available to us at Eyehorn Farm and I can't wait to work alongside John."
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