Stuart Wood

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STUART Wood, a successful racehorse owner, trainer and pub landlord, has died aged 83

In his racing colours of black and white, he had considerable success with his horses, although he always bought on a modest scale, borne out of a lifetime of working with them beginning as a boy on his father’s farm.

He was born Robert Stuart Wood and brought up at Holly Park, Nawton, near Malton, the youngest of eight – five sons and three daughters – of livestock dealer, sheep farmer and butcher Charlie Wood and his wife Elsie.

He was educated at the local school and throughout his childhood he helped out on the farm taking a keen interest in his father’s livestock dealing business.

When he left school, he set himself up a livestock dealer often taking sheep to Manchester in his triple decker, two stroke wagon.

He was always interested in horses and initially put them into training with Mary Reveley, from Saltburn, one of the most successful women trainers of her time before passing on the reins to her son Keith.

All his horses carried Holly as part of their name and his best, although not the most successful, was Yorkshire Holly which ran in the county hurdle at Cheltenham and also gave his name to the dining room in the Rose and Crown at Nawton.

Mr Wood bought the pub when it went on the market in 1983 for the simple reason that it was next to his Manor Farm which he had moved into when he married Hazel Annie Dawson in 1953.

In his racing colours of black and white, the most successful was Holly Buoy which went on to win 16 races for Mr Wood who won on the flat, over hurdles and over fences. Others were Dancing Holly and Christmas Holly all of which came out of a 300 guineas mare called Holly Doon that he bought at the Doncaster Sales. He also had Ramblees and Whispering Holly.

Mr Wood trained until 2010 when he decided to retire after a good career during which he had more than 50 winners, quite an achievement for someone who never paid more than 400 pounds for a horse. As he himself said, he put the least into racing and got the most out.

In his spare time Mr Wood was a keen cricketer, an interest he shared with his older brothers, Reginald and David.

Mr Wood who was predeceased by his wife, his daughter Helen and his siblings, is survived by his son Steven, daughter Elaine seven grandchildren and three great grandchildren.