THE smiles say it all. To Samantha Drake, she fulfilled a lifetime’s dream when her very first runner as a licensed trainer was a winning one when the aptly-named Star Performer triumphed six weeks ago.
To her and her jump jockey fiancée Jonathan England it is a labour of love as they put a dozen horses through their paces at their Guiseley, Leeds yard each day.
The work is intense – time spent riding out is interspersed with the day-to-day graft of mucking out, cleaning tack, feeding horses and running a family farm – and the days are long, especially in the damp cold.
Yet, as 28-year-old Drake concedes, how can you be unhappy when your job is your hobby? As she says, it will always beat working for a living.