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Pointing the way to crest of success in racing
IN the rough and tumble of point-to-points, up against the dynasties of the Easterbys and the Greenalls, Sara Ender has had to learn fast.
Where races are a matter of family pride, and the meetings are ultra-competitive, it’s win or bust.
But this cauldron of combat is just what the 24-year-old needs – the toughest of tests as she prepares for the rigours of racing under rules.
The early signs are that we are going to be seeing Ender in the winner’s enclosure a lot when the British Horseracing Authority grant her a trainer’s permit.
Since moving from Doncaster to Norton Grange in February, where she rents some boxes from Tim FitzGerald, the figure ‘1’ has featured prominently next to her name on the pointing circuit.
Ender enjoyed a double at Easingwold in May, training a horse that hadn’t won for two years to get over the line, and has notched up three victories in total. Ominously for her rivals, her runners rarely seem to finish out of the first four.
“I love pointing. I love the social side of it,” she said.
“Everyone is very friendly but pointing isn’t the be all and end all. I do want to go and be really successful as a trainer. It’s a good starting point.
“It’s very competitive – the Easterbys dominate – and that’s why we moved here. Although we had good facilities in Doncaster, when you are competing with the best you have to have the best facilities.
“Tim’s (FitzGerald) gallop is brilliant. It’s a mile long and it is as steep as they come.
“We’ve had three winners, including Castley Lane who we bought for £200, and he has not been out of the first four for us.
“Pointing is a great starting point – don’t get me wrong I love it and I will still do it when I am a trainer – but I do want to be a top trainer one day.”
Ender has been around horses all her life – she started riding at the age of four and began her ‘apprenticeship’ while still at school with Jo Foster before working with Scarcroft’s Richard Whittaker.
“I learned a lot from him,” she said.
“He was a real influence and taught me everything. He used to let me go racing on my own and I was only 16 at the time. That was brilliant.
“Then we started training and riding in Arab races and I think I had about 20 rides there.
“I’ve been training point-to-pointers for about three years.
“We always wanted to move to Malton. It was a dream, really. You are in the middle of everything. It’s a lot closer than where we were.
“We were looking for somewhere to buy but there aren’t many properties so we figured we would rent for a while. It’s great because you have the two other yards around if you have any queries or questions.
“We are so close to all the different gallops and everyone is really nice. You can use whatever facilities you want.”
Like anyone on the threshold of starting out, Ender is full of dreams and ambition.
Having completed a trainer’s course at Doncaster and having gone to Weatherbys, she hopes to be up and running as the National Hunt season gets into full swing in the autumn.
And while some of her peers get their beginnings from parents, or grandparents, who have blazed a trail before them, Ender has virtually started from scratch.
“I’m hoping to get my permit by the end of this year and then get some more runners under rules,” she added.
“I’d like to think I am quite experienced but you get the most of that when you are training your own horses. Every horse teaches you something.
“It has always been my dream to do it. I think it’s been quite hard to get into it. Other people get horses passed down and they have got the facilities where we are just starting out.
“This season couldn’t have gone any better, though, and it made the move really worthwhile.”
Ender continued: “I want the same as everyone else. I’d like about 60 horses. I wouldn’t want any more because I like to know them individually.
“I’d like to win all the big races – any trainer’s dream.
“All our horses, we treat them as pets as well. I do believe that happy horses are winning horses and I’d never want to expand to the point where I lose control of what’s going on.
“I prefer jumping. I get a much bigger buzz from watching the horses jump, although sometimes I can’t even watch.
“Our best horse, Symphonic, is so exuberant and he stands out of the wings and I just close my eyes. I have to ask people how he is getting on. Until the last three fences I can’t watch at all.
“But I can’t wait to get started as a trainer. I just want to crack on now.”
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