Horseracing’s first lady Mary Reveley dies aged 77
Britain’s most successful female trainer, Mary Reveley has died of a suspected heart attack at the age of 77.
The racing world was shocked and saddened with the news that well-known trainer Reveley has died at her family’s stables in Saltburn, Cleveland in North Yorkshire. Tributes were quick to flow in expressing love and gratitude to the woman who was a trailblazer in the racing world. Mary has trained over 2,000 winners in her career that she retired from in 2004, then aged 63.
Her son Keith, announcing his mother’s death, paid tribute to her lifelong dedication to horseracing:
She was walking about the yard and was with Gill Boanas, who is training there now. She was around the horses, feeding them, and basically collapsed of a suspected heart attack. We’re all still in shock, but it’s just typical of her that she was around horses right up to the end.– Keith Reveley, Son of Mary Reveley.
In a male dominated sport, Mary started with just four horses and three staff when she started training in 1978. And just a year later, Reveley had produced her first winner. She trained with a permit from 1979 to 1981 before obtaining a full licence to train, a licence she would hold for 23 years.
Most trainers specialise in either jump racing or flat racing but Mary had a knack of training winners in both.
Her victories on flat courses include winning the 1991 Cambridgeshire Handicap race with Mellottie. Reveley also had two winners at the Cesarewitch Handicap at Newmarket with Old Red and Turnpole.
Over the jumps, Reveley had success with Cab On Target who won the 1993 Future Champion Novices’ Chase and would go on to win 20 out of his 46 races, and Morgans Harbour who won the 1995 Sefton Novices’ Hurdle.
So successful was Mary, and later son Keith, that their stable was often referred to as ‘The Reveley training dynasty’. The family had a huge impact on horseracing in the north of England and The National Trainers Federation was quick to highlight Mary’s ability to train in a statement.
More Interest in Stables than Spotlights
Despite her many successes, Mary lived her life out of the gaze of the public and was a shy person.
It was a win with Mellottie at Newmarket in 1991 that thrust the success of the Reveley stable into the public consciousness and top jockeys such as Richard Dunwoody, Frankie Dettori and Lester Piggot have all ridden for the stable.
By the time of Mary’s retirement in 2004 she had re-written the history books of horseracing. Few who witnessed it will ever forget the astonishing feat of having four winners at the same meeting in 1993. Or in 1999 when she celebrated her 1,000th winner over the sticks.
In the 1999-200 season, Mary had 105 wins over the jumps, something that endeared her to many punters and she ended her training career with 2,010 winners. 1,330 of these over jumps and 680 on flat runners.