Former West Midlands men’s champion jockey Edward Walker (known to all as Ed but officially Edward as there is another Ed Walker who trains horses for the flat) moved down to Ottery St Mary with his then girlfriend now fiancee Polly Gundry in October 2006. They intended to train 4 – 6 horses for point to points but the yard grew quickly in three seasons to 30 horses. Polly was the “official” name behind the p-to-p yard to start with, but it was always Ed who was at home training the horses whilst Polly was away at least three days a week working for Spillers Horse Feeds.
When Polly took out a NH licence in March 2011 , Ed officially took over the training of the pointers. He rode 40 winners between the flags, primarily in the West Midland Area and was the WM Area mens’ champion in 2004. He also rode at the top level team-chasing and was a keen hunting man.
At the yard, Ed and Polly love bringing on young horses and jockeys through the point to point ranks. Ed has the use of a 3.5 furlong grass hill gallop where the horses do all their faster work and a 4.5 furlong all-weather sand gallop where horses can canter continuously on either the left or right rein. There is also an outdoor 25mx60m arena with show jumps, invaluable bridle-paths, quiet lanes for hacking and two horse walkers which help keep horses moving on quiet days.
This coming season all of the prospective 18 horses in training with Ed are straight forward, exciting prospects and include THINKABOUTTHAT, a 7-y-o who ran four times and won all four races (maiden, restricted, intermediate and confined), PUNTER FRIENDLY; a 5-y-o who won his maiden and a competitive restricted race at Bratton Down and NED THE POST.
Photo credits: Stephen Wesley @ Equus Prints http://www.equusprints.co.uk
Ed and Polly bought a 3-y-o filly for £3000 in July ’12 and sold her for £17500 in June ’13 after finishing second in two p-to-ps and winning a NH flat race. This year they have five horses to try to do the same with. There are horses, and shares available in either commercial (those being prepared to run before going to the sales) and non-commercial (those to enjoy watching in races and hopefully fulfilling their full potential) horses. Spillers Horses Feeds have been a great support to the yard, partly because Polly worked for them as an equine nutritionist, but more importantly because Ed and Polly have every faith in their products. Some of horses within the yard are sponsored by Spillers Horse Feeds if owners are interested in this.
Ed has a young team of enthusiastic staff who really get involved in the p-to-p social scene and have worked for him for a year or two already, along with some extremely dedicated amateur jockeys; Ed Barrett, Robbie Henderson, Josh Newman. Harriet Skinner is a lady rider that also works in the yard and will hopefully also have a few rides from the yard. She already has one win and several placings to her name so is a useful ‘Novice’ rider.
The yard policy is to only deal in the truth, and keep owners well-informed. Ed loves to see owners fulfil their dreams and celebrate wins. If both the horses and staff enjoy their jobs, they are generally better at doing that job. Proper training helps them reach their potential, which in turn reduces the risk of injury to either!
The Point-To-Point Racing company have also featured trainer Edward Walker on the national website this season, have a read at:http://www.pointtopoint.co.uk/go/news/walker_profile_2014.html