Mary Reveley

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Mary Reveley
Occupation Racehorse trainer
Born(1940-09-22)22 September 1940
Groundhill Farm, Lingdale, Yorkshire
Died 30 October 2017(2017-10-30) (aged 77)
Nationality British
Spouse George Reveley
Children Keith Reveley, John Reveley
Career wins 2,010 (Jumps: 1,330; Flat: 680)
Major racing wins
Future Champion Novices' Chase (1993)
Sefton Novices' Hurdle (1995)
Significant horses
Cab On Target, Marello, Mellottie, Morgan's Harbour

Mary Christiana Reveley (née Allison, 22 September 1940 30 October 2017) was an English racehorse trainer. She trained over 2,000 winners in a 26-year career, was the first woman to saddle 100 winners in a calendar year (in 1991), and also became the first female trainer to saddle 50 winners on the flat (in 1992).



She was born on 22 September 1940 to Harry Allison, a farmer, at Groundhill Farm, Lingdale, Yorkshire, where she lived and trained throughout her life. She started training in 1978 and had her first winner, Hello Louis, on 26 May 1979 in a maiden hunter chase at Cartmel. Her first winner on the flat was King Charlemagne at Edinburgh on 11 July 1983.

Lingdale village in United Kingdom

Lingdale is a village in the unitary authority of Redcar and Cleveland and the ceremonial county of North Yorkshire, England. The village was created with the advent of ironstone mining in the area, in the early 19th century.

In horse racing a maiden race is an event for horses that have not won a race. Horses that have not won a race are referred to as maidens. Maiden horse races are held over a variety of distances and under conditions with eligibility based on the sex or age of the horse. Races may be handicaps, set weights, or weight for age. In many countries, maiden races are the lowest level of class and represent an entry point into a racing career. In countries such as the United States, maiden special weight races rank above claiming races, while maiden claiming races allow the horse to be claimed (bought) by another owner.

In horse racing in the United Kingdom, France and the Republic of Ireland, National Hunt racing requires horses to jump fences and ditches. National Hunt racing in the UK is informally known as "jumps" and is divided into two major distinct branches: hurdles and steeplechases. Alongside these there are "bumpers", which are National Hunt flat races. In a hurdles race, the horses jump over obstacles called hurdles; in a steeplechase the horses jump over a variety of obstacles that can include plain fences, water jump or an open ditch. In the UK the biggest National Hunt events of the year are generally considered to be the Grand National at Aintree and the Cheltenham Gold Cup.

Until 1981, she trained with a permit, [note 1] and then with a full licence for 23 years. She trained from Groundhill Farm except for a short period in 1989-90, when she was based at Whitewall Cottages, Malton, North Yorkshire.

Malton, North Yorkshire market town and civil parish in North Yorkshire, England

Malton is a market town, civil parish and electoral ward in North Yorkshire, England. Historically part of the North Riding of Yorkshire, the town is the location of the offices of Ryedale District Council and has a population of around 13,000 people, measured for both the civil parish and the electoral ward at the 2011 Census as 4,888.

She had remarkable success with Cab On Target, winning the Grade 1 Future Champion Novices' Chase, the Long Distance Hurdles at Newbury and Ascot, and the West Yorkshire Hurdle twice, among a total of 20 wins from 46 races. Her other Grade 1 winner was Morgan's Harbour in the 1995 Sefton Novices' Hurdle, while Marello was a multiple Grade 2 winner. Other major winners included Seven Towers in the Midlands Grand National in 1997 and Into The Red in the Becher Chase in 1994 and 1996. Peter Niven was a regular jockey for her. [1]

Group races, also known as Pattern races, or Graded races in some jurisdictions, are the highest level of races in Thoroughbred horse racing. They include most of the world's iconic races, such as, in Europe, The Derby, Irish Derby and Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, in Australia, the Melbourne Cup and in the United States, the Kentucky Derby and Breeders' Cup races. Victory in these races marks a horse as being particularly talented, if not exceptional, and they are extremely important in determining stud values. They are also sometimes referred to as Black type races, since any horse that has won one of these races is printed in bold type in sales catalogues.

The Future Champion Novices' Chase is a Grade 2 National Hunt steeplechase in Great Britain which is open to horses aged five years or older. It is run at Ayr, Scotland, over a distance of about 2 miles, 4 furlongs and 110 yards, and during its running there are seventeen fences to be jumped. The race is for novice chasers, and it is scheduled to take place each year in April.

Hurdling (horse race)

A hurdle race in Great Britain and Ireland is a National Hunt horse race where the horses jump over obstacles called hurdles that are over three and a half feet high. They are typically made of a series of panels made of brush and are flexible. Hurdle races always have a minimum of eight hurdles and a minimum distance of two miles (3 km).

On the flat, she won the Cambridgeshire Handicap in 1991 with 20-time winning former hurdler Mellottie, and the Cesarewitch Handicap with Old Red and Turnpole in 1995 and 1997 respectively.

The Cambridgeshire Handicap is a flat handicap horse race in Great Britain open to horses aged three years or older. It is run on the Rowley Mile at Newmarket over a distance of 1 mile and 1 furlong, and it is scheduled to take place each year in late September.

The Cesarewitch Handicap is a flat handicap horse race in Great Britain open to horses aged three years or older. It is run at Newmarket over a distance of 2 miles and 2 furlongs, and finishes on the Rowley Mile. It is scheduled to take place each year in October.

Her son Keith said of the most successful era, "The yard was absolutely flying in the late 1990s and early 2000s. It was a fantastic time and I don't think we appreciated it as much as we should have at the time. It was an unbelievable run and they were great days." [2] At their peak, the stable had 120 horses.

Her last winner was Spitting Image at Redcar on 8 August 2004, after which her son Keith took over the yard, now numbering 60 horses, although she continued to be involved in point-to-point racing. [3]

Her best season over jumps was 1999-2000 when she had 105 winners, though her highest position in the jump trainers' championship was fourth in 1996-97. On the flat, her highest position was 18th in 1993, and her highest win total was 84 in 1994. In total she had 1,330 winners over jumps and 680 on the flat.

She died on 30 October 2017 at the age of 77. She collapsed while out in the yard with her horses. Son Keith said, "She has passed away doing something she absolutely loved." [2]


According to racing journalist Cornelius Lysaght she seemed "a quiet, homely character, like your friend's lovely mother, but outward appearances clearly belied a steely inward resolve". Her stables were the "shrewdest of forces", especially in the north. [1] On her retirement, The Guardian referred to her career as "one of the most remarkable of recent years", calling her a "canny granny". [4]

Her favourite racecourses were all near her home - Redcar, Wetherby, Sedgefield, Newcastle and Kelso. [4]

She was a fan of soap operas. [1]


Mary married George Reveley in 1960, and had two sons - Keith, who was her assistant and took over the training licence in 2004, and John. Keith is father to James, a jockey, who shortly before her death made her a great-grandmother when he had his first child. James was crowned the champion national hunt jockey of France in 2016.


  1. A permit allows a person to train racehorses owned by themselves or relatives.

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  1. 1 2 3 "Mary Reveley: Pioneering former racehorse trainer dies aged 77". BBC Sport . 31 October 2017. Retrieved 31 October 2017.
  2. 1 2 Haynes, Jack (31 October 2017). "Death of pioneering trainer Mary Reveley who excelled at both codes". Racing Post . Retrieved 31 October 2017.
  3. "Mary Reveley involved in point-to-point and hunter-chasing". Sky Sports . 9 February 2016. Retrieved 31 October 2017.
  4. 1 2 Wood, Greg (23 August 2004). "Reveley calls time on glorious training career". The Guardian . Retrieved 31 October 2017.