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Tributes paid to veteran Newmarket starting stalls handler Ted Jackson

The family of former racing lad and veteran starting stalls handler Ted Jackson has been overwhelmed with messages of sympathy since his death on Thursday.

“We have had so many flowers, cards and phone calls, all saying what a wonderful chap he was,” said his wife Valerie, with whom he celebrated their diamond wedding in 2021.

Mr Jackson was born in Cottingham, in Yorkshire, where he got a job with international show-jumping supremo Trevor Banks before taking an apprenticeship with trainer Pat Taylor in Beverley. His only chance of appearing on the track was thwarted when was he jocked-off in favour of a well-known jockey.

The wife of Ted Jackson (left), Valerie, said numerous people have approached her to share memories and pay tribute to her late husband
The wife of Ted Jackson (left), Valerie, said numerous people have approached her to share memories and pay tribute to her late husband

In 1956, Mr Jackson heard from a friend that top Newmarket trainer Noel Murless was looking for an experienced lad. “He jumped at the chance of coming down to Newmarket and stayed here for the rest of his life,” said Mrs Jackson. “He was always a Yorkshiremen but he fell in love with Newmarket and you’d never have prised him out to live anywhere else in the world.”

During his 10 years at Warren Place, Mr Jackson never got to look after any of the stable’s many stars. Probably the best of his horses was Carnoustie, which was ridden by Lester Piggott to third place in the 2000 Guineas of 1959.

“His favourite horse was called Riseborough,” said Mrs Jackson. “If his stable door was left open he would follow Ted around the yard wherever he went. He loved all his horses but that was the one he loved best.”

In later years, he commissioned equine artist Jacquie Jones to paint a picture of Riseborough which hangs in his home.

In 1966, Mr Jackson took the same well-trodden path as many other stablelads to work at the Sprite caravan factory, where hours were shorter and pay was higher, but after six years he wanted to get back in racing and was offered a job on the starting stalls, where he was to work work for the next 32 years.

In his time, he was part of the stalls teams in the Midlands, which included Newmarket, the North, the South and Scotland, where he became team leader. It was a job which involved a lot of travelling and meant spending weeks at a time away from home but it was a job he enjoyed until his retirement when he reached 65.

In 2017 he was awarded a Racing Welfare Lifetime Achievement award, presented at Yarmouth Racecourse by Frankie Dettori.

Mr Jackson took up swimming, sometimes doing 82 lengths in a session and, although he suffered with vascular issues which affected his walking, could be seen around town in his electric buggy. He later developed vascular dementia and heart problems and was taken into hospital in December.

He died peacefully in Arthur Rank House hospice with his family around him, leaving his wife, daughters Melanie Brumpton and Shelley Jackson, granddaughters Lauren Taylor, Abbie Brumpton, Megan Taylor and Emily Taylor and great-grandson Theo.

His funeral will be at St Mary’s Church, Newmarket, at 11.30am, to be followed by private cremation and a gathering at The Racing Centre in Newmarket.

Donations instead of flowers are requested for Dementia UK and Racing Welfare.