Britain's youngest trainer Chelsea Banham basking in glory of saddling her first winner
Chelsea Banham intends to take her first winner in her stride, as the UK’s youngest trainer continues to make a name for herself, writes Alex Moss.
The 20-year-old obtained her training licence only last month and got off the mark with a victory, in the Witheford Equine Barrier Trials Here 10th September Handicap, at Lingfield a fortnight ago.
It was only the second-ever runner for the Cowlinge-based trainer, with Makambe finishing fourth in Yarmouth the previous week, but Voice Of A Leader, ridden by her partner Joey Haynes, handed her a maiden winner.
“It was absolutely amazing,” said the former Debenham High School pupil. “I’m trying to take it all in my stride, but the feeling was surreal.
“I’d only had my licence for about four weeks, maybe slightly less than that, so to get a winner straight away was amazing.
“I just want to thank everyone who has supported me so far. I’ve had great support, and lots of nice messages since it happened.”
Before branching out on her own training career, Stowmarket-raised Banham was an assistant to Paul Howling, who previously trained her first winner Voice Of A Leader.
Based at Mulligan’s Yard, in Cowlinge, Banham is currently the youngest active trainer in Britain, but is not deterred by that mantle.
“I’ve always been involved with horses,” she said. “I went to racing school, progressed through there and I was assistant to Alan Bailey for just over a year.
“I just felt like I was ready for it. I feel confident and to get a winner so soon proves that I can do it.”
Banham’s first winner, Voice Of A Leader, was a 5/1 second favourite, behind market leader Born To Reason (9/2) for the Class 7 handicap at Lingfield, and came out on top among 13 runners, ahead of Cat Royale and Grasmere, who completed the top three.
Since claiming her maiden winner at Lingfield, Banham has had two third-placed finishes, with Independence Day at Yarmouth and then with Makambe at Kempton last week.