Today we're chatting to a former point-to-point jockey from a racing family who run the Ampton point-to-point which is held on the family farm in Suffolk! Ed Turner now trains a string of horses with his family & is very much involved in the pointing world!
How are you involved in pointing? We as a family train pointers at home on the farm; Rose (mother), Ben (brother) and Rosie (wife). What is your favourite aspect of pointing? It is a great friendly atmosphere and everyone is so pleased for you when you are lucky enough to have a winner, but also if something goes wrong there will always be someone there to give you a helping hand. The pointing community is one big family; great camaraderie.
How did you get into pointing? My family have been involved in the sport for many years. My Grandfather trained winners ever since the 1950s and my father David rode a lot of the winners. He held the record for the number of point-to-point winners (343) for a very long time until Julian Pritchard surpassed it. Dad won 8 national titles. My Auntie Josie (Sheppard) also rode a lot of winners for Grandad and was the national champion many times. My sister (Zoe) rode as well, and was East Anglian champion many times. So it is safe to say I was always going to be involved one way or another but I never imagined riding in one race, let alone for 10 seasons, as I left college weighing 15st 4lbs!!
What is your day job? I am a farmer. My brother and I run the family farm at home near Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk. What's been the biggest lesson in your working life? Look, listen and learn and keep your mouth shut! Take time in your work and don't rush.
How would you describe pointing to someone that hasn’t been before? It is a fun family day out. Whether you are a one-year-old or a retired person there is something for everyone. You are able to take a picnic in the back of the car. You are able to get so close to the action, seeing the horses in the paddock. Yet it is still very competitive racing. What’s your pointing highlight? Two moments really stick out- Winning the Harley Racing novice riders series in 2010. It meant I was able to travel to different courses outside East Anglia, and the South East. One week we went to five courses; Easingwold, Garthorpe, Cothelstone, Bratton Down and on the Sunday rode in the final at Tabley, which I was lucky enough to win on Parkinson. Everyone was so welcoming whenever we travelled to all the courses. Also, having a winner the same day as Rosie did at Higham on Easter Saturday. She won the open on Sa Kaldoun and I wasn't until the last race of the day, so the pressure was on! Luckily Kriss William managed to win!
Who's a figure in racing you admire? Anyone that is a Clerk of the Course, it is a thankless task and they spend days getting a course ready. If you could change one thing in pointing, what would it be? Make the season a lot shorter. Run from January through until the end of May. Like it used to be!
Where’s your favourite point-to-point & why? Ampton, short drive home! It is also a stayers track and there seems to be a lot less of them about now. What’s your earliest pointing memory? Annoyingly, I was only three when Dad gave up riding as I wish I could remember him riding, but my first memory would be Zoe winning.
What do you think lies for the future of pointing? I think there need to be fewer meetings generally, as unfortunately there are not as many horses to run at these meetings as there used to be. That said, I think the numbers of horses are down in every equine sport, so it is not just point-to-pointing. To condense the season rather than making it 8 months would help. It is a long while to keep horses on the go. It is getting more and more professional, there are now very few people that just have a couple of horses themselves.
What's your favourite aspect of training pointers? Having a family-owned and trained winner is fantastic. Nothing beats that feeling after all the early mornings and hard work that everyone knows goes into getting one ready. What is your current setup/training operation? We have about half a dozen pointers at home. We will hopefully try and buy a couple over the summer. If you could train any point-to-pointer in the country, who would you choose & why? One that could run every other week and be competitive!! One horse like Boy Bumble, he won 12 races in a season.
Any hobbies outside of horses? I love watching live sport in particular cricket. I play a bit, but not as much as I used to. The darts at Ally Pally is also a fantastic day out. The atmosphere is incredible. I play real tennis and I also love the NFL (American Football).
Thank you so much Ed, it's been fantastic to read about your thorough pointing upbringing and passion! Best of luck for next season!