Saintly connection for Newmarket’s newest training yard
A heathen saint associated with healing of horses will be invoked at Newmarket’s Open Day with the official launch of the town’s newest yard.
Saint Wendred’s on Hamilton Road has been named after the little known woman saint by trainers Ilka Gansera Leveque and husband Stephane.
It’s an appropriate association for Ilka, who is also a qualified vet and practices natural horsemanship after time spent with Monty Roberts.
The yard opening on Sunday 20 September will feature displays from sculptress Deborah Burt and artist Michelle McCullagh, both members of the Society of Equestrian Artists.
Deborah will be displaying her acclaimed ‘Equus I’ horse’s head, inspired by the Horse of Selene from the Parthenon frieze and the Arabian racehorse Hidalgo. In advance of her solo exhibition in London in November, Michelle is donating a sketch for a raffle which also includes tickets to the following weekend’s racing.
Ilka will conduct tours of the yard, with demonstrations by a farrier and a physiotherapist.
There will be the opportunity to join a racing syndicate.
Visitors also have the chance to see one of the UK’s top racing Arabian stallions, Storm Troupour, trained by Stephane.
Recently shipped from America, Storm Troupour is being aimed at the Shadwell Arabian Derby in Newmarket on Friday 25 September, part of the DIAR (Dubai International Arabian Races) programme. The UK Arabian Derby is sponsored by Shadwell Stud and supported by HH Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum. The UK Arabian Derby is the final race of our UK Arabian race season.
Newly-named Saint Wendred’s is part of the yard previously owned and built by Bill O’Gorman, whose Seven Springs yard name also harked back to the healing springs nearby.
Local history has it that one particular well was an ancient heathen water source which became Christianised into St. Wendred’s well because of the healing power of the water used for walking horses into.
It was also in the holy water of this well that Etheldreda, foundress of E!y Cathedral, was believed to have been baptised after her birth in nearby Exning. St Wendreda’s Church in March, allegedly home to the saint’s relics, is the only church in the UK to ears her name
Exning itself traces its history back to the Celtic Iceni tribe headquartered in Exning. They were noted for the export of horses, the perfect forerunner for Newmarket’s modern role as the global HQ of flat racing.
Saint Wendred’s can be found on the lower part of Hamilton Road, around the bend on the right hand side.