Ann Duffield - My Yorkshire weekend

PUBLISHED: 00:00 19 October 2013

Ann and George Duffield

Ann and George Duffield


Racehorse trainer Ann Duffield explains how she reins herself in after a hard week

Racehorse trainers don’t get much time off during the flat season but I do try to have a bit of a weekend with my husband George, finishing in the yard at lunchtime on Saturday. I once had an owner who expected me to be in the yard 24 hours a day, seven days a week. When I took a short break, he asked for a refund.

My yard, Sun Hill, is in the glorious Wensleydale countryside at Constable Burton, so when I do get the afternoon off George and I will have a bite to eat then go out for a drive. I like to explore the countryside around us and particularly enjoy the route through Coverdale with its little villages and then on down to Skipton.

We both like browsing in the antique shops and, if the weather’s right, I look out for a pavement café so we can sit and watch the world go by.

Saturday evenings are spent at home, chilling out with a glass of wine. Sometimes my son AJ joins us and, as we have a pool table in the farmhouse, I’ll occasionally challenge all-comers to a game (I’m rubbish at it).

If it’s the closed season, I’m able to take a bit longer off; enough for George and I to get out on a couple of our hunters. We have three – Captain Jack, Stripey and Alfie. We’ll have a good day out with the Bedale hunt and come home muddy, tired and ready for a long hot soak.

I try to have a lie in on Sunday but once I’m awake that’s it, I have to get up. I check the horses are all OK and maybe do an hour in the office before pottering about the house (some days I even take the phone off the hook).

Now George is retired (he’s a former top flat race jockey with an MBE for services to horseracing) he doesn’t have to watch his weight so we’ll go out for a traditional Sunday lunch: roast beef, Yorkshire puds, the works.

We’re lucky to have some great pubs nearby. If pushed, I’d say the Wensleydale Heifer in West Witton and the Blue Lion in East Witton are my favourites.

After that, it’s usually back to the house and feet up. When I was younger and at home with my parents, we used to have the full Sunday lunch and then mum and dad would have an afternoon snooze.

I swore that I’d never be like that but now I have to laugh because George and I do exactly the same.

Sunday evenings are quiet too unless we have friends round. I watch a bit of TV (I loved The White Queen on the BBC) then it’s off to bed for an early night.

In fact, in this job every night is an early night because every day starts so early.

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