Racing: Chapple-Hyam relishes the Commander role

It is a risk starting up any business at any stage of life but it is some bold call for a first-timer to not only walk into an arena as competitive as training racehorses, but to do so bearing a famous name in a goldfish bowl like Newmarket. It would not be a scenario for a delicate flower, but then Jane Chapple-Hyam is not one to wilt. She is Australian, but not up a gum tree.

For Chapple-Hyam, her new venture is just one more of life's challenges. Melbourne-born, she transplanted to Britain when her mother became the second Mrs Robert Sangster, experienced Manton under the regimes of Michael Dickinson, Barry Hills and, until he was unceremoniously sacked seven years ago, her then-husband, Peter. She moved to Hong Kong with him, returned to Britain three years ago and last year went through the break-up of her marriage.

But true to her robust birthright, Chapple-Hyam, 39, has turned negatives into positives. "I got the racing bug when I was very young," she said. "Where I grew up it was a natural dream to want to train the winner of the Melbourne Cup. I was married to a trainer for 16 years, a good one and a good horseman. I was never going to sit at home twiddling my thumbs and it's the only industry I know.

"I've always been behind the scenes but I'm not starting out as a green twentysomething. I've seen a lot of what can go right and go wrong and I'm mature enough now to kick on."

As well as gaining experience at Manton and in Hong Kong, Chapple-Hyam worked under the tutelage of Colin Hayes in South Australia, underwent a course at the National Stud in Newmarket and completed her credentials at the British Racing School last summer.

She got off the mark with her eighth runner when Chief Commander took a Wolverhampton maiden in January. He has been cannily campaigned since, recently picking up good prize money in Cagnes-sur-Mer, and on Saturday takes another step up the ladder in Kempton's Easter Stakes.

"He's thriving on racing," she said. "He is seriously well and telling me he wants to get back on the track. He came with a late rattle over seven and a half at Cagnes and needs a mile now. He is ready to rock and roll.

"This will be his trial for the German Guineas. You need to be rated 110 to be competitive in that, and he's on 98 but improving and a good showing on Saturday will put him in the mix. He handles the all-weather, but he'll be better back on turf."

Being last stop for the buck is something new and Chapple-Hyam will have to make a decision over Chief Commander's jockey. "Frankie Dettori has phoned for the ride," she said, "on the grounds that the horse is the improver in the field. But it will be difficult to take Jimmy Quinn off; he rode my first winner. But I'm running a business and have to do what's best for the owners.

"I'm beginning to realise the pressures. As a partner or spouse you live with it every day, but don't experience it properly. Over the winter I've started to learn what it means. It's a challenge, and scary, but it's cool."

Chapple-Hyam is unconcerned about being a rival to her Derby-winning ex-husband. "It's not like we're the only ones in the situation," she said. "In respect of divorces or separations, racing seems to be in a league of its own among industries. But then things that can lead to problems, like betting and drinking and entertaining, are part and parcel of it."

Eight horses, some of them cast-offs, in a back-street yard is a far cry from the glory days of Dr Devious and Rodrigo De Triano but it is a beginning. "I'd like to train 20, but I'll settle for what I've got and build the bricks slowly," said Chapple-Hyam. "We have good owners, a happy yard and that means happy horses.

"Some have said that I started life at the top and have worked my way down, but that's not how I see it. Life is swings and roundabouts and I like to think I'm not going in circles. I'm on the swing about to go up."

Chris McGrath

Nap: Misty Dancer (Taunton 3.40)

NB: River Amora

(Taunton 4.40)

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Project Coordinator

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Project Coordinator is requir...

Recruitment Genius: Area Sales Manager - Midlands

£20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: PHP Developer - 3-4 Month Fixed Contract - £30-£35k pro rata

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a 3-4 month pro rata fi...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales Executive - OTE £26,000+

£16000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Telesales Executive is requir...

Day In a Page

Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most
Katy Perry prevented from buying California convent for $14.5m after nuns sell to local businesswoman instead

No grace of God for Katy Perry as sisters act to stop her buying convent

Archdiocese sues nuns who turned down star’s $14.5m because they don’t approve of her
Ajmer: The ancient Indian metropolis chosen to be a 'smart city' where residents would just be happy to have power and running water

Residents just want water and power in a city chosen to be a ‘smart’ metropolis

The Indian Government has launched an ambitious plan to transform 100 of its crumbling cities
Michael Fassbender in 'Macbeth': The Scottish play on film, from Welles to Cheggers

Something wicked?

Films of Macbeth don’t always end well - just ask Orson Welles... and Keith Chegwin
10 best sun creams for body

10 best sun creams for body

Make sure you’re protected from head to toe in the heatwave
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon files

Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games
Women's World Cup 2015: How England's semi-final success could do wonders for both sexes

There is more than a shiny trophy to be won by England’s World Cup women

The success of the decidedly non-famous females wearing the Three Lions could do wonders for a ‘man’s game’ riddled with cynicism and greed
How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map