On the gallops
We get to go behind the scenes with Linda Perratt at her stables
First Lady of Scottish Racing Linda Perratt invited the Reformer to her state-of-the-art horse training facility recently and told us all about her plans for expansion.
Having been born and bred in Burnside, she now trains horses at her home near East Kilbride.
With the flat racing season in full swing, the Reformer caught up with Rutherglen racehorse trainer Linda Perratt at her purposebuilt farm just outside East Kilbride.
Known throughout the sport as the First Lady of Scottish Racing, Linda is a formidable presence on the racing scene.
Carving out a hugely successful career for herself, the 51- year- old has more than 20 years of experience as a trainer and has spent a lifetime with horses.
But the modest former showjumper, who took over North Allerton Farm from her parents in 2008, insists her coveted title is purely down to hard work... and a bit of luck.
Burnside-born Linda, whose family
owned Rutherglen-based Perratt’s Dairy which delivered milk throughout the area until the firm was sold in 1990, Scotland’s first female flat trainer, quipped: “I think they’ve always said that but I don’t really know why!
“Probably because I was at the most prestigious yard that had been there for about 100 years and was very maledominated. Obviously there’s not so many women in this sport but there’s a lot more starting up now – I was just lucky I think.”
Showjumping from the tender age of eight, Linda got her apprentice jockey licence at 24 and went on to become a top quality amateur rider, piloting 10 flat race winners.
“I’ve showjumped and bred mares and my parents and my grandparents have had racehorses at the farm – its been in the Perratt family for quite a long time”, said Linda.
“After about 20 years at Cree Lodge in Ayr I did a stint at Belstane Racing Stables then got this place from my parents – I’ve been very lucky.”
Linda revealed plans to expand her state-of-the-art training facility, which can hold up to 45 horses, are on course, adding: “I have 24 horses just now and I’m trying to expand.
“The way forward is wee syndicates so I’m always looking out for new owners and new business all the time. At the moment it’s quite a nice number – we try to keep it friendly so owners can come in and see the horses.”
Career- minded Linda added: “You acquire horses over the years but I don’t have any pets, they’re too expensive to keep just for a hobby. My horses are here to race – it’s very much a business.”
With meetings at Ayr and Musselburgh in the next fortnight, Linda explained how she selects the best jockey to ride her prized racehorses, saying: “You use the best available jockey you can get. The top ones want to ride the most fancied runner, but jockeys can feel loyalty towards you and will ride for you if they can.
“At the start of the season we were at a pretty high strike-rate but we’ve gone a wee bit quieter again – it’s kind of peaks and troughs. The winter can really murder your handicap and it takes a few runs to get back down off your winning weight again. The horses can’t stay at their peak all the time.
“The weather’s been a bit strange as well, they don’t really know where they are. I think horses prefer a bit of sun on their backs and faster ground. You just need to go with the flow.”
When asked which is her favourite Scottish course, Linda joked: “The last one I had a winner at usually! But Musselburgh is lovely and always a good atmosphere.”
And Linda’s big tip for racegoers: “It’s just luck at the end of the day – keep your money in your wallet!”
Training day Linda on the gallops at North Allerton Farm
At work Young stable girl Leanne Ferguson washes down Blue Sonic after his morning gallop while Linda looks on
Horse power Linda Perratt, who grew up in Rutherglen, is one of the most successful racehorse trainers in Scotland