Racing mourns former Newmarket trainer John Powney

John Powney
John Powney

A funeral service for former Newmarket trainer John Powney, who died last Wednesday, will be held at St Agnes’ Church, Newmarket, on Monday at 12.30pm.

Mr Powney, who was 87, had worked in almost every branch of the horseracing industry since starting out as an apprentice jockey with Lord Derby’s trainer Walter Earl at Stanley House after leaving school in the mid-1940s.

“He had a few rides, including some over jumps, but very quickly decided it wasn’t for him,” said his daughter Emma.

After gaining more experience from spells as head lad with Fred Armstrong and Harry Thomson Jones, in 1971 Mr Powney was invited to join Michael Jarvis and Paul Davey as private trainer to TV rentals magnate David Robinson, whose string occupied both Carlburg and Clarehaven House Stables in Bury Road.

He later returned to what had been his father Hugh’s yard when he set up as a public trainer at Savile House, in St Mary’s Square. Later, he turned to stud work, learning the trade at Someries Stud before taking the post of stud groom at Longstones Stud, Kennett, and then at West Stow Stud until retiring in the 1990s.

Retirement turned out to be a busy time for Mr Powney who promptly took on three jobs – running the Practical Gallery at the National Horseracing Museum’s old High Street site as well as working in the control office during sales at Tattersalls and occasionally acting as Clerk of the Scales at racecourses around the country.

Mr Powney was married to Ena for nearly 60 years, the couple spending most of their married life at Shalfleet Cottage in Bury Road, where they brought up their children John, Emma and Harriet