At the time of writing, Gay Kelleway has recently been in the news due to her involvement in ‘Racing To Help Ukraine’, a campaign seeking to promote human and equine welfare during the ongoing Russo-Ukrainian War. In mid-April, 2022, Kelleway made the 2,000-mile round trip from her base in Newmarket, Suffolk to deliver essential supplies to an emergency stabling facility set up on the Ukranian-Polish border for horses rescued from the conflict.
Of course, Gay Kelleway is the daughter of the late Paul Kelleway, a highly successful National Hunt jockey and later a shrewd Flat trainer, who died from pancreatic cancer in 1999 aged 58. Like her father, Gay Kelleway first found fame as a jockey, becoming the first woman to ride a winner at Royal Ascot on Sprowston Boy in the Queen Alexandra Stakes in 1987.
Kelleway began training in 1991 and, nowadays, operates the aptly-titled Queen Alexandra Stables in the village of Exning, on the outskirts of Newmarket, and a small satellite yard in Lamorlaye, near Chantilly in northern France. On the other side of the English Channel, Kelleway rents part of the yard belonging to Myriam Bollack-Badel and her horses are supervised by her former assistant, Anne-Sophie Crombez, who is now an established trainer in France. In Flat racing, the French regulatory authority, France Galop, pays owners’ premiums of up to 64% on prize money won by horses bred in France, so this arrangement allows Kelleway to offer British owners the opportunity to win higher prize money.
On British soil, Kelleway enjoyed her most successful season, numerically, in 2008, when she saddled 48 winners. She has yet to come close to that figure since but, now into the veteran stage of her career, remains a refreshingly outspoken, often controversial, voice in the traditionally male-dominated world of horse racing.