The first woman to train a winner of a Classic died peacefully in her sleep last week (Tuesday, 4 December) aged 102.

Mrs Johnson Houghton, twin sister of the late National Hunt trainer Fulke Walwyn, pioneered the way for female trainers.

She began training in the 1950s, after her husband Gordon died in an accident out hunting.

In 1956, she saddled Gilles De Ratz to win the 2000 Guineas, but as women trainers were not officially recognised by the Jockey Club at the time, she is not named in the record books.

The win went under the name of her assistant Charles Jerdein.

She was actively involved in racing in her retirement and rode out until she was in her 80s.

Her granddaughter Eve Johnson Houghton is a Flat trainer based at Woodway, Oxfordshire, where Helen used to train.

This news story was first published in the current issue of H&H (13 December 2012)