‘Remembered for his passion for racing’: farewell to jockey, trainer, owner and steward


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  • Edward John Farrant MBE, the jockey, trainer, owner and point-to-point steward died on 4 April, aged 85.

    John will be remembered for his passion for racing, which was funded by his understanding of and expertise in commercial poultry. The latter earned him his cherished MBE, and the former gave him the best moments of his life.

    In an interview celebrating his 30 years as editor of Poultry World he said: “The only thing I ever wanted to do was ride racehorses, which I did as an amateur for 30 years.”

    He was proud to reach more than 100 National Hunt winners as a rider, trainer and owner. After his retirement his efforts were directed into local point-to-points as a steward and clerk of the course for the East Sussex and Romney Marsh. He continued to ride his beloved racehorse Quarrymount, or Q, until he was 84.

    Knowing how hard it is to get on the racing ladder he was always willing to give young riders a chance – caring more about the opportunity than where his own horse might finish. Rupert Farrant, Joe Carden, Chris Gordon, Helen Gordon, Freddie Gordon and Tom Cannon were among the amateurs and professionals he assisted.

    John grew up in Northiam, East Sussex, on the family farm with many cousins. Holidays were spent harvesting, haymaking, taking fruit and vegetables to market and timber to the mill – and riding ponies. He was one of the founder members, with his cousins, of the Romney Marsh branch of The Pony Club in 1948.

    He started point-to-pointing while at Wye College, winning his first race in 1958, and his first National Hunt race, on Tom Southern’s Scottish Flight, at Lingfield in 1959. Lingfield was dear to his heart as it also provided wins as the owner of Ramore Will. Folkestone also held special memories as he rode and trained his own horse Eastern Admiral to win the Ted Long Trophy in 1976.

    Always a hard worker, John fitted riding around daily commuting to London from home on the Sussex coast and overseeing his 18,000-bird egg farm. The slogan of the 1960s “Go to work on an egg” could have been coined for him. Incredibly he found time to work on several committees for the poultry industry. The unquestioning time and energy he put into these contributed to his being appointed MBE.

    He was a very calm and amenable man; it took a lot to ruffle his feathers – but they were well and truly ruffled by the Edwina Currie and salmonella in eggs controversy in 1988, on which he is quoted on Wikipedia. At the time he had just moved to Litlington with his second wife Anne. The running of the egg deliveries was left to a young Chris Gordon who was trying to get on the racing ladder. In his ever-generous way John helped Chris gain rides and horses to train.

    A few years later he was rewarded with one of his proudest moments when his son Rupert won the Kent Grand National on the home-trained Bargill. Several decades later his faith in Chris Gordon was rewarded when Chris sourced successful chasers Quarrymount, Days Of Pleasure, Ballyheigue Bay and Ramore Will. Quarrymount was Chris’s first winner as a licensed trainer.

    Mr Farrant’s funeral is at 3pm on 1 May, at Wealden Crematorium, Horam. No flowers. Donations via Just Giving in aid of the Injured Jockeys Funds.

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