Who was Norah Wilmot?
Born in 1889, Norah Wilmot was the eldest daughter of Sir Robert Rodney Wilmot, Sixth Baronet of Osmaston, and had the distinction of being the first female trainer in Britain to ‘officially’ saddle a winner. She did so when her filly, Pat, won at Brighton on August 4, 1966, the day after the Jockey Club finally capitulated and granted a training licence to two women, the other being Florence Nagle. Ms. Wilmot was 77 years old.
Norah Wilmot had worked as assistant horse racing trainer to her father for twenty years prior to his death in 1931 and, thereafter, having inherited Binfield Grove Stud in Bracknell, Berkshire, continued to train racehorses in an ‘unofficial’ capacity with no little success. Although eminently capable, Ms. Wilmot was forbidden by the Jockey Club from holding a training licence in her own right so, as she was unmarried, the training licence was officially held by a series of head lads in her employment. Although not officially acknowledged as a trainer until her dotage, Ms. Wilmot completed the Goodwood Cup – Doncaster Cup double with Haulfryn in 1937 and, at one point, her owners included Queen Elizabeth II.