Tribute to Rose Loxton
Multiple champion trainer Paul Nicholls has paid tribute to Rose Loxton, who died yesterday at the age of 59 after succumbing to cancer.
Loxton worked for Nicholls’ yard during many of his most successful seasons, but in recent years had become a leading trainer on the point-to-point and hunters’ chase circuits. She was champion hunters’ chase trainer in 2018/19 and joint-champion in the season which was curtailed earlier this year.
Nicholls, pictured above left with rider Angus Cheleda, Loxton and owner John Bolton after Chameron’s win at Larkhill in January, said: “It’s very sad. She was such a tough lady and seemed to be doing so well in the spring, but the cancer returned.
“Rose started working for me in 2002. At first she came along just to ride out, but worked her way up to be head girl and assistant to Clifford [Baker, Nicholls’ long-standing head groom]. She looked after Big Buck’s [outstanding champion staying hurdler] throughout his career, and she also did Kauto Star in his final season when he won the Betfair Chase and King George. She looked after top-class horses because she was such a natural horsewoman.
“Her attention to detail was second to none, she helped everybody and became a mother figure to many of the younger members of staff. She took pressure off Clifford simply by knowing what she was doing.
“She came from a large family and she and Sam started their own family, but horses were her working life. She was working here at Ditcheat, doing the pointers after morning work and looking after her family – she was very tough and dedicated.
“I know her yard of pointers had some good horses, but she did a wonderful job with them, and she gave so much help to Meg [his daughter, now an apprentice jockey] when she started riding in point-to-points. Without Rose’s help and advice at the start Meg would not have achieved as much as she has.”
Among the many current and former members of Nicholls’ staff who rode out for Loxton and/or partnered her pointers in races was Harriet Tucker, who in 2018 won the St James’s Place Foxhunter Chase on the Nicholls-trained Pacha Du Polder.
Tucker, who is now based in Berkshire at Henrietta Knight’s yard, said: “I feel devastated. Rose was like a mum to me – it’s been so hard to take the news.
“Words cannot describe how I feel – it’s as though a part of me has gone.
“Rose was an amazing woman and I feel so lucky to have worked alongside her. We had so many laughs and amazing times, and she was so tough – one of those people who just got on with it, and never said if she was in pain. If something needed doing she just did it.”
Loxton was diagnosed with cancer after undergoing tests while she was in hospital suffering from multiple injuries, the result of a gallops fall late in 2018. She was given the all-clear earlier this year, but in June was readmitted to hospital for further chemotherapy.
Loxton trained her first point-to-point winner in 2010. In addition to guiding Megan Nicholls to the national novice women riders’ title in 2013/14, Loxton helped many young amateur riders enjoy success in races.
She trained Caid Du Berlais to win twice at the Punchestown Festival under Will Biddick and Shantou Flyer to finish third in this year’s St James’s Place Foxhunter Chase under David Maxwell. She also trained the Coronation Cup winners Monsieur Gibraltar and Chameron.
Loxton died on Friday, Aug 14, leaving her husband Sam, their children Martina, Polly and Freddie and four grandchildren.