Stella Barclay

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In the town of Darwen, Stella Barclay is a name synonymous not only with horse racing but also with the quiet ambiance of the local library. Having dedicated more than two decades to her role as a librarian, Stella’s journey from the world of books to the stables is a fascinating tale of dual passions.

Trainer’s History

Stella’s story begins in Cowpe, Rossendale, where her early years were marked by a close connection to horses. Growing up near a small racing yard, she eagerly lent a helping hand, setting the stage for a lifelong love affair with these majestic creatures. This early exposure, instilled by her father, laid the groundwork for a unique blend of literary and equestrian pursuits. At 76 years old, Stella Barclay stands out as one of only five Lancashire-based trainers, breaking gender norms as the sole woman in the county to run a horse racing yard. 

Her journey challenges stereotypes, showcasing her resilience and passion for the sport.  Teaming up with her partner, Stella oversees the Barclay Racing Yard, home to 26 horses. Their training routine is a carefully curated blend of five-furlong gallops on the yard, leisurely walks on nearby lanes and bridleways, and occasional trips to the sands at Pilling. This hands-on approach sets her apart from larger yards.

One notable advantage of running a smaller operation is Stella’s personal connection with all the owners and part-owners of the horses in her care. This intimate knowledge allows her to foster strong relationships, offering owners the unique opportunity to actively engage and stay informed about the progress of their prized racehorses.


Stella Barclay’s transition from the hushed shelves of Darwen’s library to the lively stables reflects a life well-lived at the intersection of literature and equestrian pursuits. Her story serves as a testament to the enduring power of passion and the unexpected paths that can lead to both personal fulfilment and success in diverse arenas.

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