Did Andrew Turnell once have a runner in the Derby?

The short answer is yes, he did. Formerly a successful National Hunt jockey with 482 winners to his name, Andrew ‘Andy’ Turnell turned to training following the death of his father, Bob, in 1982. In 2013, he suffered a stroke, which curtailed his training career and, two years later, he handed the training licence at his yard in Broad Hinton, Wiltshire to his assistant, Sally Randell.

However, in his heyday, during the Eighties and Nineties, Turnell was best known as a National Hunt trainer. Indeed, from his original base in East Hendred, Oxfordshire he famously sent out the 1987 Grand National winner, Maori Venturi, in the colours of 92-year-old Jim Joel. Turnell also tasted success at the Cheltenham Festival, saddling Katabatic to victory in the Grand Annual Chase in 1990 and, more importantly, in the Queen Mother Champion Chase in 1991.

As far as the Derby was concerned, Turnell saddled his one and only runner in the Epsom Classic in 2002, by which time he had moved to the historic Highfield Stables in Malton, North Yorkshire. The colt in question was Jelani, a son of French Derby winner Darshaan, who had won once from three starts as a juvenile, but finished only fifth of nine, beaten 4¾ lengths, behind Moon Ballad in the Dante Stakes at York on his first start as a three-year-old.

At Epsom, Jelani was sent off joint rank outsider of the twelve runners at 100/1, but belied those odds by finishing fourth. Jelani lost his place at halfway and was soon pushed along by jockey Fergal Lynch but, although struggling in eighth place on the home turn, ran on again in the final quarter of mile. He proved no match for the Aidan O’Brien-trained pair High Chaparral and Hawk Wing, who pulled 12 lengths clear of the third horse, Moon Ballad, but was beaten just a length by his old rival.