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Florence Nagle

Florence Nagle

Breeder and trainer of race horses

Florence Nagle (26 October 1894 – 30 October 1988) was a British trainer and breeder of racehorses, a breeder of pedigree dogs, and an active feminist. Nagle purchased her first Irish Wolfhound in 1913, and went on to own or breed twenty-one United Kingdom Champions. Best in Show at Crufts in 1960 was awarded to Sulhamstead Merman, who was bred, owned and exhibited by Nagle. She also competed successfully in field trials with Irish Setters, from the 1920s until the mid-1960s resulting in eighteen Field Trial Champions. The male dog who was a linchpin in the 1970s revival of the Irish Red and White Setter breed was descended from one of Nagle's Irish Setters.

Described as "the Mrs. Pankhurst of British horse racing", Nagle trained her first racehorse in 1920, the Irish-bred colt Fernley. At that time women were forced to employ men to hold a Jockey Club trainers licence on their behalf, or to have licences in their husbands' names. Nagle worked peacefully to redress such injustices to her sex. She successfully challenged the well-established leading gentlemen's clubs of the racing and canine worlds over their gender inequality, and in 1966 became one of the first two women in the United Kingdom licensed to train racehorses. The first racehorse officially trained in Nagle's name was Mahwa, registered as being owned by her friend Miss Newton Deakin, with whom she jointly owned some of her dogs.

Dissatisfied with the lack of opportunities for women jockeys, Nagle sponsored the Florence Nagle Girl Apprentices' Handicap first run in 1986 at Kempton Park. She died at her home in West Chiltington, Sussex, two years later at the age of 94, leaving funds in her will for the continuation of the race.


October 26, 1894
Florence Nagle was born in Fallowfield.


Further Resources


"Florence Nagle: the 'Mrs Pankhurst' of Racing"

Curling, Bill


Best in Show: The World of Show Dogs and Dog Shows

Bengtson, Bo


Irish Setters

Leighton-Boyce, Gilbert


Setters, Irish, English and Gordon,

Ingle Bepler, M.; Ryan, C. W


Sporting Females: Critical Issues in the History and Sociology of Women's Sport

Hargreaves, Jennifer


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