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 Joey Ramsden, Cape Town based trainer of approximately 120 horses, has been involved with horses all his life. His  father, Jack Ramsden and stepmother, Lynda, had a successful stable in the North of England. Lynda ran the stables while  Mr Ramsden senior, a stockbroker, followed the horses with huge success.

 The young Joey first worked at a farm in Kentucky, Creek View Farm, before moving to Australia to join Brian Mayfield-Smith,  a top trainer in Sydney.


In 1988, he came to South Africa where he started working for a trainer in Johannesburg, Michael Roberts. A turning point in his life was when Vaughan Marshall asked Joey to move to Port Elizabeth to run his satellite yard, which he did successfully for 3 years. Vaughan then persuaded Joey to train his summer string for the Cape Town season.

It was at this time that Lynda and Joey’s father, Jack, opened a satellite yard at Southwell and asked Joey to return home to run it. Joey had a good number of winners while running the stables and it was here that he also met his future wife, Fiona (Fee) Haynes. Joey’s father, along with a number of English-based owners, bought some yearlings in South Africa and Joey decided to return to Milnerton, Cape Town and start training. His first year was almost his last as a trainer; his feed was contaminated, his best horse broke down and the horses ran badly. The only thing that stopped him from giving up and becoming a journalist was his belief that he could train horses successfully. He changed the feed, did a few things differently and the horses started to show results.

“When my horses are fit and well, I believe in racing my horses hard and often. A horse cannot earn while standing in the stables. When they go over the top, I usually send them to Arc en Ciel to have a few weeks break relaxing in the paddock. This works well for the horses, for the owners and for me,” says Joey.

The Ramsden stable has gone from strength to strength since those early days. Legal Mission was Joey’s first graded winner. Since then, there have been numerous graded and Listed winners, with Winter Solstice being the best of them. He won the Queen’s Plate twice, the Gold Challenge and the Champion’s Cup and was voted Horse of the Year in 2006. Joey currently has many stars in his stables, both young and old, in Bravura, Lion in Winter, Trinity House and Variety Club, as well as some smart 2 year olds with bright futures ahead of them.


Joey is ably assisted by his right hand man, Ricardo Sobotker, who has been with him for 13 years and is well used to  working with Joey. Chris Huisamen has also been with Joey for 4 years and is in charge of working horses on the  treadmill, an addition to the stable that has made a huge difference to horses with leg and back injuries as they are able to  work on an even surface without weight on their backs. It is easier to keep them sound and get them fit without aggravating  their injuries. Burger Viljoen has been with Joey for just under a year (August 2011) and is a hard and willing worker who  assists Ricardo in the stables.

Ricardo Sobotker

Burger Viljoen

Lorenzo Karriem

Sheryl Randall


The small, but successful, satellite yard in KZN is ably run by Lorenzo Karriem, who has been with Joey since January 2010, with Joey  flying back and forth between the two stables to keep his eagle eye on everything. If things are not to his satisfaction, he will let you know!

Sheryl Randall has been with Joey for the past 6 years. “To look out the window and see these beautiful horses is the best break you can  have during a day’s work at the office,” she says. She was joined in the office 2 years ago by Colleen Alston, who has many years’  experience with both the training and administration side of horseracing.

A big part of Joey’s success, apart from being able to train winners, is his communication with his owners. He is not shy to tell an owner if he believes his horse is no good, thus saving the owner from wasting his money. He has many loyal owners who have been with him for years and are a large part of the stables’ success. Joey regularly trains well in excess of 100 winners a season.

When not spending time with his wife, Fee and 2 beautiful daughters, Holly and Zara, Joey can be found relaxing on the golf course (he plays off a 13 handicap) but does not have the time to play as often as he would like as training horses to win is a 25 hour day.

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