Trevor Hemmings’ love of horses was born when, as a child, he was entrusted with the Chorley greengrocer’s cob – to whom he attached a cart of potatoes, dampened to increase their weight as they were sold by the pound.
There was something prophetic about his early memory, a young Hemmings delighting in horses while sharpening the business acumen that would earn him a future somehow foretold by the name of his first equine love – the cob called Klondike.
It is certainly accurate to depict Hemming’s adult years as a ‘gold rush’ – but the circumstances of his early life were a world away from the billionaire businessman and three-time Grand National-winning owner he was to become.
Born in Woolwich in 1935, Hemmings was the working-class son of a Royal Ordnance factory worker, with the company’s World War II relocation to Lancashire necessitating a family move to Leyland when he was five.
Hemmings witnessed his parents’ struggle to balance financial stresses with a determination to avoid debt – something which perhaps shaped his own principles.
On leaving Leyland Secondary Modern School at 15, Hemmings was faced with four employment options – Leyland Motors, working alongside his parents at the Royal Ordnance factory, the declining weaving mills or the police force.
Instead, he went to Lancashire College night school to study business – alongside a variety of daytime roles, such as cleaning diesel trains and boiler-making, before beginning an apprenticeship in building.