LAWNEY Hill says summer has been forced to arrive early at her Aston Rowant stables.

The National Hunt trainer saw both her yard and the barn used by husband Alan to house his

point-to-point horses hit by the racing ban last week.

It proved a whirlwind 24 hours after Lawney saddled 16-1 shot Shimba Hills to win a handicap hurdle at Southwell on Monday, with the sport going into lockdown the following day after a chaotic chain of events.

“We were so thrilled with Shimba Hills winning,” the trainer said.

“But then the following morning it was announced that the

point-to-point season was ending, which was obviously very bad news for everyone concerned.

“I quickly contacted Alan’s owners and told them that because National Hunt racing was continuing behind closed doors, they could move the horses into my yard if they wanted to keep them going.

“We were feeling quite smug for about three hours.

“But then the news broke that all racing in Great Britain was shutting down.

“Everything is upside down – but it’s the same for everyone.”

The Hills have been able to keep on the majority of their staff, with the yard still full of horses and work needed to be done.

“One girl is Irish and so she went home straight away as didn’t want to be in lockdown over here,” Lawney said.

“But most of the others are still here because we still have 35-38 horses that need looking after.

“We are getting them all on the walker for an hour a day because they are racing fit so you can’t just put them out in a field as they will all be buzzing and on edge so will most likely injure themselves.”

The couple are, however, trying to make best of the situation.

“There are lots of jobs that, like every other person, we have put off doing that now we have no excuse not to do,” Lawney said.

“There are other ones that happen every summer – although we can’t disinfect and repaint all the boxes because horses are still in them – so it’s just a case of summer coming early really.

“Alan is doing lots of work out on the farm which he is enjoying and never usually has time for.

“But everyone is in the same boat. You can’t fight the situation – that is negative energy and is no good for anyone.”

And Lawney says there is one small positive to emerge.

“We usually get up at 5.15am every morning – but I have now changed the alarm to 6am,” she said.