After some disappointing times and some down right bad luck, I finally have some good news to share with you about Harry!
It all started at Kilworthy, where I had a manic day with all four horses running in their respective races.
Lundy Sky kicked off proceedings in the hunt race. It was his first run for me and his owner Norman Carter, and he got the day off to a flyer…in a BAD way! As he approached fence three he got things drastically wrong and totally miscalculated his take off, resulting in a thumping fall for both Lundy and Ben Robarts, his jockey.
Lundy got up and proceeded to jump his way around the course and added in a few hedges for good measure too! However, Ben didn’t get off at all lightly and when I finally caught up with him he had his arm in a sling and looked a little pastey.
This then left me with a dilemma. Who was going to rode Harry in two races time at such short notice? Thankfully Jamie Thomas was available and agreed to step in.
Tiz was in the race immediately after Lundy, so after a little wait for Lundy’s return we were back in paddock with Tiz. I also had to judge best turned out for the race as it’s a race run in the memory of my late Aunty, who passed away last year from cancer .
Tiz ran a good enough race, jumped amazingly as always and completed three miles. He had a good blow and was sure to have come on for the run.
Then it was Harry’s turn. Jamie said he had spoken to Matt Hampton and David Noonan about how best to ride him and settle him.
I was confident that Jamie would do the right thing. We have been friends for years and he rides heaps of winners for Kayley Wollacott.
Harry settled well out the back and was ticking long and jumping well, until another disaster. A horse had a really nasty fall in front of them and it left Harry no option but to shoot around the outside.
This was fine for Harry, but not so for Jamie as he got fired out the side door Harry continued loose for a little bit and then veered off the course and went for a chat with some cows in a nearby farmyard!
No harm was done apart from Jamie’s pride — he felt he shouldn’t have fallen off him, but to be honest having ridden myself I know how hard it can be to stay intact when things happen at speed.
Ted then ran in a really fast run in the restricted. He made a good account of himself finishing in the mid field. As always he jumped superbly!
Finding a jockey
So the task of finding Harry somewhere to run and a jockey for next time was then on. Jamie is a busy guy and I don’t like to ask him to take outside rides when I know how committed he is to the Wollacott set up. And Ben was on the sidelines with a broken collarbone thanks to Lundy’s escapades.
The following weekend saw Lundy go to Great Threthew. What a difference a week makes — the weather at Kilworthy was lovely and the ground matched it.
Then one week on, we encountered an awful day of rain and very high winds, coupled with very wet ground. I’m not going to lie, I was happy about it though. The wetter the ground, the slower they were going to go and that was only going to help Lundy Sky.
He was entered in what looked a hot open race with lots of highly-rated horses in it. David Noonan took the reins. All credit to David, he rode him beautifully and patiently out the back of runners and when they turned the bend for home I couldn’t believe it when I saw him cutting his way through the pack.
He finished third, eight lengths behind the first horse. I couldn’t have been more pleased and relieved that he jumped and travelled so nicely and also beat a few really nice horses.
Read more of Lizzie’s blogs
H&H's point-to-point blogger rides out the ups and downs Harry has provided her with, including a heart-stopping moment
H&H's point-to-point blogger reports back on Harry's first race since his Christmas antics
Tiz and Ted were then entered for Trebadunnon on Easter Monday. When I got there the ground was too soft for Ted so he didn’t run, much to his disgust.
After talking to Vicky Wade about whether to run Tiz or not, we decided to let him have the run as the experience of being among the others again was not going to harm him. Sadly Vicky couldn’t ride him due to a commitment with her boss, but George Hiscock stood in very well and he pulled up after two circuits reporting the ground too soft, but said he jumped well and wasn’t too worried by the other horses.
Annoyed was an understatement
Entries were in for the following Sunday for all four to go to Upcott Cross. Upcott is literally 10 minutes from my house and I like to support, it was however the first time I had run anything there after losing Déjà vu Doo (Dora) at the track. I had to remind myself that these things happen and I had to put it to the back of my mind.
It was Lundy’s go first again and he was a good boy finishing fifth in a confined race. David said the ground either needs to be good or wet as he didn’t enjoy the ‘tacky’ surface.
The ground was against Ted again, but after being so cross on the Monday before I let him have a play. He jumped well as always, but he hated the tacky going as expected. Jo Buck didn’t give him a hard race and he will run this coming Monday (4 May).
Harry and Tiz both got put in the same division, which is very hard considering Tiz goes near the front and Harry normally near the back.
I decided to put Jo Buck on him for his run. She has schooled him at home and was confident she could deal with him on the day. And deal with him she did! She made Harry walk and quietly trot to the start to maintain his cool head.
When the flag dropped she had him in a lovely position, in touch without being to close to the action to light him up. It nearly all went horribly wrong at the first when a horse refused and banged into the side of Harry. Jo did well to stay in the plate and Harry did well to stay upright.
Every horse jumped the second well and Tiz was sat nicely in third on the outside with Harry in his slipstream. Disaster struck at the third, when the horse that had previously refused ran straight across the path of Tiz and Vicky and carried them out past the fence. To say I was annoyed would be an understatement.
Thankfully my sister Torie was on hand and she said she would deal with Tiz, who was by now pulled up, but looking very confused and annoyed.
Harry continued on by now in about fourth place with the favourite Turnstone up his inner. As the front two kicked away about 15 lengths, both Jo and Turnstone’s jockey Darren Edwards didn’t panic and by the sixth fence more chaos reigned. One of the front two ran out sending his jockey through the wing and the other refused.
Now Harry was in front! He loved it, ears pricked the whole way, although he hanging to his left and giving Jo a hard time.
When Turnstone fell at the third last, we all got quite excited. Sadly the lengths that Harry conceded both at his fences but between them told as two others nipped up his inner.
He jumped the last just behind the leader and then hung left again allowing the third horse to nick second from him. He only got beaten by three lengths by the winner and I was just so pleased he finally got his chance to show everyone that he can do it.
He’s restored my faith as I’ve always thought him capable of winning a few races. Jo was delighted. In fact, Gerry her partner said he’s never seen her so pleased to be third.
She knows what Harry means to me and to his owners Dad and Mike Clark and to finally have him in the paddock after a race means a lot.
He has bounced out the race and the intention is to go left-handed next time to try to get this elusive win!
Eventing at Bicton
I haven’t had much time between racing, but I have been eventing to Bicton where both my horses were good, just a little speedy cross-country — one resulting in a steering failure, the other in time faults for going too fast. Oops! Both would have been placed without, but hey ho.
On another note, I would like to take this opportunity to wish Ed Barrett well. He had an awful fall at Upcott Cross and is in the intensive care unit at Derriford. Ed was always very kind to me when I was riding and we spoke on the phone the week before his fall.
He won the first running of the race run in my Aunty’s memory at Kilworthy and I know she will be willing him to get better, as we all are. Get well soon Ed xx
I am also running the race for life in June. Considering the only time I run nowadays is up and down the side of a racecourse shouting my horses on, this could result in some pain for me!
My just giving page is www.justgiving.com/liftonladies
If you could donate kindly I would appreciate it as it’s for such a good cause and one close to my heart on many levels.
Speak again soon,
Lizzie and Harry 🙂