A schoolmaster returns to winning ways after a tendon injury, while another jockey finally gets to have a go on a horse that means a lot to her.
Point-to-point highlights from the two meetings that took place over the weekend (19–20 February).
Puckeridge, Horseheath, Cambs
Experienced chaser Mr Love gave his novice jockey Murray Dodd (pictured above) a positive ride to win the PPORA Club members conditions (level two) novice riders for owner-trainer Nick Pearce.
Nick works full time for Dan Skelton, but also trains a handful of pointers that they run to give the younger jockeys at Dan’s a start in race-riding their careers.
“Dan used to train the horse under Rules and he won a handful of races with him over hurdles, but then he had a couple of years off recovering from a tendon injury,” said Nick. “He won a month and a half ago and we’ve been waiting for the rain to run him again. He still enjoys himself and it’s a nice way for these former successful horses to continue racing and teach the younger riders the ropes.”
Trainer David Kemp and jockey Dale Peters enjoyed a brace of wins, starting with a win in the conditions (level two) with How To Get Away, followed by victory in the intermediate with Rebel Dawn Rising.
“[How To Get Away] ran well today, and hopefully he’ll be a nice hunter chaser by the end of the season,” said Dale. “David bought him as an unraced horse, so he’s had him a while, but for no real reason he’s only been lightly raced.
“He’s not a massive horse – he’s barely 16hh – but he’s developed in his mental maturity. He’s one of the most improved horses I’ve ever ridden from one season to the next – I couldn’t believe how much he’d come on.”
Of Rebel Dawn Rising, Dale added: “He beat How To Get Away last year and he won easily today – he didn’t come off the bridle. He is a big horse and takes one or two races to get fully tuned up, so he wasn’t really 100% today, but he still did it well. He’s only run once left-handed, and despite winning, he hung like a gate, so I wonder if David will try him left-handed again now he’s older, because that’s the direction the nice hunter chases run.”
Ben Bromley rode the Phil Rowley-trained Dragon D’Estruval to victory in the mens’ open.
“He’s a nice horse, but a bit delicate and has been around the block a bit,” said Phil. “He won a conditions at Larkhill and then had a disappointing run, so we’ve kept chipping away with him and although it wasn’t a particularly hot race today, he did it nicely. He was a bit inconsistent under Rules, so hopefully we can keep him sweet and happy and he’ll enjoy a career pointing.”
Also at Horseheath, the maiden was won by Mr Vango under Will Biddick for Christopher Barber, and Hawkhurst claimed the ladies’ open under Izzie Marshall for Alan Hill.
‘He did it professionally’
Countryside Alliance Club (Wessex,) Badbury Rings, Dorset
Victory Club belied his young years to land division two of the maiden under Alex Chadwick for trainer Harriet Dickin.
“He’s a nice horse and improved from his last run,” said Alex of the five-year-old. “He travelled great and jumped really well – I only had to ask him one question and that was at the last. He did it really professionally which you don’t expect from a horse who has only run twice.
“It suits me because all you have to do is keep the revs up and get him from A to B. You can just sit there and enjoy it – he really was a pleasure to ride.”
The Countryside Alliance Club members conditions (level three) division one was won by Dr Rhythm under Josh Newman for Keith Cumings, and division two was won by Rio Quinto under George Hiscock for Malvina Macgregor.
Also at Badbury Rings, Rose Of Arcadia won the mens’ open under Freddie Gingell for Colin Tizzard, Beau Morgan rode Twig to victory in the Countryside Alliance Club Members conditions race (level two) novice riders for Matthew Hampton, the restricted was won by His Own Star under Darren Andrews for Stuart Sampson, and the maiden (division one) was won by Cuzzicombe under Chloe Emsley for Ed Walker.
‘It meant a lot to us all’
Jockey Natalie Parker paid tribute to the late Rose Loxton when riding Caid Du Berlais to victory in the ladies’ open.
Natalie rode out for Rose before she sadly died from cancer 18 months ago, and continues to ride for Rose’s widower Sam Loxton.
“Caid is a horse that I’ve had a lot to do with over the past four years since riding for Rose and Sam,” Natalie explained. “I used to school him a lot but Will Biddick always rode him in races. Sam always promised that he’d get me a ride on him one day and fair play to him, he managed to do it. It meant a lot to us all.”
As Caid is now 13, the horse’s team decided he deserved a slightly easier life and have put him in ladies’ races to give him a lighter weight.
“It meant a lot to ride him today and to win was a dream result,” added Natalie. “I felt a lot of pressure from myself because I wanted it to go right, so it was a relief we did so well. He’s still really up for it – he ran away with me for a lot of it, which was actually a nice feeling because it shows he’s still enthusiastic.”
You might also be interested in:
Horse & Hound magazine, out every Thursday, is packed with all the latest news and reports, as well as interviews, specials, nostalgia, vet and training advice. Find how you can enjoy the magazine delivered to your door every week, plus options to upgrade your subscription to access our online service that brings you breaking news and reports as well as other benefits.