‘There were moments when I wondered whether I should carry on’: jockey wins first race on 92nd attempt, while team chasing is credited to one mare’s victory

  • Point-to-point highlights from both meetings that took place this weekend (7 November).

    One jockey gets off the mark on his 92nd ride, while team chasing unlocks the winning ways of one mare.

    South Wold, Revesby Park, Lincs

    There’s the old age adage that “good things come to those who wait” and that couldn’t be more true for Luke Humphrey, who won his first point-to-point on his 92nd attempt.

    “I’ve been waiting for this one for a while,” said Luke, who is 33 and based near Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, after his victory in the restricted. “This is my fifth season and it’s been hard sometimes – I’ve had loads of second-place finishes and after 50-odd rides, you sort of think ‘Oh, what am I doing? Should I be doing this?’ But if you enjoy it, you should keep going and I knew it would happen sooner or later, it’s just a case of having the right horse to do it on.”

    Luke was riding the seven-year-old mare, Cave Queen (pictured), who he also trains and owns alongside Caroline Humphrey.

    “This mare came from Ireland last year and I was second on her last season twice – I knew she would be my first winner and today she was on fire,” explained Luke, who rides full-time, including riding out a couple of mornings each week at Pam Sly’s yard to help him “keep in shape”. “Cave Queen is opinionated and you have to work with her, but she’s fairly straightforward to train – I knew she was up for it today as the lorry was rocking the whole way here!”

    Lucy Burton was delighted to win the veteran horse conditions (level two) nine-year-old-and-up race aboard the 10-year-old Earlshill, who is owned and trained by Jane Burton, clocking the fastest time of the day in the process – 6min13sec.

    “It was a good race so going into it, I would have been happy with a top-three finish,” explained Lucy who, by day, works on a showing yard in Warwickshire. “I train ‘Earl’ from home and he has to work on his own, so I didn’t really know where he was in terms of fitness compared to other horses, so today was to see where we were at fitness-wise.”

    Lucy Burton an EARLSHILL Revesby Races, Sunday 7 November 2021 © 2021 Nico Morgan. All Rights Reserved

    Lucy Burton and Earlshill (right)

    Although there were only three runners in the mixed open, it was a super-hot race, with the likes of Cousin Pascal, Salvatore and Game As A Pheasant going head-to-head. Cousin Pascal came out the six-length victor under James King for trainer Joseph O’Shea and owner Mr PA Clifton, with Salvatore in second and Game As A Pheasant 11 lengths off the winner in third.

    Joseph O’Shea also trained Alfoski, the winner of the maiden under Henry Crow, for the same owner, while Manicman made it three wins from four starts for owner and trainer Annabelle Sowray in the intermediate under Joe Wright.

    The keen-running Feuille De Lune put in a smart performance under Alice Stevens to win the maiden conditions for trainer Kelly Morgan and The Snail Partnership, while Santos Blue came out on top in a sprint finish in the Flat race for four- and five-year-olds under James King for trainer Alan Hill, who also co-owns the four-year-old son of Blue Bresil with Nick Sutton.

    Off to a flying start

    Portman, Badbury Rings, Dorset

    Where's Wilma, Matt Hampton (1st) Conditions Race (Level 3)

    Where’s Wilma and Matt Hampton

    “It’s often all downhill from here, isn’t it?” joked Matt Hampton, who got his 2021/22 season off to a winning start on Where’s Wilma in the conditions (level three). The 11-year-old mare, who is trained by Michael M Watson and owned by The Not So Innocent Partnership continued where she left off last season with her winning ways – in fact, all five of her career wins to date have come under Matt.

    “Until I started riding her, she wasn’t really progressing for whatever reason, but she seems to be on a wave and has confidence at the moment – she’s quite hard to beat,” explained Matt. “We were a bit concerned about the ground being on the quicker side today, because she’s generally quite one-paced and staying is her forté and we were nearly last with a circuit to go and making mistakes – we were never the winners until the final part of the race and then she came alight. She’s a bit like an old steam train in that she takes a while to get going and if she was a boxer, she’d definitely be a 12-round fighter!”

    Matt was also a winning trainer on the day, thanks to the “hot-headed” Twig providing 16-year-old Beau Morgan with his third career victory, which came in the conditions (level two).

    “I gave Beau his first ride and first winner,” said Matt. “He’s a very bright lad and although he’s only had six rides so far, he gave Twig a patient and experienced ride.”

    Matt said that Twig, who is owned by Mrs G Morgan, is a “challenge”.

    “You need shin pads with this horse, knee pads and helmets around him and he didn’t have fantastic prep as he had little niggles and missed a bit of time with him,” he explained. “We were concerned that the race might come a little too soon, but despite him only being six, he’s a very professional type and is progressing all the time.”

    We owe it to… A freshen up

    Southfield Lily, Lorna Bradstock (1st) Maiden 4&5yo, 2m4f

    Southfield Lily and Lily Bradstock

    Southfield Lily’s record under Rules has been patchy, finishing 10th, seventh and sixth before refusing to race in all four of her starts so far. But a six-week freshen up team chasing and cross-country schooling has worked wonders and was the key to her winning the 2m4f maiden for four- and five-year-olds at the Portman meeting, as her jockey Lily Bradstock explained.

    “She’s very talented but quirky and when she refused to race at Newton Abbott on her last run, she had just had enough, with the start being a bit fiddly there,” explained Lily of the five-year-old by Yeats, who is trained by Lily’s mother, Sara, and owned by Angela Yeoman. “But going out and having some fun seems to have worked!”

    Lily also credits her relationship with this mare to their success between the flags.

    “I know her so well, having ridden her virtually every day since day one, so when she gets worried and then cross at the start, it helps that she knows I’m there.”

    Lily explained that proceedings en route to victory were pretty straightforward.

    “She’s a very strong mare and there’s no point in fighting her, so I just let her bowl along and the others never got to me – I think she’ll run once more in a point and then go back under Rules if all goes to plan. She has got plenty of talent so fingers crossed, she will be quite nice.”

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