‘She stood there and was an absolute saint’: ‘Snail’ defies horsebox drama to cruise to victory

  • Point-to-point highlights from three of the the six meetings that took place over the weekend (5–6 March).

    Kelly Morgan defied the odds after the wheels fell off her horsebox, while Brocklesby celebrates its 200th anniversary.

    Yorkshire Jockeys Club, Charm Park, N Yorks

    Feuille De Lune put a dramatic journey behind her to maintain her 100% strike-rate for trainer Kelly Morgan.

    The seven-year-old mare, affectionately known as “Snail”, extended her unbeaten run on British soil to four wins from four starts with glory in the PPORA club members level three conditions race under regular jockey Alice Stevens.

    But making it safely to Charm Park – and home again – was the most important victory of the day, after a frightening incident on the A1 where wheels came off the horsebox.

    Thankfully, Kelly managed to bring the vehicle to a stop on the hard shoulder and nobody was hurt.

    “We were very lucky it was a Sunday morning,” said Kelly. “There wasn’t even a single bit of sweat on [the mare]. Not even a kick or anything. She stood there and was an absolute saint.”

    Kelly called a nearby friend, who was “like a knight in shining armour” – leaving his fresh bacon sandwich to come to the horses’ rescue. The police shut the A1 while Snail and her companion pony, Ernie, were transferred between horseboxes and all went safely on their way.

    “I was rather flustered; we turned up, saddled her, took her into the paddock and won the race – it was all a bit like, ‘How’s that all just happened?’” she said, adding the race itself went well, with a change of tactics in favour of the mare’s education.

    “The plan is to go to Cheltenham for the intermediate final, so today we felt we got to try and educate her a little bit more. Alice sat her in third down the rail, just to try and actually get her used to the hustle and bustle of a race, because it’s all right riding them from the front, but it’s a very hard way to do it. So I just wanted to see whether she would just relax in among them, which she did, and then just turn the taps on with one circuit to go.”

    This was the first meeting hosted by the Yorkshire Jockeys Club, run in aid of the Injured Jockeys Fund and Racing Welfare.

    Point The Way was the class winner of the men’s open (see below) under Joe Wright.

    Joe capped his day with a win for a second set of long-standing supporters, taking top honours in division two of the maiden 5yo&up on the Gold and Silver Club’s Socialiser, for Courtney Tinkler.

    “He’s really exciting,” said Joe, of the big-framed six-year-old. “I think the target for him will be the Buccleuch Cup at Kelso in four weeks’ time. He just keeps galloping. If you can win a maiden round Charm Park like he did today, you’re doing all right. He wasn’t stopping at the finish either. The Buccleuch Cup is 3m2f, so it should be right up his street.”

    Brocklesby celebrates

    Race 4 Owner/Trainer Conditions, Winner Rossderrin (Ire)

    Rosie Howarth and Rossderrin

    Brocklesby, Brocklesby Park, Lincs

    Rosie Howarth opened Brocklesby’s 200th anniversary card with the first of a brace of wins, taking the hunt members aboard Laurence Kirkby’s Royal Chant, trained by Cherry Coward.

    “I’ve been helping Jacqueline [Coward] out a bit and riding him at home,” said Rosie, adding the Cowards have been “brilliant” in their support and giving her rides.

    “He would normally hate soft ground, so with there only being three runners I hacked round and got him home. He jumped lovely and did the job,” she said. “He has been in the game long enough; he is a legend and it is an absolute pleasure to ride him.”

    Rosie helps out at the Cowards’ a couple of mornings, which she balances with working on the dairy farm at home and training her two pointers. It was with one of this pair, Rossderrin, that Rosie claimed her second victory of the day in the owner/trainer conditions (level three).

    “I popped him round and just kicked on for home, and he did it nicely,” she said.

    “My two horses don’t really see gallops, because of time; they go round the fields and on the beach – I’m only 40 minutes from Scarborough.”

    Gina Andrews bagged a double for husband, trainer Tom Ellis, on another successful weekend for the yard. The eight-time ladies champion claimed her first trophy of the weekend with Shona Westrope’s ever-consistent Kalabaloo, doubling up with a win on the four-year-old Kap D’Attente, who was making her racecourse debut in the mares and fillies maiden.

    Tom Chatfeild-Roberts and the Kelly Morgan-trained Smoke Man enjoyed their second win this season in the PPORA, Midlands and Yorkshire area conditions (level two).

    “He’s a bit of a grumpy boy at home, but he’s a favourite of mine,” said Kelly, who rides him every day at home.

    “Tom gave him a fantastic ride and he’s done it nicely enough. He idled a little bit up the run-in, but those were probably the most testing conditions he’s ever run on.”

    An exciting future

    Salt Rock, James King (1st) Maiden 4&5yo, 2m4f

    Salt Rock and James King

    Blackmore & Sparkford Vale, Charlton Horethorne, Somerset

    Salt Rock penned his name as one to watch with a convincing win on his first ever start in the 4&5yo maiden.

    The four-year-old from Fran and Charlie Poste’s Station Yard nursery, bred by the late Robert Chugg, will now head to Tattersalls Cheltenham sales.

    “He did what we thought he would do,” said jockey James King. “The ground was testing, he galloped, he jumped and he won by about [15] lengths going away, so hopefully he’s got an exciting future and he’s by a fashionable sire in Soldier Of Fortune.”

    Three jockeys dominated the silverware, with James, Will Biddick and Freddie Gingell each riding doubles.

    James’s second win of the day, and his third of the weekend, came aboard the Luke Price-trained, quirky eight-year-old Rose Iland, with a poignant victory in the restricted.

    “She’s a horse I’ve ridden quite a few times now,” said James, who also piloted the mare for her previous connections before she changed hands. “I won a maiden on her at Chaddesley Corbett [in May 2021], and she’s followed that today. It was also the first winner in the colours of Jason Warner since he sadly passed away in the autumn. He was my uncle and a very good friend, so it really meant an awful lot.”

    Will Biddick and trainer Christopher Barber scooped a quick-fire double, winning the maiden with Knockmoylan, followed by the mixed open with the favourite Famous Clermont. Freddie Gingell took home his brace with Rose Of Arcadia in the hunt members and Molineaux in the conditions (level two).

    ‘It worked out perfectly’

    Point The Way from Charm Park

    Point The Way and Joe Wright

    Point The Way caught the eye at Charm Park, crossing the line 30 lengths ahead of Sartorial Elegance and John Dawson in the men’s open, in preparation for his Cheltenham Festival hunters’ chase (formerly known as the Foxhunter) run.

    “He’s a horse who needs a couple of runs to get going and properly tuned-up, but he went round there with his head on his chest, so it all just worked out perfectly for him,” said jockey Joe Wright, crediting trainer Guy Brewer.

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