‘Star’ horse helps showjumper switch careers and a ‘terrible journey’ ends in success

  • Point-to-point highlights from both meetings that took place this weekend (28 November).

    A young horse contributes to the winning tally of a former showjumper, while a great campaigner provides a Geordie lad with his first victory

    Hursley Hambledon, Larkhill, Wilts

    TWENTY-YEAR-OLD Toby McCain-Mitchell continued to enjoy his fledgling career as a jockey when taking the restricted race aboard the five-year-old Slievegar (pictured top). Toby, who is part of the McCain racing dynasty, was originally a showjumper, but switched disciplines last year.

    “Toby worked for some good showjumping yards, but I couldn’t afford to buy him a good jumping horse,” explained his mother, Jo. “Then one day, he was in-between showjumping jobs, and found himself with a couple of weeks to spare, so I suggested that he try riding out some racehorses with us, and that was that – he’s stuck to racing ever since.”

    This win marked his second from seven rides, doing the job comfortably, coming home 15 lengths clear of his nearest rival.

    “This horse is an absolute star,” Jo commented of the son of Westerner that they were gifted from prolific point-to-point trainer Colin Bowe. “We were very lucky that Colin gave him to us – it’s not often you can send your kid out racing on a five-year-old, knowing he’s going to be as safe as houses, but Toby gave him a lovely ride, too.”

    Jo said that Toby works very hard and fits in riding his two pointers around his full-time job on their National Hunt yard.

    “It’s a joint effort between Toby and I – I do the mucking out and he will come and ride his two after he has ridden out five lots of Rules horses in the morning – he works very hard.”


    Knockaderry Flyer IMAGE P2P TIM HOLT COMM1USE

    Knockaderry Flyer

    THE 12-year-old Knockaderry Flyer won the 10-runner nine-year-old and up veteran horse conditions race comfortably by 10 lengths under Darren Andrews for trainer Max Comley and The Jump On Board Partnership.

    “That was probably the best race he’s ever run and Darren gave him a lovely ride,” Max said afterwards. “We popped him out and he galloped them into submission. We took his usual headgear off for his last run to give him an easier time, and then put the visor back on this time and it seems to have worked.”

    Max took up training after hanging up his boots three years ago and he now has 20 horses in training.

    “Knockaderry Flyer was the first horse I bought,” he explained. “I purchased him with inheritance money my grandfather left me – my sister used the money to get a maths degree, and I went and bought a horse!”

    Max has now set up a syndicate for this horse and he says there are “great people involved with him, who have enjoyed some great days out”, including three trips to Cheltenham so far.

    “He’s a horse I’ve learnt a lot about training with and he has really helped show me the way,” said Max.

    Olly Norse was first past the post in the four-year-old maiden race under Tommie O’Brien for trainer James Ridley and owner Mr Randall.

    “We have always thought a lot of Olly Norse, so it was a shame that he was one of only two in his race as we hoped some nicer horses would turn up to give us an indicator of how good he is,” said James. “But he got the job done nonetheless.”

    Local farmer Mr Randall first saw Olly Norse when he was three, in a Doncaster sales catalogue.

    “Olly was then withdrawn from the sale but Mr Randall spotted him for sale with his breeder on a racehorse website a couple of weeks later, so he went to go and look at him,” explains James. “Mr Randall then got him home, broke him in with the help of one of his workers and they took him hunting as a three-year-old, which probably explains why he is such a straightforward horse. Mr Randall sent him to me last season and we‘ve taken our time with him, which has paid off, and thankfully he wants to keep him in training with me, so hopefully there’s a lot to look forward to.”

    Victory despite a nightmare journey

    Border Hunt, Hexham, Northumberland


    Ryans Fancy

    IMMY ROBINSON and her mother Caroline put a “terrible journey” to Hexham behind them when teaming up to win the conditions (level two) with Ryans Fancy, whom Caroline co-owns with Robert Martin.

    “The snow on the M6 was a nightmare and then, to avoid queues on the roads towards Hexham, we had to go down lots of tiny lanes – it took us five hours to get here,” said Caroline. “I think the journey took more out of this horse than the race itself, where he barely blew.”

    Indeed, the seven-year-old son of Getaway took the race comfortably by seven lengths.

    “He ran a super race,” explained Caroline. “He hit the front two out and cruised home. He’s a very genuine and lovely horse. When I bought him from Doncaster sales a couple of years ago, I thought he looked like very good value, and he is certainly proving to be just that.

    Gina Andrews got her first winner of the season on the board when winning the 2m 4f maiden with Loughan, who is trained by her husband Tom Ellis, while Hawkhurst made it three from three this season when winning the ladies’ open under Izzie Marshall for Alan Hill.



    Game As A Pheasant

    NINETEEN-YEAR-OLD Ben Smoult notched his first winner between the flags aboard the great campaigned Game As A Pheasant in the mens’ open for trainer Cherry Coward and The Richard Morris Racing Club.

    “It was fantastic and a lovely race to watch,” said Cherry’s daughter Jacqueline afterwards. “After our original jockey had to step aside for a while, due to some nasty riding injuries, I was struggling to find someone to help us with the horses, so I put a post on Facebook. One of Ben’s friends saw it and told him he should contact me and I then gave him the job. Ben is a proper Geordie lad and drives 1hr 40mins to ride out for us four times a week – as long as he works hard, we will give him the riding opportunities. He still has a huge amount to learn, but he gave ‘John’ a lovely ride here.”

    Jacqueline describes 11-year-old John as a “brilliant type of horse”.

    “We can run him every other weekend and he will give 110% every time. He is a typical pointer as he’s not good enough to run under Rules but he loves his pointing and tries his hardest.”

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