‘The penny has just dropped’: horse who has recovered from ‘very strange’ throat abscess enjoys success

  • One yard sends out three winners, while a couple of jockeys enjoy their first victories between the Flags – read the full report from the Berwickshire Point-to-Point, which took place at Friars Hough yesterday (13 February)

    The Coward string were in commanding form to score a hat-trick at the sole point-to-point fixture left standing, after waterlogged ground forced the cancellation of Buckfastleigh and Howick.

    The yard kicked off with a quick-fire double in the opening two maidens, and closed the card with victory in the restricted.

    Tom Cody, named after the famous huntsman, set the ball rolling with a comfortable win under John Dawson in the 4,5&6yo maiden (pictured above).

    “He’s a really lovely horse – he’s taken a long time to come into himself and the penny has just dropped,” said Jacqueline Coward.

    The six-year-old, by Morozov, recently underwent wind surgery for a “very strange” abscess in his throat, which has made a “massive difference”.

    “Owner Ian Wilson has had real patience with this horse,” Jacqueline added. “It’s not that he’s had lots of setbacks, he just needed time to mature. Thankfully, it’s come together at last.”

    Jockey Jack Power enjoyed his first win, in the 6yo&up maiden, aboard with the eight-year-old Ballydonagh Boy.

    “Jack has ridden him all the time for me. You’ve just got to give these young lads a [chance] – he’s always been placed and today was his day,” said Jacqueline.“I’m delighted for Jack, he had a massive grin on his face.

    “[Ballydonagh Boy] is a bit buzzy, but he is what he is. You just get on and go with it – you don’t mess about. He’s a little bit quirky, but he’s not nasty and there’s no badness in him at all. He’s a great jumper. I think it probably helps that Jack now knows him, he’s got a bit of confidence in him.”

    BALLYDONAGH BOY and Jack Power win the Maiden at Berwickshire Hunt Point-To-Point , Friars Haugh Kelso 13/2/22 Photo by Marcia Thompson -GROSSICK RACING The Steadings Rockhallhead Collin DG1 4JW 07710461723 www.grossick.co.uk JOHN GROSSICK

    Ballydonagh Boy and Jack Power

    The yard also scooped third place with Direct Drilling (John Dawson), who was “just pipped” to second by Gentleman Sam and Joe Wright.

    Cool Desire, owned by John and Jenny Nellis, completed the treble, again with John in the saddle, in a finish that went to the judge.

    “It was a hot race”

    The Jessica McKie-trained Rio Des Echanault continued his unbeaten streak, with his second win from two starts this year, after ending the 2020/1 season with his triumphant run in the Buccleuch Cup at Kelso.

    “You never know with him what mood he is going to be in!” said Jessica. “He’s a horse that needs a lead. It was quite a hot race for him and he’s still quite young and naive. He’s won enough, but he wouldn’t be that switched on in his races yet, [in terms of] a faster pace, surrounded by other horses and mud getting chucked in his face.”

    She added the plan was to “hunt away” to the outside of the track “on a bit of fresh ground”, and it was his “immaculate” jumping performance under the guidance of jockey Nick Orpwood that sealed the win.

    A varied routine, including plenty of hill meets with the College Valley and North Northumberland, has proved key to this intelligent soul who loves his racing.

    “He’s so quirky,” she said. “I wouldn’t ever take him to an all-weather gallop to work – I’d have to get off and push. I take him hunting a lot, he goes to the beach quite a bit and we ride him around the farm with the dogs.

    “You have to play his mind a little bit. He only works once a week so that he doesn’t get fed up with it, if he schools he only ever goes up once over the fences. But we know him now and we are in a routine with him.”

    Sisters Lucy and Emma Brown paired up to win the owner-trainer conditions race with Alone No More. The “buzzy” 10-year-old gelding’s victory marked Emma’s first triumph as a trainer.

    “[We tried him] front running for the first time and he seems to enjoy that. I was very lucky to ride him as my sister does all the work,” said Lucy, adding it is a “real family effort”.

    “I went down the outside to try and get the better ground, he jumps really well and enjoys it,” Lucy added.

    The conditions (level two) was won by the 13-year-old Towerburn (Ryan Nichol), for trainer Alison Hamilton.

    First win – “He looked after me today”

    OSCAR WILDE and Amy Coltherd win the Ladies Open on her first ride at Berwickshire Hunt Point-To-Point , Friars Haugh Kelso 13/2/22 Photo by Marcia Thompson -GROSSICK RACING The Steadings Rockhallhead Collin DG1 4JW 07710461723 www.grossick.co.uk JOHN GROSSICK

    Amy Coltherd and Oscar Wilde

    Amy Coltherd made a winning debut aboard father Stuart’s “gentle giant” Oscar Wilde, who had been on the verge of a career change before rediscovering his love of the game.

    The eight-year-old gelding came within a breath of retiring and being retrained as a riding horse, but rediscovered his sparkle after a wind operation. The timing matched perfectly with Amy’s decision to give pointing “a shot”

    “I suppose it’s always been in the back of my mind that I’ve wanted to do it, but I’ve never really had the confidence,” said Amy, thanking all those who have helped her. “I’m 24 now; it’s taken me a while to get there. But you only live once, so you may as well enjoy life, do what you can with it and give it a go.

    “My brother [professional jockey] Sam gave me some advice and I tried to follow that the best I could.

    “He’s ridden him before in races and said he’s a good jumper, to trust his jumping, remember to breathe and to have fun. The horse was amazing, I felt like a passenger – he looked after me today and I can’t fault him.”

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