A unique training regime, a gutsy mare and more from all the recent point-to-point action *H&H Plus*

  • A trainer with a relaxed regime reaps the rewards, while a teenage schoolgirl breaks her duck

    Streets Of London does it easily

    Aldington Races, Aldington, Kent

    A RELAXED training regime is proving successful for trainer Nigel Benstead, who landed the men’s open with seven-year-old gelding Streets Of London under Phil York.

    The consistent former Tim Underwood horse has now won eight, finished second twice and third twice from 13 starts.

    “He barely came out of a canter,” said Nigel. “Phil held him up like we’d planned and let the other two do the work. He tried to jump into the lead a few times, but Phil waited until the top of the hill and then said, ‘Go on then’ and he won by 10 lengths.”

    The gelding will now be aimed at a hunter chase at Fakenham.

    “He’s a lovely little horse and my 10-year-old granddaughter rides him,” said Nigel, who uses his local landscape to train his horses.

    “I’m situated at the foot of the South Downs, so they trot up to the top of the downs which is pretty hard going, then use the gallop in our sheep field, so they never just go up and down the gallops. It’s an easy way of training and they do get fit.”

    Also at Aldington, Tom Ellis and Gina Andrews scored a double when landing the ladies’ open with eight-year-old favourite, General Arrow, and the maiden with five-year-old Itsallintheclouds, who was making his pointing debut.

    Gutsy mare helps break duck

    Tangoed and D Kyne

    IRISH jockey Daniel Kyne broke his riding duck when heading the conditions at Aldington aboard eight-year-old mare Tangoed (pictured) for Rob Varnham.

    Daniel came over to England from Galway last year and works full-time for Warren Greatrex in the winter and then Charlie Hills during the summer.

    “Everything seemed to go to plan,” said Daniel of the race. “She is a bit ground dependent, but she jumped and travelled and everything was smooth.”

    Rob bought the mare nearly three years ago from Doncaster sales. “That’s her third win for us and she has also finished third in a hunter chase to Earth Leader, so she’s proving to be handy,” he said.

    “She’s a springtime horse and has to have top of the ground because she is about 15.2hh with tiny feet, but she’s a gutsy girl,” added Rob.

    Brace for Bradley

    Premier Magic

    Worcestershire, Chaddesley Corbett, Worcs

    EIGHT-YEAR-OLD Premier Magic came of age to give owner and trainer Bradley Gibbs not only his first entry, but also his first win in The Lady Dudley Cup (men’s open) for owner Claire Sherriff.

    “It’s one of the feature races of the season and my first-ever runner and ride in it,” said Bradley. “We ran him at Chaddesley at the start of the year, which he won, but he has shocked us how much he’s improved. He’s also won a hunter chase, so he’s really stepped up to the plate this year.”

    Bradley admits the horse has had some issues with his feet.

    “It’s taken us a while to learn how to train him,” added Bradley. “But he is turned out every day which has helped.”

    Bradley also landed the maiden conditions with six-year-old Post No Bills for Nathan and Carl Pyne and Roy Swinburne in only his second start.

    “He was third at Maisemore which benefited him,” said Bradley. “He’s big, burly and takes a lot of work. He jumped out handy and travelled the whole way.”

    Lily Bradstock won the Skinner’s ladies’ open with seasoned campaigner Southfield Theatre, his seventh win pointing.

    “There was a temptation to take him hunter chasing when pointing was off, but he doesn’t like soft ground, so he’s been ticking along and won at Higham,” said Lily. “He’s a sweetheart, but a lunatic to ride and does a lot of running sideways. My mum and I ride him at home, but it depends how strong we’re feeling.”

    No expletives required for winning jump debut

    Darren Edwards Swearer


    DARREN EDWARDS won the maiden 4&5yo at Flete Park, Devon, riding five-year-old gelding Swearer for Joe Tickle. It was the gelding’s first time over fences.

    “I’d never sat on him before, but Joe sent me some videos of him schooling so I had an idea about him,” said Darren. “There were four of us in the race and he’d had one run in a bumper which stood him in good stead comparative to the other three, who were all unraced, so it worked in our favour.

    “He’s not overbig, but he’s compact and everything is in the right place. He knew his job and was a bit racy at the start, so I dropped him out at the back and hunted around. He jumped well and quickened up at the end, which is all you can ask from a young horse.”

    “A very special day”

    Global Racing

    Holderness, Sheriff Hutton, Yorks

    JAMES COOKSON, who runs the Meldon Park Estate near Morpeth, celebrated his first win in three years when eight-year-old gelding Global Racing landed the mixed open under his daughter Natasha, who was enjoying her first riding win.

    “It was nice to be back in the winner’s enclosure, especially with my daughter on him,” said James, who bought the gelding at the Goffs August sale last year. “He’d been running in Ireland and is the easiest horse to look after. I wouldn’t normally have bought a 17hh horse for my 17-year-old daughter, but he’s a star and looks after her. He’s having a holiday now and he’ll come back next year. He’ll start off in points and then have a crack at a hunter chase.”

    It was only Natasha’s second race on him – they finished third in their first run together.

    “This is her second season race riding and after the race, we had to dash back and take her to school,” said James. “She has a year out coming up and is looking at racing opportunities abroad.”

    Also at Sheriff Hutton, Steve Wynne earned a double when winning the maiden 2m4f, with seven-year-old Global Anchor and the three-mile maiden with six-year-old gelding No Cruise Yet.

    King takes two

    Bicester with Whaddon Chase, Edgcote, Northants

    JOCKEY James King also enjoyed a double with trainer Jason Warner, starting with a win in the Jockey Club for mares and fillies division two, riding seven-year-old Edabean.

    “I rode her for the first time at Barbury, but thought she’d be better going right-handed,” said James. “I dropped her in, crept away and she won well. She’s only 15.2hh, so very light framed and likes top of the ground.”

    His second win came in the restricted division two aboard the seven-year-old Ahead Of The Game.

    “I watched his replays and the jockeys always seemed to bounce him out, but he looked like he was a bit keen and gassy in front and didn’t jump as well. So I dropped him in, got him jumping and settled and he bolted up on the bridle, so it seems to work,” said James. “He’s well related to some good horses, so hopefully he’ll keep progressing.”

    Worcestershire-based trainer Hannah Lewis scored a double when landing the Jockey Club maiden for mares and fillies division one with six-year-old Lady Trifaldi on her first time out and was ridden by Tom Broughton. This was followed by taking the conditions with 10-year-old mare Grageelagh Girl under Vicky Sollitt.

    “She’s new this season and we didn’t know much about her,” said Hannah of Nigel Lilley and Bob Haycock’s Lady Trifaldi. “She is the perfect racehorse to train at home so we were hopeful. Tom gave her a great ride and did everything I asked him.”

    Grageelagh Girl is a schoolmaster, who has been bought to give the up-and-coming jockeys experience.

    “She’s come from Fergal O’Brien and is very consistent,” said Hannah. “If I need her at the end of the season to get my 100th win, I might steal her.”

    This report can also be read in this week’s Horse & Hound magazine, on sale Thursday 29 April

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