A Double of Doubles and a Charity Win!
Last weekend saw the second meeting of the season at local (and favourable) racecourse Kingston Blount, and a successful one it was. We also attended the annual West Norfolk point-to-point at Fakenham racecourse on Sunday and achieved a 100% success rate with our two runners. The Woodway team also scored a very special victory in the Old & Bold Scurry with Lawney giving Ravethebrave a ride to be proud of!
Our first runner of the weekend was Changeofluck who we knew would favour the better ground that the owners have so patiently been waiting for. With Gina Andrews on board we were hopeful of a good run and a result to reflect this. The gelding showed great improvement in his ease in travelling during the race as well as his jumping; the better ground allowing him to bounce. In the closing stages he had the upper hand when his challenger fell at the final fence, leaving him the easy winner by an extending 8 lengths. It was great to see the little horse back to his best and winning again, and for the local owners to have a winner on "home ground".
Our next runner was well backed According To Trev in an average conditions race, with Sam Burton as pilot. As they ran off the hill approaching the fifth fence Sam made a move to get back into the race up the inner, unfortunately getting squeezed out in the process. This has left an unfair R in the genuine horses form but these things happen and we will look for another race for Trev soon.
Useful and creditable gelding Hawkhurst was next to run in the novice riders, again with Sam Burton on. Jumping off as favourite, Hawk was ready to battle Tempelpirate in their rematch following his victory at Barbury. The ground proved a little too firm for our horse and despite a gallant display the form was reversed, with our competitor coming out on top this time (recording his 9th course win) and Hawk finishing an imposing second by two lengths. This was disappointing but we were delighted with the bravery shown by the little horse and the positive ride given by Sam. He hasn't been out of the first two finishers out of his six runs this season!
The feature race of the day was the Southern Grand National Mixed Open over a 4m distance, in which we had two runners. Veteran and yard favourite Start Royal ran a great race with Izzie Marshall on board. The gelding jumped superbly, and despite being a little outpaced coming off the hill last time, Izzie gave a determined ride to get a great run out of the horse to finish a fast 3rd. Yet again this little horse gave his all on the course and Izzie came back beaming! Our other runner was Supreme Danehill, who has experienced a far from ideal season, but looked and ran back to his best to take the win! Gina made all the running on him, getting him into a favourable rhythm and jumping sublimely. The horse displayed a resolute performance to keep finding and take the victory by a good 10 lengths. It was great to see that the small niggles from the season have been resolved, with great help from our physio Amy O'Connor, and the horse is back to his best.
Our penultimate runner on the card was maiden Breakdown Cover with Archie Wright on. Archie popped the gelding out to get him jumping in a rhythm and rebuild his confidence. Unfortunately he got badly hampered approaching take off at the ditch first time round, leaving him nowhere to go and unseating Archie. Disappointing but he is fine and entered to run this weekend.
Stage One ran in the competitive restricted under owner Dan Cherriman in which they went a good gallop. Dan did well to always have the horse handy, and the gelding put in a resolute performance to gain third place. Dan had to work hard for a majority of the race, cajoling the horse to the finish. This was a pleasing run and we will look for another restricted soon.
There were two charity races following the point-to-point races on Saturday which were great fun and awesome to raise some money for the Injured Jockeys Fund! The first race was won by great friend Tommy Quesnel on her homebred Miss Independence; well done Tommy! We had a runner in the Old & Bold scurry with Lawney on board. Ravethebrave put on a spectacular display, leading from start to finish, to win in style! Lawney loved being back in the saddle and all competitors managed to raise a total of £2,000 for the charity; a mammoth effort! Well done to all competitors and organisers for a hugely successful and entertaining evening!
Click here to read the official Kingston Blount point-to-point report.
On Sunday we ventured to Fakenham with two runners at the point-to-point meeting. First to run was significant open horse Broken Eagle in the five runner Mens. This was Archie Wright's first time riding the horse in public and it was a cracking race. The gelding appeared a little race rusty over the first circuit following his heavy fall when brought down on his last outing. However, he regained his confidence during the race and warmed up nicely, to display a fluent run in the final circuit stretching away and jumping brilliantly, to win by an easy 15 lengths with great skill. It was great to see Eagle back in the winners enclosure and to give Archie a win!
Our final runner of the weekend was Sedgemoor Express in the three runner Ladies Open under Izzie Marshall. The horse was much sharper for his run at Kimble, taking a keen hold, but Izzie settled him in front and got him jumping. He was clever at the couple fences he met wrong, and was pushed to win comfortably. It was great to see this little horse back to his winning ways in only his second run back from a long time off due to injury. He has now qualified for the Skinner's Ladies Open Final at Stratford so that is our aim for him.
Overall it was a very successful weekend with four winners from nine runners, bringing it to 20 winners this season and a winning strike rate of 27%. We have a busy weekend ahead of us and looking forward to it!