Another busy weekend arose as the end of the pointing season looms, but that didn't slow us down, with 6 runners over both days! It couldn't have kicked off any better either! Pytchley huntsman Dan Cherriman rode his own Stage One in the Peper Harow restricted on Saturday 12th May. With heavy rainfall over the late morning and heading into the afternoon the ground turned to good-to-soft with some soft patches, suiting the horse for the seven runner race in which he jumped off 6/4 favourite. Dan jumped the gelding off to sit in and track the leaders, allowing the horse to travel well and get into a rhythm. He did hit a flat spot over the last ditch, which is normal for the horse, but the longer course allowed him to run on again and go away to win by 10 lengths! It was a brilliant performance from both horse and jockey and great for Dan to score a victory in front of a home crowd! This was Dan's second win and first for the yard, so celebrations were most definitely enjoyed and it was great that Dan's heavily pregnant sister was able to witness the win, amongst other family members! The trainer was also thrilled for the horse to finally win his restricted after a season of meeting challenging opponents! We're hoping for another run for the horse before the end of the season and a long summer break.
The other Woodway representative was According To Trev in the Conditions race under Izzie Marshall. The horse has had an afflicted season with either the ground or his wind not being quite right, and then getting squeezed out on a previous run! However, he's a game horse who won't carry that with him and the main aim of the race was for Izzie to get him jumping and confident. Despite the wetter ground, now soft (typically!), not in his favour, Izzie rode quietly and achieved the goal, with Trev jumping the best he has all season! They crept away, with Izzie producing the gelding over the last four fences, getting a great run to just be beaten by Gina Ellis on a handy horse by 4 lengths. Alan was delighted to see the horse so happy and it was his best run of the season! This placing meant Izzie scored the points needed to joint-win the Ladies South East Area Championship this season, which is a great success!
The following day we went to our local course Kingston Blount for the Kimblewick Hunt meeting with four runners and hope for some success! First to run was Breakdown Cover in the five runner restricted race as there was no old horse maiden. Gina Ellis was on board and followed the trainer's instructions to a T; hold up out the back, staying out of trouble and regain confidence following his promising run at Horseheath last time out. The gelding also wore blinkers which helped him focus and concentrate on his jumping. He ran very well and crept into the race coming down the hill the final time, and looked in with a chance until his made a bad mistake 3 out, putting him out of contention but running on to finish 3rd; a great improvement. It was pleasing to see the horse run much better and we will look for a maiden for him.
Hawkhurst was our contender in the Conditions race and looking for a characteristic victory following his defeat at the previous Kingston Blount meeting. It was a four runner race with useful rival Tempelpirate declared, but Hawk jumped off odds on favourite and this time the ground was in his favour, as well as Gina Ellis being on board. We employed a change in tactics which were definitely favourable and the horse put in a classy performance, always looking the winner and a great display of jumping, to score the victory! This brings the tally against Tempelpirate to 2-1 to Hawkhurst - but hey, who's counting?! We were just thrilled to see the little horse back to his best!
"Hawkhurst was a fairly uncomplicated ride; he jumps and travels brilliantly giving me a great ride and it was brilliant to score the win!" Gina Ellis
The yard representative in the Ladies Open was veteran Start Royal, up against it with a 7lb penalty against two much younger rivals. However, this didn't stop Izzie Marshall from riding a great race and the 14 year old gelding will always run his heart out! He ran to the top of his game, taking up the lead until 2 out to finish a creditable 3rd, giving away 7lbs and 12lbs respectively. Izzie had a great spin and we couldn't be happier with the gallant little horse!
Our final runner of the meeting was 15 year old Consigliere in the Hunt race, which unfortunately was a walkover. The most upset about this was the gelding himself, who was very excited to run before being led back into the winner's enclosure not having left the ground! Overall it was again another successful weekend, with all horses running solid, good and fair races, a none out of the first 3; an incredible training achievement. We have a busy week ahead (as always!) but this weather and results like these make the day job much easier!