Sunday 2nd December saw the opening meeting of the Cambridgeshire course Cottenham for the new season; a favourite of ours where we have been fortunate to enjoy many a success over the years! The team took two runners; one seasoned pro and one maiden with no point-to-point form. First to run was 11 year old Sharp Suit in the Ladies Open under Gina Andrews. The gelding has come back in training this season feeling better than ever and hungry for a win! Gina jumped him out to make all from the start; he jumped brilliantly and was sharp and nimble around the bends, maintaining the lead with ease. On the final circuit it was fitness that came into play, with the favourite Net d'Ecosse handling the course with a little less fluency than our runner, allowing the champion jockey on board to take full advantage and score an eight length victory! Sharp Suit enjoys the course and on his seventh run there, on ground that suited him, he backed up his form recording his 5th win there over 5 years. It was great to score a win early in the season for loyal and long-time owner Rodney Mann, who has supported Alan and Lawney for over 30 years. This was also Gina's 200th point-to-point win which is a huge success and we were very happy that she hit this well deserved milestone on one of our horses! Well done Gina, and here's to the next 200!
Our next runner of the day was maiden Captiva Island. This horse came to the yard from Olly Murphy with no victories on his record and we thought he would suit the step down. The 5 year old jumped off as 2/5 fav in the 4 runner maiden, and jockey Jack Andrews was given the instructions to drop in and get him traveling, focusing on his confidence. Jack executed this perfectly, encouraging the gelding to jump brilliantly and cruise to the leaders approaching the penultimate fence, before giving him a squeeze to go on and win the race by six lengths hard-held! This was a fantastic result and the team were very excited to see the young horse finish in front. Again, it was great to score a win for enthusiastic owner Ian Cobbald! This double brought Big Al's Cottenham strike rate to 46%! An amazing achievement!
Another very successful day that we never take for granted, maintaining our 100% strike rate for the new season! As well as luck, our success is most definitely due to our hard working team and their attention to detail, Alan's constant efforts striving for perfection and focus on fitness and schooling, as well as each horse's individual needs, our loyal and patient owners and having some of the best jockeys in the country on board. It's a team effort and fingers crossed it continues!
A Word From The Assistant Trainer
"Another great weekend pointing at Cottenham. Great to see Sharp Suit back to his best after a slighting disappointing season last year. He was given a very positive ride by Gina Andrews and his course knowledge was a big advantage. It was also fantastic to have a first time out maiden winner with Captiva Island. He is a horse that the whole team has like since we bought him in the summer. His home work had been very good and we were hopeful, to which he delivered! His jumping was faultless and he travelled like a good horse, so hopefully he could be a young horse to go through the grades as he's only five and will improve greatly from an early success! Brilliant to have three wins from three runners so far this season...roll on 2019!"