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  • Writer's pictureIzzie Marshall

Start Royal Brings Career Win Total to 28!

After a long day and late night at the Dingley evening meeting the team set off at 8am on Sunday 10th June and made a start to their seven hour round trip to Bratton Down. With a 100% strike rate at the course this season we were looking forward to a good day and hopefully a victory!

First to run was maiden Breakdown Cover under Jack Andrews. True to character the gelding managed to lose a shoe going down to the start but the team on course were fantastic, efficiently replacing it and holding the start for 20 minutes; big thanks to everyone who helped and farrier Gordon Edwards. Once the starter could eventually drop his flag Jack gave the horse a great ride, holding him up and getting him jumping and travelling allowing his confidence to continue to grow. Jack produced the gelding into the race on the second circuit and he looked all over the winner over the final five fences. Unfortunately, due to his new found confidence, the horse slightly picked up too soon at the penultimate fence, hitting it hard on landing with Jack doing well to stay in the saddle. Breakdown Cover finished the race and ran well to gain 2nd which is a great improvement looking back to the start of the season. We have slowly but surely made progress with this maiden over the season, with confidence and completions increasing on every outing. He may now go into Lawney's yard to go summer hurdling!

Our other runner of the day was veteran Start Royal in the ladies open. In the saddle was his favourite jockey Izzie Marshall, who, as ever, was excited to get racing on her favourite pony! The 14 year old was carrying a 7lb penalty but still jumped off 2nd favourite. Due to the Devon racecourse being of a short layout, instructions were to pop out and gallop as Ferdy (Start Royal) will stay. Izzie did exactly that and the horse jumped from fence to fence, travelling brilliantly. The fast pace held off stiff competition for the first circuit and heading away from the crowd he quickened, fighting off two contenders. Coming to the third last the favourite, who was four years younger and carrying 5lb less, took up the lead and was two lengths clear at the last. Ferdy looked beaten halfway up the grueling two furlong inclined run in, but being the battler he is, he dug deeper and found again to go and win the race by seven lengths! An astounding performance from the veteran who has the heart of a lion. Again he proved what an amazing, game and genuine 14 year old he is, who doesn't understand a race when his ears don't finish first! This was his 28th career win, all of which trained by Alan. He has been racing for 10 years and has won at least one race every season. A true gent and complete servant to the Hill team, providing almost 10% of Alan's 300 winners! He owes us nothing yet we owe him everything, and he definitely manages to remind us who is in charge by carting Big Al most mornings! He is now already enjoying a relaxing summer in the field before some autumn hunting and next season commences!

Start Royal crossing his legs for luck at Higham earlier this season

Ferdy makes the Horse & Hound! Not sure he'd appreciate the adjective 'lunatic'!

Happy connections on the winner's enclosure!

"Ferdy is my stable star! Like always he gave me 100% from start to finish. We set a good gallop and benefited from the extremely tight bends due to his nimble nature! We led until three out when the favourite headed us but Ferdy was so brave and took advantage of the other horse idling on the run in and galloped on to the winning line! I just love every second of riding and am so lucky to have the opportunity to! Izzie Marshall

This was a brilliant end to a busy weekend, and after a slightly deflating day previously at Dingley it was great to see two horses perform so well in their own ways. Records show that there has been only one weekend since February that the Woodway team have sent horses to the races and come back without a winner; a pretty impressive statistic. This weekend see's the season finale at Umberliegh. We have 4 horses entered but the boss is keeping the cards close to his chest when deciding who will run. Fingers crossed for a fun, successful and safe finishing to the season. Hope to see many of you there!

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