Gingell the latest in a generation of racing enthuiasts
It's been a memorable week for young Freddie Gingell, whose grandfather is Colin Tizzard. The lad only turned 16 shortly before Christmas, and the Tizzards have wasted no time in legging him up on a winner.
At Larkhill over New Year, he looked all set to enjoy a winning debut only to find another first season rider in Olive Nicholls with a little more speed at the last on the Will Biddick-trained Monsieur Gibraltar. However, it only took a fortnight before Molineaux was able to set things right with an unchallenged victory at Buckfastleigh in a Veterans race.
Last week however, will have had the youngster grinning like a Cheshire Cat all weekend long. West Approach, the less fancied of two in a match race at Wincanton, found a little of his rider's exuberance to outpoint Alcala from Paul Nicholls' yard, under Ben Bromley. Young Master Gingell bunked off school to ride, with the full support of his father, and it sounds likely he'll join him in their farming enterprise come the end of school in May.
The good news week continued at Larkhill on Sunday when Molineaux followed up again, working rather harder for a 1 1/4l victory over Fan Club Aulmes in the opening Novice Riders' race.
The Gingell story, however, is tinged with sadness. Freddie's mother Kim, succumbed to cancer two years ago, as he relayed in an emotional interview on course. Gingell is, of course, a name well recognized in Pointing circles, as the family has been responsible for preparing Cottenham Racecourse for its annual 3 fixtures until this season.
Leaving Freddie's triumph aside, those who enjoy watching hunter chases have reason to be concerned at the lack of support for these races. In the three run since Thursday, a total of just 11 runners have made it to the starting gate. It seems more owners and handlers prefer to run at Point-to-Point racecourses, which is commendable. However, racecourses are commercial animals nowadays; however sentimental they may feel about a spectacular trophy donated by yesterday's aristocracy 70 or more years ago, without 8 runners in a field, they are penalized financially and will replace these races with something else.
One four runner race that suited well was at St Moritz yesterday, where Milton Harris' stellar season continued with the victory of Mordred in the Grosser Preis Longines on the snow. The vagaries of running a fixture on a frozen lake manifested themselves in shortened distances for the races, as there was water pushing up around the finish area. That didn't trouble 6 year old Mordred, who used the lack of starting gate (for the same reasons) to his advantage to make all, just holding on in this SF 20,000 prize.
There are two further Sundays of racing at St Moritz - well worth a visit for sheer entertainment value.