Portman kicks off Wessex Pointing season at Badbury Rings
An excellent day’s racing took place at Badbury Rings on going described by jockeys as being the best ground that they have raced on at the Dorset course for many years and although the weather deteriorated as the meeting progressed this did not stop some impressive performances being registered. The highlights were the success of Time Leader in the Mixed Open and Another Furlough in the competitive Restricted race which marked a notable double for the Ryall family.
10 out of the 11 entries for the opening NFU Mutual Maiden race over the shorter trip faced the starter and with all of the leading stables represented it looked a strong race and as the field approached the last Will Biddick aboard the newcomer Machu Picchu had the lead but Freddie Mitchell riding Reine Des Tartes timed his challenge to perfection and draw two lengths clear at the line. Trained by Bradley Gibbs for owners TS Equine formerly Ratkatcha Racing, Bradley described this as a ‘brilliant ride’ by Freddie who rides out for him once a week. Freddie, who is based in Lambourn and rides out for Clive Cox described the filly as ‘she will only get better with her racing and gave me a great feel’. Both the winner and the runner-up will next be seen at the Tattersalls sale at Cheltenham on Friday.
Moratorium boasted the best form in the Greenhaven Landscapes Conditions race for Grass Roots Riders and so it turned out with his rider and trainer Myles Osborne steering his mount to a two lengths victory over It’s For Alan. Recording his third career victory Myles was delighted with the success saying that ‘good ground is essential for him’ and ‘he has to be produced at the last minute’ His parents Simon and Laksami missed the victory as they are away in Thailand but Myles was certain that they would be chuffed with his success. Based at Ben Pauling’s old yard at Bourton on the Water Myles hopes to have about 12 horses to run this season. Moratorium may take in a Hunter Chase or two in the spring.
Captain Woodie produced a bit of an upset in the Coane Construction Conditions race when beating the favourite Wagner ridden by James King. Owned and trained by Lewis Morgan based at Lambourn he was partnered by Charlie Marshall who was renewing his acquaintance with the gelding who he rode to victory at Kingston Blount last season. Lewis who works for Nicky Henderson and does the work with the gelding in his spare time did have a couple of rides on him last season but decided he should concentrate on the training as the priority.
The Savills Mixed Open race attracted a strong field of ten horses with the evergreen Southfield Theatre setting off in front with his usual enthusiasm under Lily Bradstock. However, as the field approached the final fences Huw Edwards riding Time Leader eased his way to the front and quickly drew away to record an easy ten lengths victory. Trained by Hannah Roach and watched by delighted part owners Miles and Caroline Kennerley from Sandbach, Cheshire he is likely to be aimed at the Aintree Foxhunters where he finished fifth last season. Paying their first ever visit to Badbury Miles and Caroline were complimentary about the course and the going which they described as similar to Stratford where the gelding recorded a facile victory last season.
The Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance Restricted race attracted the biggest field of the day when 13 horses set off in limited and murky visibility. There was a strong pace and with the going becoming testing very few managed to get home. Rob David anchored his mount Another Furlough at the rear and gradually moved forward and drew clear after to last to record an easy victory. Trained by Harry Ryall for the Empire Racing Partnership he was recording his second win at Badbury having won the Maiden race at the corresponding meeting last year. Harry was keen to state that this victory was dedicated to the memory of trainer David Brown who died earlier this month. Harry had started his introduction to racing with David and was very grateful for the help and support he received from him. In addition to this win there was further good news from his brother Tom who had just been appointed as the new Clerk of the Course at Wincanton having been the Clerk at Warwick and Nottingham.
The Hendy Jaguar Land Rover Maiden race provided compensation for trainer Max Comley whose Wagner had been beaten earlier when Jay Bee Whiskey ridden by James King recorded a seven lengths win over Horizon D’Ainay ridden by Toby McCain-Mitchell. Previously owned by James, he was sold at the end of last season to Kevin Crawford who sadly missed the win as he was away on holiday. Max currently has 30 horses in his yard at Naunton in Gloucestershire and explained that he had been very hopeful that this gelding would go well for his connections.