There was a noticeable Noah’s Ark theme to racing last week, when certain trainers celebrated successes two by two.
Recording the first ever double at her local track since taking out a trainer’s licence in 2008, Rachel Hobbs from Hanley Swan was delighted to see Benny’s Quest driven clear by Peter Carberry in the handicap chase at Pitchcroft on Tuesday. This was followed half an hour later by Donal Fahy on Faith Jicaro in the mare’s maiden hurdle who won by 8 lengths at 9/1. It was the jockey’s first winner since breaking his back last season. Fahy was still coming down to earth having returned to the UK that morning fresh from winning the Mongol Derby, the world’s longest and toughest horse race featuring 35 riders and 25 horse stations. The gruelling test included spending 14 hours a day in the saddle riding semi-wild horses and ponies over 1,000 km of challenging Mongolian landscape alongside fellow jockey, Richie Killoran.
Trainer Brian Ellison made the 176 mile journey from Malton in north Yorkshire worth while when both mares he sent triumphed in their respective races. Floral Patches, formerly trained by Anthony Honeyball, won the novice hurdle. She was ridden by amateur jockey, Harriet Bethell who was having her first ride at the course. Ellison’s other runner, Dream Risk was a well backed favourite for the conditional jockeys handicap hurdle. The horse was unperturbed by the fracas at the start when Lawney Hills’ Overlay took a dislike to the idea of racing, gave jockey Tom Cannon no chance of staying on and bolted round the course, tack flying in all directions.
Allerford Jack, trained by Richard Woollacott recorded his second win at the course in as many months, having also scored at Uttoxeter and Stratford in between. Former Worcester winners in August 2011, Red Not Blue trained by Simon Earle and Papradon trained by Nigel Twiston-Davies both managed to get their noses in front at the course again. Red Not Blue was ridden by champion Jockey, AP McCoy as regular rider, Andrew Thornton is currently on the injury list and Papradon was following up a recent Stratford win.
Another local trainer enjoying a double at Stratford in the week was Ian Williams. Tyrana who has been a tricky mare to win with, came right on the day in the novice handicap hurdle, followed by Bittersweetheart ridden by Dougie Costello in the concluding bumper.
The evening meetings are now behind us and the autumn is fast approaching. The nights drawing in and the heavy morning dews indicate one thing. The winter national hunt season is on its way.
The first race at Pitchcroft today is due at 2.20pm and the gates open from 12.20pm.