HACKWOOD PARK’S OPENER FOR THE HAMPSHIRE HUNT

Six races fronted by two hunt charity spins around the left handed track tested the soft ground that was soaked with a morning downpour on the Hampshire racecourse that caused difficulty for racegoers and participants getting into the course let alone departing at the end of the day.

Good sized fields in most of the races made for some interesting racing, markers being given to connections on where to plan their Springtime racing campaigns, and stories to be told throughout the warmer months ahead of winners ridden and trained.

And that could not have been more apparent for young eighteen-year-old jockey Sam lee, arriving at the course a smidgen late due to traffic congestion for the liking of trainer Fred Hutsby steered home the eight-year-old Downbythestrand by fifteen lengths from the Oz Wedmore ridden Tommo in the two miles four furlongs Farmtech Supplies Restricted.

‘This horse disappointed us a little last year to be fair,’ mentioned the trainer. ‘He shows well at home, I mentioned to Sam to drop him out and gradually bring him into the race. I though Sam may have given him a bit too much to do to be fair, but all credit to the horse and the jockey they have pulled it out of the bag well.’

When asked the horse, who was happier on the better ground of the day to take his race, he went on well. Not long having a wind operation has helped the Vertical Speed gelding whose only question to be answered now for his trainer Fred Hutsby is whether he gets the three miles or not.

The jockey now on his fourth winner of the season, six winners in total and on his third year riding, the trainer quoted would be one to watch in the future.

‘I’m so grateful to Fred and his owners who show trust in me to put me up on winners, this is all I want to do really, riding pointers and keep getting the winners,’ and fair reward for the young lad who was up at the crack of dawn to milk 100 head of cattle on the family’s dairy farm before setting off for the races.

The NFU Mutual Basingstoke ladies open caused an upset for the backers of favourites as the 6/4 fav Cut the Corner was taken on the line by another junior of the weighing room Ellie Trousdale on her mother’s thirteen-year-old Be Definite to claim her first winner on her maiden ride.

‘I didn’t watch how close the finish was thankfully from where I was standing,’ mention trainer Zoe Trousdale, the horse bought in especially for the job of giving the young eighteen-year-old experience,and showed his worth around the course that jockeys were coming in saying it was riding soft all the way around.

‘He was really ready to run around Christmas time, but he had a foot injury that put him out of action for a few weeks, Ellie fell off another horse and concussed herself, so things have had to be shelved a little but it’s all paid dividends today.’

The trainer who manages an estate also on her maiden season training mentioned she was living her dream, training the schoolmaster with seven other hunters, out hacking and hunting without the use of gallops.

Her daughter Ellie who rides out for Charlie Mann and Colin Tinkler mentioned, ‘ he has done all I have asked of him today, jumped well and I was able to drop him out a little  and bring him into the race when I have wanted to, Mum has got a bit excited about it all but she has put a lot of work into him over the past few months.’

The two miles four furlongs’ Open maiden for 4,5 and 6 year olds a qualifier for the Goff’s spring sales point to point races was taken by Pip Hooley’s five-year-old Tick Tock Ten beating the Tom Ellis trained Greta Rose by a distance.

The race with only three finishers from the nine going to post fell apart a little on the final circuit the trainer mentioning,’ He is still very much a green type of horse really, but he jumps well and kept on going well despite the race falling apart around him. We didn’t know what to expect really, my wife who is seventy had been riding and schooling him at home so we are over the moon.’

The horse bought in from Ireland was a task for the trainer at the beginning who mentioned the horse was very weak when they got him and his jumping was not very good.

‘We have been patient with him and given him the right sort of work and schooling, taking him in the school getting him jumping most days, thanks to Tom Simmons who allows us to use his schooling fences has allowed us to strengthen him up and become more confident in his jumping, but time is on our side we are in no rush.’

Jockey John Smith-Maxwell whose family has a long standing relationship with the trainer mentioned, ‘ his only challengers fell away from us and left us to get on with the race really, I was happy how he went away up the straight for me on his own which can only be a positive has he progresses out of his maidens, I’m grateful to John Chinn for putting me up, he puts a lot into pointing, without him the meeting the Garnons would not have gone ahead last weekend, so I’m please for him to get another win for him as we took the members at the Garnons with Frosty Heights.’

The conditions race was taken by the 4/1 shot family trained Well Mett, trained by Christine Banks and ridden by her daughter Josephine who both gave their absolute all to take the race by a length from Oz Wedmore on Henrietta Knights Ballypatrick.

‘He has all the form behind him, and has given it all out there in testing ground,’ mentioned the jockey concerned about her 10 year olds exhaustion. ‘he is okay but really tired after that so he’ll have the week off in the field chasing sheep and then back again, he is the type that doesn’t need much to get fit.’

A family concern with the jockey’s sister taking second in the final race of the day the open maiden showed just what these horses mean to their owners and trainers, the jockey and the trainer more concerned about the winner’s welfare than that of picking up the prize.

In a very tidy maiden open with the second placed horse taken care of, it was another pointing family the Marshalls who went into the frame.

Charlie Marshall on board Cynthia Woods’s Skiptothegoodbit was well clear at the last, a last fence blunder for the seven-year-old grey saw the jockey with both feet on the same side, the horse’s momentum managing to keeping the young jockey from losing his balance and to scramble back into the saddle.

‘I wasn’t really expecting her to be going so fast into the last fence, she very small 15hh at best, she got in close and managed to nearly unship me, I was lucky really I manged to keep with her and kick on after the last.’

The Fair Mix gelding bought by the trainer from Nick Pierce as an unbroken four-year-old, on breeding would be better on the firmer going and it was a surprise to the trainer all together she managed to get home.

‘I wasn’t sure if I would run her to be fair, but she is so ready to race we thought we had to get her out as we could have been in the same situation in a week’s time so thankfully we plumbed for today.

The geldings next trip should be in a few weeks’ time at Penhurst, the course and hopefully ground coming right and with a win under the belt should see this slight of a horse run well.

The Ward-Thomas Countryside Alliance Club members race for the veteran and novice riders was taken in awesome front running style by Martin Weston’s Awesome George, making most of the running in the three horse race the thirteen-year-old hardly put a foot wrong for stand in novice rider Camellia Cotton, who was riding in place for her friend and usual rider of the horse Laura Mahon who working at Cheltenham racecourse was told no injuries just before the big festival event.

‘I wasn’t going to ride this season but I was offered the ride on George and got my licence out for him. He told me today what he needed to do so I left him to it, we thought he might thrive in these novice rider’s races, the ground probably catching him out in the Open races previous, but today he has jumped and ran on really well.’

The jockeys third winner is racing secretary to Ben Pauling and mentioned that High Ridge her ride at home would be her fancy for the Supreme Novices.

The home bred horse for owner Mrs Gwen Meacham was delighted to see her horse come home, the owner mentioning that she has a half sister to the winner Awesome Rosie in training with Alan King.

The rain  though a threat managed to spare the fair sized Sunday crowed at the Hampshire track, we can only look forward to more racing at the course starting with the Vine and Craven meeting on the Bank  Holiday Monday 17th April

Copyright Hackwood Park Racecourse 2017.