Zig-a-zig-ah! (Belinda made me put that!) You’ll not be surprised to read that I was absolutely thrilled with Spice Girl’s win on her debut over hurdles yesterday at Towcester. Many of you will know that with poor Richard Johnson injured in the first race, I wasn’t quite at the track but received a call from the Clerk of the Scales at 1.05pm to confirm he’d been stood down and I needed to find another jockey. The only other jockey to win on her has been our Conditional Jockey Harry Stock who was at home having finished morning stables. I called him immediately and he jumped straight in the car with his mother Zoe as nervous co-pilot! The chances of him arriving were stacked against him – he said his satnav said arrival was 2.30pm (race at 2.40pm and the Clerk of the Scales wanted him there for no later than 2.15pm) however Zoe confirmed this morning it said 2.38pm!!!!
Part owner Mark Holland was with me at the races so I spoke to him and other part owner Richard Davies and asked Daryl Jacob to be on stand by if Harry didn’t make it. Somehow Harry arrived at 2.13pm – he’d made it! Now all she had to do was reward him with a winner! Although jumping greenly, which was understandable for a 4 year old making her hurdling debut, she showed us what an engine she has and was easily in front going to the last – a scary spice moment at the last where Harry asked her to go and pop but she slammed on and ballooned it losing important momentum and giving 2nd and 3rd horses a chance to get back on terms. Spice Girl had other ideas and found another gear to win well. Thrilled for her owners and the team and delighted to get Harry on after poor Richard’s unfortunate fall. Harry is riding with such confidence and, I know I can say it without it going to his head, is going from strength to strength and is becoming a big asset to our yard and super value for his 7lbs claim too. Spice Girl is an exciting mare and the dream is very much alive with her – not a bother on her last night – straight into her feed and sound and fresh this morning and out in her field (with loads of rugs on!) for the day.
Racing is such a great sport – we are all in it together and the camaraderie never ceases to amaze me. Yesterday, when fellow trainer Charlie Longsdon knew the chances of his two runners winning had gone, he stood with both myself and Mark Holland and cheered Spice Girl and Harry home with us. What a good sport he is. Similarly Belinda, on the way back from an appointment realises she wouldn’t get home in time to watch it, contacted Jo, Richard Phillip’s PA and arranged to watch it in their office – thanks to them too.
Cold here today and a birthday in the team – Alfie Jordan is 17 so happy birthday to him and good luck to him with his Theory driving test tomorrow!
Lots of visitors and with Christmas goodies already which is much appreciated! Kay Scriven from our feed company Spillers called in last night and Robyn from Equine Products was here today too. Hugely appreciated by all the team so thanks to them for going to the trouble.