300 winners trained, 200 winners ridden, and a pair of winners saddled after a 12 year wait! Three joint winners in our May-June Moment of the Month Contest
The final weeks of the season brought plenty of action and numerous landmarks, we’ve chosen 2 major landmarks and a change of fortune for an owner-trainer as the joint-winners of our May-June Moment of the Month Awards.
Veteran riders have featured prominently in this cohort of awards, and award winners Pete Bull, Phil York and Steve Davies, are joined by Moment of the Month winner Dave Mansell (54) who hit the 200 winner mark, (177 in Points and 23 under Rules),at Chaddesley Corbet t in May when Findlay’s Find led the way home in the Conditions Race.
Despite being taught to ride by his father, and having “lots of hairy ponies” as a child, it wasn’t until his 30s, and whilst in hunt service, that Dave rode his first winner Mis-E-Fischant, at Upton-on-Severn in 1997.
“Starting out he didn’t really get the best rides,” remarked his wife Julie, “then we met out hunting and he offered to ride mine and it’s gone on from there. He’s been talking about reaching the 200 mark for a while, but with mostly firm ground horses on our yard it’s been a frustrating season – then suddenly it happened!”
Despite hitting the target there is no suggestion of retirement from race-riding – “No definitely not!’ said Julie, “he’s got nice horses to ride, and he still loves it.”
“An amazing six days,” is how South-Midands owner-trainer Richard Harper recalls the end of May, when after 12 years without a winner between the flags he saddled 2 – Just Skittles at Edgcote, and Brereton at Larkhill.
Brereton he confides was a lucky buy, at the end of a frustrating day at Ascot Sales “I’d been there all day, and tried unsuccessfully to buy a couple. He was the last horse to come through the ring, I don’t know why I bid for him really, but I bid £700 and got him and now he’s won! By coincidence he came from Kayley Wonnacott – and I bought Just Skittles from Richard. Kayley was the first to congratulate me after we won at Larkhill.”
(a three-time winner under Rules in 2012 earning Richard the title of Permit Trainer of the Year), so it wasn’t quite the drought it appears
I’m Pointing born and bred. I rode for Dad, we’ve always had a couple of Pointers, and I’ve got a permit. I’ve never wanted to get more serious, but I have trained half a dozen winners under Permit since the last Point to Point winner, including Chapel House (a three-time winner under Rules in 2012 earning Richard the title of Permit Trainer of the Year), so it wasn’t quite the winners drought it appears!”
Another trainer who started out in the saddle is our third Moment of the Month winner, Alan Hill who rode 98 winners between the flags and 48 in hunter chases, and began training Pointers in 2005 when his wife Lawney began training under Rules
Hugely instrumental in establishing Kingston Blount as a premier course it was particularly apt that he should saddle his 300thwinner , For ‘N’ Against, carrying his own red and yellow colours, in the Mixed Open at the track’s end of May meeting .
“It is just unbelievable to have done it in 13 years. It shows just how lucky I have been to have good horses,” said Alan, whose 300 winner tally included 274 wins in Point to Points and 26 in Hunter Chases.