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Cattistock at Littlewindsor
Monday 7th May 2018
by Bob Bracher

Littlewindsor was bathed in glorious sunshine and picnickers were out in force at the popular West Dorset course where the Cattistock held their meeting. Despite a modest entry there was some very competitive racing on ground described by riders as mainly good with a soft stretch down the hill and with a couple of unexpected results in the first two races favourite backers did not have it all their own way. The main highlights were a riding treble for champion jockey Will Biddick, a training treble for Ed Walker, a first winner for Freddie Procter and a final point to point winner for Lorcan Williams.

The opening race, the two and a half mile maiden, provided a surprise result when Mystic Court ridden by Christopher Barber narrowly defeated the favourite Eggardon Hill ridden by Martin McIntyre with the judge deciding that only a nose had separated them at the line. Eggardon Hill looked like the winner when he jumped into the lead at the third last but Mystic Court tenaciously stayed on strongly over the last two fences to snatch the spoils. The only point-to-pointer trained by Paul Hosgood and his daughter Jazmin he had run twice in November last year without much success but the break and the better ground clearly helped the Court Cave gelding. Paul explained that he had bought the gelding in Ireland and that he had told Christopher that he likes to front run which he did for much of the race.

The outsider of the quintet, who took part in the Restricted race again over two and a half miles, Faraway Star proved too good for her rivals. Given a very positive ride by Freddie Procter she took up the lead at the fourth fence and despite both Midnight Calamity and the favourite Who Told You closing approaching the third last the mare drew away to win quite comfortably. Trained and owned by Tracy Williams this was a change of fortune for the Templecombe near Sherborne handler who has had a difficult season so far with her horses. She was naturally delighted to give Freddie, 19, his first winner and complimented him on his well -judged ride. Freddie who describes himself as just over 6' must be one of the tallest jockeys on the Wessex scene and is the son of Douglas Procter who runs the Glanvilles Stud near Sherborne. Freddie who had a difficult journey from Lambourn to get to Littlewindsor is now working for Harry Whittington, the licensed trainer and has been there for some 3 months.

Miss Gotaway managed to beat her sole rival Minim Mouse by two lengths in the Skinner's Ladies Open race despite a bad mistake at the thirteenth fence. Now the winner of nine point to points for local owner Audrey Goodwin she will continue to race this season whilst the ground continues to ride well for trainer Ed Walker.

Black Valentine was the first leg of Will Biddick's treble when holding off rivals Thereyarsee and Kernel Victor in a thrilling finish to the Men's Open race. Given a very positive ride by the champion he had half a length in hand at the winning post. Previously a maiden winner on this course back in 2016 he had subsequently been trained by Paul Nicholls but after winning a hurdle he had some injury problems according to joint owner Maria Gibson and was not able to show his best form. Now trained by Will the change of scene and routine has clearly benefited him and this was an impressive debut in Open company.

Will followed up in the Conditions race when partnering Fly West to comfortably win the Conditions race. A winner at Axe Vale the previous Sunday he was reported not to have had a hard race there so turned out again to beat the front running Flights by five lengths. Owned by Stuart Jarrett and Polly Walker there looks like to more to come this season from the gelding.
Will's treble and Ed Walker's training treble came courtesy of Gerties Garter in the Open Maiden race. Having only her second race she stayed on well to beat the fast finishing Moonlight Flyer and the front running Our Grey Boy. Owned like Miss Gotaway by her breeder Audrey Goodwin she is out of a good broodmare called Chasers Chic whose half -brother Hill Sixteen was sold last month having won a point to point in Ireland for £100,000 and has been bought by Trevor Hemmings. The mare is reported to now be going to either Scorpion or Black Sam Bellamy. When questioned about the rather unusual name Audrey said with a smile that 'it is a hand in mah-jong' which she enjoys playing.

The Intermediate race was won in good style by the Sally Alner trained One Big Love owned by the Withyslade Partnership and ridden by Lorcan Williams. Previously trained by Harry Fry whose yard overlooks Littlewindsor she stayed on well to beat Arcs Abound ridden by Jake Bament by eight lengths. Sally indicated that the mare should not have run at Stafford Cross as she needs a galloping course and Littlewindsor suited her much better. After collecting his winning prize Lorcan announced that this would be his final point to point ride as he was about to turn Conditional with Paul Nicholls and wanted to thank in particular Sally and her team for all of the help and support he has received whilst riding for her. Lorcan rode 28 winners in his short point to point career with a further seven Hunter Chase victories with successes on Monsieur Gibraltar and Virak the most notable.

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