It's been a good start to the Pointing season fro Bradley Gibbs, who has set off like a scalded cat in pursuit of a first Leading Rider award.
Five rides to date have resulted in 4 winners and a second, using connections with Pyle owner - trainer David Brace to secure a treble at the Llangeinor 3 weeks ago, and a maiden winner at Knightwick on Sunday.
It would be legitimate to argue that Sunday's maiden winner on El Diablo was somewhat fortuitous as leader Festin du Soir apparently had his measure until blundering two out and unseating rider Arron Butterfield. However, it's an old adage that you have to jump round to win.
Patch Me Up, who opened the current Point-to-Point season by winning the Young Horse maiden at Pyle on October 31st, showed a game attitude to win. By contrast, a different ride was required in the Restricted race won by Post No Bills, when left effectively running his own race after the 13th of the 18 fences in a match race. This is every jockey's dread; a showjumping hack around to win leaves no excuse, and often horses' concentration can waver when effectively schooling on their own. In these circumstances, it's as well to have a rider of the experience of Gibbs to see you home.
The four horses that made up the field in the third leg of Gibbs' Llangeinor treble didn't put up much of a challenge to winner Chimes of Dylan, trained by Robert Llewellyn. The 25l winning margin may not necessarily be repeated once more runners are flushed out as the season progresses.
Meantime, under Rules, Lucy Wadham enjoyed a day to remember at Fakenham yesterday when her three runners elicited 2 winners and a second. Six year old mare Sorbet put in a clear round to assert in the British Racing School Course 356 Handicap Hurdle, whilst earlier in the afternoon, four year old Terresita opened her Jumping account at the first time of asking in the 2m novices' hurdle.
Meantime, former Newmarket trainer Nick Littmoden continued his successful transition to French racing with a winner at Lyon's all-weather course. His eleven winners and 24 placed efforts from 65 runners to date this year makes an impressive winner-runner ration that is attracting French owners as much as those that migrated to Vichy with him. This is the new face of global racing post Brexit.
Small fields are plaguing all levels of the sport, and the weather is certainly being painted the culprit. With no rain for a fortnight or more, the opening of the heavens would be welcome, as much to allow horses to use the grass at home as to ease going on the track.
But watch this space. In another month, clerks and trainers will be remarking the ground is too deep! Sometimes, there is no pleasing people.
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