HAVING seen his once healthy lead in the British men’s championship being eroded over recent weeks, the former multiple champion Will Biddick holds a slender lead over his nearest rival, the present titleholder James King, going into this weekend.

The latter had much the better results last Sunday as he recorded a treble at Bratton Down where, on firm ground, there were three matches on the six-race card.

King’s winners at this Dulverton West Foxhounds’ fixture were all trained by Luke Price with the pair joining forces to win the two-runner mixed open over four miles, one furlong with the 1/8 favourite Spencer Moon, a 14-year-old Dr Massini gelding who was one of three Irish-bred winners on the day.

While Will Biddick was in action at Edgcote, his charge, the eight-year-old September Storm gelding Ninth Wave, won the opening nine-runner restricted at Bratton Down under Charlie Sprake.

Biddick recorded one victory at the Grafton meeting and that came in the five-runner restricted on the only Irish-bred winner on the seven-race card, the Nigel Padfield-trained favourite Magnetic Zero. This five-year-old Mahler gelding won at the same venue last month but then under Gina Andrews.

Ben Bromley partnered two winners at this fixture, as did Alice Stephens. The latter’s mounts were supplied by Francesca Poste who also sent out the French-bred Fan Club Aulmes to win the Level 3 conditions race at Tabley under Co Galway native, Tommie O’Brien.

Southfield Theatre

There were only two Irish-bred winners on the seven-race card at this Knutsford Races Club meeting one being the 14-year-old King’s Theatre gelding Southfield Theatre who, trained by Sara Bradstock whose daughter Lily was in the saddle, was recording his 18th success between the flags in the colours of his breeder, Angela Yeoman.

On Saturday, Biddick and King were both in action at Peper Harrow where the former finished alone in the two-runner men’s open on the Chris Barber-trained French-bred, Envoye Special, while King failed to score with his one ride at this Surrey Union meeting.

The day’s riding honours belonged to John Dawson who recorded a four-timer on the seven-race card at the Haydon meeting at Hexham, three of them being for trainer Cherry Coward

Biddick and King both partnered a winner apiece at the mid-week meeting on Wednesday week last, May 11th, at Cothelstone as did Gina Andrews and the young riders, Freddie Gordon and Olive Nicholls.

Biddick’s success came in the 10-runner maiden over two and a half miles on the Barber-trained Hollow Ron, a four-year-old Beat Hollow gelding who was making his debut, while King landed the nine-runner maiden conditions race on the eight-year-old Getaway mare Bluberry High who was having her third start between the flags for owner/trainer, Anabel Murphy.


Going back to the weekend of May 7th and 8th, Biddick partnered two winners on the Saturday at Holnicote but he didn’t have to expend a lot of energy as both walked over in their respective races.

The eight-runner maiden at this Minehead Harriers and West Somerton meeting went to the Alan Hill-trained Izzy Marshall-ridden Our Brother John who was one of five Irish-bred winners on the seven-race card.

The five-year-old Yeats gelding, who was making his British debut, ran four times here for Colin Bowe, pulling up on three occasions and finishing third once.

The following afternoon, Biddick travelled to Upcott Cross where he initiated a double in the opening Level 2 conditions race on one of five Irish-bred winners on the six-race card, the Chris Barber-trained The Big Sting, a seven-year-old Scorpion gelding.

The double came via in a walkover in the men’s open on the 10-year-old Well Chosen gelding, Sixteen Letters.

James King was in action at Kingston Blount where he too recorded a double with his second success coming in the two-mile, five-furlong maiden on the Alan Hill-trained Craven Bay. Despatched as the 7/4 favourite in the seven-runner field, this six-year-old Fame And Glory gelding was making his seasonal debut having last ran at Garthorpe in June last year.


Hill initiated a training double at this Kimblewick meeting when Izzie Marshall landed the three-runner ladies’ open on Knight Bachelor who scored by a short-head from the Gina Andrews-ridden odds-on favourite, Deans Road.

There was a neck between the pair, but in the reverse order, in the concluding five-runner intermediate which Andrews won on Master Templar, a seven-year-old Robin Des Champs gelding trained by her husband, Tom Ellis.

There were five Irish-bred winners on the six-race card at Charm Park that afternoon where there were wins for Jack Power and John Dawson and a training double for Jack Teal.

Dale Peters partnered two winners at Dingley, including the 10-year-old Daylami gelding Early Retirement who landed the four-mile mixed open for the Gerald Bailey yard, while Bradley Gibbs was the rider to follow at Bonvilston where he recorded a treble.

Riding for his father David, he landed the opening two races on the Irish-breds Frelia (an 11-year-old Oscar mare in the Level 1 conditions race) and Ask Dai (a seven-year-old Ask gelding in the restricted).

Gibbs brought his treble up in the concluding two and a half-mile maiden on the British-bred Theshoddytradesman who he trains himself.

While there are three meetings this weekend and next, organisers will certainly be hoping that weather conditions prove favourable (wet by night, dry by day) to attract large fields and large crowds to Queen Elizabeth’s Jubilee Celebration meetings at Garthorpe (Wednesday, June 1st), Chaddesley Corbett (Thursday, June 2nd), Trecoed (Saturday, June 4th) and Bratton Down (Sunday, June 5th).

The season concludes the following Saturday at Umberleigh with the traditional Torrington Farmers’ fixture.

Getaway makes most of small field hunter chases

BETWEEN Wednesday, May 4th and Tuesday just past inclusive, seven hunter chases were run in Britain, none of which attracted a field in double figures.

The first of those seven races, a novice two-mile, five-furlong contest run at Kelso, saw eight runners go to post with the winner being the Mickey Bowen-trained Downtown Getaway who, at odds of 6/5, scored by seven lengths in the hands of James King.

On Tuesday of this week, that same nine-year-old Getaway gelding, who is in his fifth training establishment, ran at Huntingdon where he faced four rivals over two furlongs longer and, on this occasion, the bay won by five lengths as the 4/9 favourite under Derek O’Connor.

Irish-breds won both hunter chases staged on Wednesday, May 11th. Over three miles, one furlong at Newton Abbot, the Megan Bevan-ridden, Diane Ward-trained Wotzizname, a 12-year-old Fruits Of Love gelding, comfortably saw off his solitary rival by 45 lengths.

Up at Perth, where there were five starters over two miles, seven furlongs, the Guy Brewer-trained 11-year-old Brian Boru gelding Point The Way justified favouritism in the hands of Joe Wright.

Trained by Ben Pauling and ridden by Peter Mason, the French-bred Le Breuil was a 4/5 shot when landing the four-runner hunter chase over three miles, six furlongs at Huntington on Thursday, May 5th.

Two weeks ago, when facing four rivals, Joe Wright partnered the Sandra Barker-trained British-bred Blazing Tom (3/1) to victory over three miles at Hexham while, five days later, another British-bred gelding, the 5/4 favourite Soldier Of Love, landed the three-runner, three-mile, one-furlong race at Fontwell for trainer Paul Nicholls and rider Will Biddick.