Event reports

REPORT - Warwickshire at Mollington Monday 2nd May

  • Posted: Tuesday, 3rd May 2022
  • Author: Russell Smith
  • Photo: Neale Blackburn

GIRL power came to Mollington, near Banbury, where former Spice Girl Geri Horner celebrated her first winner as an owner with Formula 1 boss-husband, Christian, when Lift Me Up shone at the Warwickshire meeting on Bank Holiday Monday...

Geri was thrilled to see Hannah Henn power the six-year-old gelding to a 15-lengths victory in the Newbury Commercial Glazing PPORA Club Members Maiden for Edgcote trainer Sarah Case.

Dressed all in white, Ginger Spice Geri, who lives at nearby Marston St Lawrence, said: "He is named after my song, which went to No 1, and now he has gone to No 1.

"I am very proud that it's a female jockey. It's girl power and he's got an amazing female trainer. Sometimes the girls have got to boss the boys!"

Red Bull team principal Christian added: "It's one horsepower rather than a 1,000. It is a bit of fun. Hannah did a wonderful job and so did Sarah making sure he was well prepared.

"It has been a good couple of weekends. We won at Imola last weekend - we have won here this weekend - and we need to repeat it in Miami."

Henn, whose only previous success came on The Drone for her father, Chris, at Brafield-on-the-Green in 2016, has returned to the saddle this season to ride Lift Me Up following a break from the sport during which time she had a baby.

She was delighted to be on board as the son of Mahler swept past long-time leader Felino De Bersy and Dale Peters at the second-last in the 2m 4f contest.

Explaining the link with the Horners, Henn, who is set to start a new job with Sky Sports Racing, said: "I look after the family horses, taking the kids riding and them riding. We sort of introduced them into pointing and being competitive themselves they wanted to buy a racehorse.

"It's an amazing opportunity. Geri has always been supportive being a mum and a girl. She has backed me and been a source of motivation. She's all girl power!"

Case revealed that Lift Me Up had been purchased from Ireland through Martin Lynch. "Hannah has put a lot of hard work in," she said. "She brought Christian to the gallops one morning. He loved the place and got the racing bug."

Owner Robert Waley-Cohen, who put the Randox Grand National trophy on show following Noble Yeats's success in the Aintree spectacular, added to his collection of silverware by saddling Maitree Express to take the Butler Sherborn Warwickshire Hunt Members, Subscribers & Farmers Race.

Alice Stevens took over the reins on the eight-year-old from the Edgehill trainer's now-retired jockey-son, Sam, who was also in attendance following his fairy-tale farewell ride.

Taking up the running from Zamani and Jack Hutsby at the fourth-last, Stevens's mount was challenged by Dundrum Wood and Gina Andrews, but pulled out more to score by 12 lengths and follow up his win in the conditions race here last year.

Waley-Cohen, previously successful in this contest with Rumbavu (2011) and Storm Lantern (2016), said: "It's a useful race for him because he's not a very big horse and he has no penalty. It's not very often you win the Warwickshire members and the Grand National!"

Megan Fox claimed the day's riding honours with her first double on Raven's Tower and Special Buddy for her boss, Ben Pauling, who has just moved to a new yard at Naunton Downs, near Cheltenham.

After completing her brace of winners on Special Buddy in the Sir James Shuckburgh Bt Restricted over 2m 4f, the 23-year-old said: "It's unbelievable. I will never forget this day - that's for sure."

With the going officially Good, Good to Soft in places following extensive watering, Fox plotted a wide course on Special Buddy, sending the eight-year-old on coming down the hill for the final time and her mount stretched 15 lengths clear of Young Rich and Megan Saunders, having her first ride.

Fox had used similar tactics on Raven's Tower in the Jockey Club & Retraining of Racehorses Veteran Horse Conditions Race (Level 2).

The 12-year-old looked in charge when his nearest rival, Earlshill, unseated at the second-last, leaving Raven's Tower to come home 25 lengths clear of King Of The Clothe and Andrews.

Fox said: "I went wider as I walked the course with Tom David (assistant trainer) and was a bit worried because he likes it like a road. He jumped brilliantly."

Pauling, whose two winners carried his wife Sophie's colours, said: "Two on the day for Megan is fabulous. It is really special, and I'm chuffed for her. She puts the hard graft in and gets the rewards."

It truly was a day for girl power with six of the seven races won by female riders. Andrews led the way aboard Loughan in the opening HFN Landscapes Conditions Race (Level 2) over 2m 4f.

The eight-times champion lady rider sent the seven-year-old, trained by her husband, Tom Ellis, at Marton, near Rugby, into the lead going out on to the final circuit, and they bounded home by five lengths from Rebel Turn and Leia Williams.

Andrews said: "I was not supposed to be in front so soon, but there was no pace, and he is quite a free-going sort. He has been a bit of a lunatic in the past."

Ellis trains the seven-year-old for owners William Wales, Brian Crawford, Maurice Thomas, Lynn Redman and Stewart Spence.

Crawford, who is clerk of the course at Garthorpe, said: "He was very keen and excitable at the Skelton’s, and Gina has done a wonderful job settling him down."

On an afternoon not short on star attractions, Ellis also paraded his Aintree Foxhunters' Chase winner Latenightpass, owned and bred by his mother, Pippa, who put the trophy on display.

Flora Guy praised Tango De Juilley after partnering the classy gelding to a sparkling victory for her Herefordshire boss, Venetia Williams, in the FN Pile And Sons PPORA Club Members Conditions Race (Level 3) For Veteran & Novice Riders.

Jumping boldly at the head of affairs, the 14-year-old made light of his advancing years and a 10lb penalty, to coast home 40 lengths ahead of Gold Mountain and Harry Greasby, with last year's winner, Brown Bear, third.

Guy said: "He is an absolute gem. I am very lucky to ride him. He doesn't put a foot wrong. He is very clever. If you leave him to do it, he sorts it out himself. We walked the course twice. It was a big thing whether we decided to run or not."

Freddie Gordon prevented a clean sweep for the girls when Captain Buck's completed a hat-trick of wins in the Ray Randerson Carpets Mixed Open to boost his challenge in the Highflyer Bloodstock Novice Men's Championship.

The 16-year-old vied for the lead on the gelding, trained and owned by his mother, Jenny, at Winchester, with Who's My Jockey, before taking it up on the final circuit and holding off the persistent challenge of Hawkhurst and Izzie Marshall by a length and a quarter.

The success on the 10-year-old took Gordon's tally for the season to seven - one behind joint leaders Charlie Sprake and Murray Dodd in the title race. He said: "I am going to give it a go and see what happens. He has taught me so much."

Jenny added: "It took Freddie a little bit of time to get the hang of him. He does stop a little bit when he's in front, but he stops sooner if he is in behind. He will be for sale at the end of the season. He is a great novice rider's horse."