WILL BIDDICK reached a personal career milestone of 300 point-to-point winners in Great Britain at the Four Burrow meeting at Trebudannon on Sunday (May 8th)
"I am pleased to get to 300. I have also ridden a few point-to-point winners in Ireland," said the laconic rider who takes success and defeat in his stride. It was appropriate that Cornishman Biddick, born 15 miles down the road in Truro, should reach this land mark at Trebudannon. He is only the fifth British based rider to reach 300 winners in the point-to-point field, and is also well on course to land his fifth successive National jockeys' title this season.
The 300 mark was achieved when Queen's Bay took the Mixed Open at the expense of Indiana Bay. The winner is owned by Robert and Lucy Dickinson and is trained at Henley near Crewkerne by leading trainer Jack Barber, who went on to saddle three more winners from his five runners.
The Biddick / Barber combination followed up immediately by taking the Intermediate with Captain Probus, who proved too strong for front running Le Clo de la Londe in the home straight. The winner had a few runs over hurdles last year in the colours of Jack Barber's grandfather Richard Barber, who now shares ownership with his sister Sandra Maltby. He will probably be seen out again at one of the Bratton Down meetings.
The promising five-year-old The Happy Chappy confirmed the favourable impression he had created on his debut at this track two weeks previously with another eye catching performance in the Restricted. This time, his owner Graham Roach was away on holiday, but he looks to have a really good prospect with this Flemensfirth gelding. Will Biddick sent his mount to the front at the second last and had eight lengths to spare over Winter Garden at the post.
Another Barber, this time Richard Barber's 18-year-old grandson Christopher, got on the score sheet in the Open Maiden for mares and fillies. The young jockey gave four-year-old filly Tangley, owned by his mother Charlotte, a patient ride. The Black Sam Bellamy filly was making her racecourse debut and Christopher, partnering his third winner in eight days, delayed his effort until the third last before quickening readily in the home straight. "She has been working well with horses that have been winning," reported Jack Barber, who intimated that she would probably go into training with Alan King next season.
The Club Members' race for veteran horses proved a bizarre contest. Early leader Delphi Mountain went the wrong side of a marker approaching the third fence, only to be followed by odds-on favourite Parkam Jack. Liberty One, the 7-1 outsider of the three runners, was the only runner to take the correct line. Despite having gone the wrong side of a marker, the favourite's jockey Jamie Thomas elected to continue in the race and eventually passed the post a distance ahead of stable companion Liberty One. Disqualification was inevitable with the beneficiary being 56-year-old James McNeile, owner and rider of the winner.
Jamie Thomas had started the day well with a winning ride in the horses and geldings Maiden on Humpback Bridge, trained like Liberty One and Parkam Jack by Kayley Woollacott. "We bought him from JD Moore in Ireland and he is on the market," said Richard Woollacott, who currently owns the five-year-old Beneficial gelding.
Darren Edwards is being pressed by Will Biddick for the Devon & Cornwall jockeys title and pulled out a win in the concluding Open Maiden on Brandy and Red. "He was too keen last time at the Axe Vale but relaxed nicely with today's faster pace," explained the winning jockey. Owner/ trainer David Rogers, who still rides his horse out aged 80, had an amusing tale to tell. "I bought him through Gerald Penfold who lives in Ireland now. He is by Presenting but when he arrived we didn't know his name so I called him Shergar. We still call him Shergar at home, he laughed.