Barbury Racecourse had to survive 2 inspections on Saturday morning before it was passed fit for racing, which took place before a sparse crowd.
Just over a year ago after a shooting accident, Charlie Dando was lying on an operating table with his life in the balance but due to the skills of surgeons David Mitchell and James Henderson and extensive nerve and skin grafts on his shattered leg Charlie has been able to resume a normal life.
Some stories do not have a happy ending, but this one does as Charlie rode his first winner since that accident in the Vine and Craven Restricted on Saturday afternoon.
After 10 days in hospital followed by recuperation at home, Charlie returned to work as a farrier and credits hunting twice a week with the Beaufort which has increased his strength and aided his return to race riding.
Faced with just two rivals this race provided a perfect winning opportunity for Dando who was content to track Lawsons Thorns who set the early pace. Kit Barry was proving an armchair ride for his jockey with the partnership making their effort approaching the 15th and holding a narrow lead as they raced into the dip for the final time.
Around the final bend and Charlie Dando and Kit Barry take the shortest course on their way to victory
Lawsons Thorns was still in with a chance on the final bend but Dando’s mount was still full of running and swept into the lead approaching the penultimate and was well in command from that point. Dando had to remain alert as his mount made his worst error of the race at the last but that failed to alter his stride and they strode clear to claim a 12-length success.
A little untidy at the last but it made no difference
The horse’s trainer and the jockeys father David recalled “Charlie missed out on riding this horse when he won at Woodford last year. He’s the only Pointer I have but has done a lot of hunting. He ran once in Ireland then had a bit of a leg so had 2 years off. He is so well balanced and is a pleasure to ride at home. We only live about 3 miles away from Badminton. I know he did not beat much today but I would love to have a runner at Cheltenham’s May meeting”.
Charlie and his father David in the winners enclosure achieving something they would have thought impossible 12 months previously
“It’s great to have my first winner since the accident on one of my old man’s horses. This is the first time I have sat on Kit Barry since he fell at this course a couple of years ago” said Dando jnr afterwards. “He will come on for that run as we have nothing else to work him with.” Queried if he had to adapt his riding style after his accident Dando replied “No I’ve always ridden longer than other jockeys because that is what I am comfortable with, but I do put a pad down my boot to prevent rubbing. I realise how lucky I have been and just want to get back to doing the things I enjoy – Hunting and Racing”.
The winning combination pick up their prizes
The West Midland had representatives in every race except the Members and all performed well starting with Vaillant Creek in the Novice Riders. Patrick Berkin’s had the North Cotswold qualified gelding at the front of the field until the pace quickened on the final circuit and they had to settle for fourth spot.
The 2-1/2 mile Maiden produced an exciting finish with the favourite The Last Legend having to settle for minor honours after holding every chance at the last. The 5-year-old son of Midnight Legend now runs in the colours of Graham Fisher and looked the probable winner at the end of the back straight but Will Biddick’s mount could never put daylight between himself and his rivals and was joined by Dissertation and Wick Green before 2 out before these two eased clear on the run to the line.
Two from home and their is little between Wick Green (yellow and blue) and The Late Legend (far side)
At the last and Wick Green is just beginning to get the upper hand
Templebraden had to settle for third place behind Cousin Pete and Abricot de L’Oasis in the Timico sponsored Mens Open. The latter gave the odds-on favourite a fright and only conceded defeat on the run in while Templebraden was tapped for toe over the final half mile.
Skyhill Allstar who had finished second at the Barbury International meeting as part of a squad brought over from Ireland by Shark Hanlon, is now in the care of Simon Edwards and provided his jockey Huw Edwards with his first winner. Ryan Potter, fresh from his Fakenham triumph with Foxcub saddled Oldeddietherebel to finish third.
Mike Hawkers Cecile de Volanges was installed as favourite for the 2-1/2 mile Mares Conditions but James King’s mount had no answer when passed by Follow the Paint with four fences to jump and was always fighting a losing battle from that point.
West Midland qualified horses were seen to good effect at Sunday’s Cottesmore fixture at Garthorpe. This started in the Novice Riders where the Nickie Sheppard trained Ballcahane and the Callum Bickers Price ridden Crowded Room finished second and third.
Rockanrolldixie almost hit the bulls eye when Alex Edwards sent him to the front ahead of Mr Madeit and Gunmoney in the Conditions, but the leader weakened approaching the last and the favourite drew level with and eased clear of Bill Hawkins Croome and West Warwickshire qualified runner as they raced towards the judge.
Hawkins and trainer Diana Ralph gained compensation later in the day, when Encounter A Giant took Division II of the Maiden by an impressive 15-lengths.
Mirs Choice has been plying his trade in the West Country without much success which probably accounted for his long odds in the 8-runner Restricted. The more fancied horses all had their chances but faded out of contention in the closing stages and that allowed Sarah Bowen to steer the 8-year-old mare to victory.