All of us who love our Pointing love it as much for seeing old favourites year after year as for the thrill of a young upwardly mobile horse or rider appearing. It’s what gives the sport an appeal beyond that of a mere nursery to the professional game.
In the west Mercian area, one old favourite has been giving us immense pleasure since the Spring of 2019, when Wishing And Hoping exchanged the wintery blast of Alan King’s Barbury downland for the Rowley stable in Shropshire. His owners remained the same throughout; Peter and Tricia Andrews have followed the sport for many years. Indeed, I remember as a young Clerk and Manager at Warwick that Peter needed little persuasion to underwrite the cost of an annual box and the newly inaugurated Kingmaker Chase in the name of his pumps business Godiva some 30 years ago.
Wishing And Hoping was able to take advantage of the newly designed early start to the season this time last year, when he formed one leg of a memorable four-timer for the Rowley yard at Maisemore in late October 2020, the first of many fixtures behind closed doors last winter.
Subsequently, he found one too good in Premier Magic at Chaddesley at the Wheatland’s November meeting, before switching to hunter chasing in the absence of our sport between the flags. A runner-up berth at Haydock in February proved no sort of a trial for the Cheltenham Foxhunter, but honour was salved in the Area Hunters Chase at Worcester in May with a hard-fought 3/4l win over David Maxwell’s French-bred Jatuwileh.
Last Sunday, Wishing And Hoping returned to the track in a Veterans Chase at Aintree, under old partner Alex Edwards, and clearly enjoyed his outing, drawing clear to win by 8 1/2l.
That makes 11 wins from 23 outings. Not bad for an old stager.