Saturday, May 18, 2013

The yoof of today

We like to moan about the yoof of today, and I'm probably as guilty of this as anyone.  But one of the many lovely things about having a life within the racing world is that, by and large, the yoof whom one sees is of considerably higher calibre than the general stereotype.  A racing life isn't a hard one, but it's not an easy one either, and shirkers tend not to be attracted to it; or, if they are, they tend to find that the attraction wears off pretty quickly.  The upshot is that we have some cracking youngsters around about us, and I am always pleased to see them doing well.  This week, therefore, has been lovely as we've seen quite a few of our young riders enjoying success.

In the previous chapter, we saw Noel Garbutt enjoying a good ride on Ethics Girl at Newmarket.  The following day was even better, with the apprentice races at both Newmarket and Newbury being won by local apprentices: Jordan Vaughan (pictured in the first paragraph, leading George Margarson's string across the Fordham Road a few days ago) winning at Newmarket on the Ian Williams-trained See The Storm, and Alice Haynes winning at Newbury for her boss David Simcock on Gabrial's King.  And what was also good about that latter race was that Cam Hardie (pictured here in the winter on Magic Ice) - who is now apprenticed to Richard Hannon but who used to ride out for some stables in town, including this one and Michael Stoute's, while he was at school - did well on the William Knight-trained Story Writer to finish third on his first ride.

Things got better as afternoon turned to evening - and another local rider, Mark Marris, rode the winner of the first race at Aintree, a conditional jockeys' handicap hurdle.  Mark used to ride out for Neil King when he was at school, but has been elsewhere since then (including a stint in New Zealand, where he rode a couple of winners, and with Sarah Humphreys) and last winter he was working for Anthony Middleton, for whom he saluted the judge yesterday.  He's back in town at present and is seen here (on the left of shot) riding out this morning with Tommy Keddy.  As with those others mentioned above, he's a cracking youngster, and it was a real pleasure to see him enjoy another good result.

Today, though, we had the pleasure of an even younger member of today's yoof.  Steve Blackwell's son George is probably a budding jockey, but he's not yet old enough for proper racing.  So they have a small horse for the pony racing circuit, and last night the Blackwell family came up from Wales for the 14:2 pony race before racing at Newmarket this afternoon.  The small horse stayed here overnight and George joined our string for one lot this morning, his first experience of riding out in Newmarket (pictured), before getting ready for the race.

We went up to the races to watch the pony race and it was really enjoyable.  George, aged 15 and pictured here in the parade ring led up by his dad, gave his pony a cracking ride to finish third in a big field behind the easy Megan Nicholls-ridden winner.  All in all, it was a pleasure to see a gang of enthusiastic young riders taking part, and generally making something that is actually quite difficult look quite easy.  And it was lovely be able to tag along with the connections of one of the runners and feel involved.  As with the young riders around the town, these children help one to believe that the human race isn't necessarily going to the dogs after all.  And that's a good thought.


David Winter said...

Lovely piece as usual John and so nice to be able to have positive vibes for our youngsters for a change.
On another note, please pass on a very Happy Birthday to Terri,Zarosa's rider as she was so charming when we visited your yard and for her dedication to the big Z. Cheers.

John Berry said...

Thanks David. Will do.

Brian Jones said...

John, keep up, that was Cam Hardies 2nd ride - had ridden the day before, Cape Joy for Hannon, when the TV pics seem to suggest he was UR'd going to post!

John Berry said...

Sorry, Brian - I stand corrected. Indeed I should have noticed that.