Friday, September 13, 2013

Young generation

We've had no runners thus far this week, but Ethics Girl (pictured here two Sundays ago, and then in the next paragraph on the Heath with Hugh eight days ago, when the weather was still better than it is now) can head down to Bath tomorrow, where I hope that the ground will be less soft than it has been at most of the other meetings this week.  They're due a decent amount of rain tonight, but it was still good to firm, firm in places as of this morning, so I hope that whatever arrives will be absorbed by the turf without making things too soggy.  We'll see - but she's in great form, and the handicapper has cut her a bit of slack at last.  As ever, we'll travel in hope.

As regards racing, the St Leger is obviously the big race of the week, but a race which is becoming an ever-bigger part of the supporting cast is the Legends' race, which I really enjoyed watching on TV on Wednesday.  It was good to see a field of yesterday's heroes in action and it's great that it seems to have become a regular fixture.  On the subject of jockeys, though, it's been a good week for the younger brigade too.  I like occasionally to highlight some of our local youngsters; so here goes, starting with Lewis Walsh, who rode his first winner of the year at Kempton the other night.

I was rather sceptical initially about the idea of letting jockeys, rather than just apprentices, claim; but it's been a great move, as it's taken away the urgency of getting apprentices off the ground, and taken away the idea that they've missed the boat if their career hasn't taken off by the time they're into the second quarter of their 20s.  It's hard enough for young jockeys or apprentices to get their careers off the ground, so if they are still able to give it a go once they've actually got some worthwhile experience under their belts, that's no bad thing.  Lewis is still an apprentice, but he's been around for a while, and in days gone by he'd have had his chips by now.

As things are, though, Lewis is working for David Simcock now, and had a winner for the stable a couple of days ago - which is great, as he's a very good rider whose heart is in the right place, and it's good that he can still give race-riding a go.  Lewis worked for Jane Chapple-Hyam for a few years and had plenty of rides for her, including being the regular rider of the good but formerly extremely difficult sprinter Secret Asset at one time, on the Heath every day and on the racecourse fairly often.  He's seen on him in the dark at Wolverhampton in the third paragraph on a very cold end-of-year Saturday night three years ago.

The horse is then seen in the fourth paragraph, in June of this year, much whiter (and more placid) than he'd been three years ago.  He's ridden there by Ian Burns - who, coincidentally, also rode his first winner of the year this week, his career having taken a while to get moving again after his decision last year to leave Michael Bell's stable (to which Louis Steward has gone from Paul D'Arcy's stable, and is getting some winners).  Anyway, it's good that both of these lads have had a good week.  It's a competitive business, and Lewis has plenty of competition even within his own stable, with George Buckell (who's pictured here this morning with Martin Smith, who also gives him rides and for whose father Alan he has ridden a few winners in Bahrain) having gone there from Tim Pitt's stable and having also ridden a winner for the stable recently.  But that's the nature of the game: it's competitive.  And it's just nice to see so many youngsters thriving on the competition.

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