It’s caps off to the late Trevor Hemmings as Venetia Williams scoops a big prize
Over here in Shropshire, we consider Venetia Williams one of our own. I mean, she may be over the county border in Hereford, but at less than 36 miles distant, she is, by comparison with many trainers sending us runners, a local. Our local trainers support us and we get right behind them.
So watching Saturday’s Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury was a magic moment for the team at Ludlow, cheering on one of our own, and what a thrilling moment it was; a fair run race from the off, and Charlie Deutsch making good use of Cloudy Glen’s stamina in a handy position throughout.
No-one who follows our sport will not be familiar with the Trevor Hemmings colours. Over 35 years of owning horses, Trevor came to be much respected by the racing public, and a good friend to the many trainers and riders whom he employed in his pursuit of top flight staying chasers. Some 670+ winners tell a story of some success on the racecourse, marked out by three winners of this famous race: Trabolgan in 2005, Cloth Cap last year, and Cloudy Glen this time around. There were a few tears around at Newbury for Trevor, missing in action since October 11, when age caught up for the final time with racing’s Mr Aintree.
We won’t pretend that Ludlow was a favourite stomping ground for Hemmings horses. The track at Ludlow has one thing in common with Cloudy Glen; it is, in the euphemistic parlance of racing journalists, enigmatic and quirky. Six winners during that 35 years from over 70 runners means we were not a number one destination, but his contribution to the sport is very recognizable, and we are not less grateful than many others.
So by default, through the excellent training effort of Venetia, a horse from these parts was successful in the sport’s most valuable handicap chase other than the Grand National, and it’s most likely Cloudy Glen will be headed in that direction next April, alongside Cloth Cap, who ran a brilliant front-running race until weight told on him turning in.
On a weekend promoting a peaky blinders day at Newbury this weekend, it was surely a day for the traditional cloth cap that was the default headgear for Mr Aintree.