Dennis is a partner in Edgcote’s resurgence
Horses for Courses is a long established racing truism whose merit was tested successfully again at Ludlow this afternoon when Broken Quest secured a third victory at our Shropshire course in the feature Farm & Garden Machinery Handicap Chase in a 3 1/2l win over Trixter. In doing so, he gave a 16th winner of the season to the tallest jockey in the Weighing Room in Jack Andrews, who turned professional at the outset of the season after cutting his teeth on the amateur circuit.
The Andrews family are, of course, riders through and through. Elder sister Bridget is married to Harry Skelton against whom she rides on a regular basis, whilst their other sister Gina is the undisputed lady champion rider between the flags, with over 300 winners to her name. In a sport where family dynasties are commonplace, this is among the most successful at the present time.
Jack has a pretty impressive record when teaming up with David Dennis too. Since starting up on his own a second time at the legendary Edgcote estate, where the likes of Spanish Steps were trained under the Courage ownership, Dennis has established an impressive 23% strike rate in chases, and 29% where Andrews is on board. Gratifyingly, the other trainers at Edgcote are also excelling: Ben Case and Alex Hales together with Dennis are making Edgcote a Northamptonshire powerhouse once again, with nearly 40 winners this season and over £1/2m in prize money won.
Meanwhile, closer to home, trainers from the immediate vicinity of Ludlow also enjoyed their fair share of the spoils too. Henry Daly continued his resurgence this season with Lily Glitters in a small field for the Farm & Garden Machinery Mares Hurdle. Lily Glitters made all to justify even money favouritism under Tom O’Brien and notch Daly’s best season for over 10 years.
Slightly further afield Kerry Lee has not enjoyed the best of seasons, without a marquee horse to set off to the races on Saturdays. Nevertheless, she advertised her ability through Magic Dancer’s 11l victory in the Suzuki ATV Handicap Chase over 3m. Her 60% win and place ratio from 93 horses does the Presteigne yard great credit.
Wiltshire trainers have been doing well this season too, in particular those yards run by Neil Mulholland and Milton Harris, who secured a first Grade I at Aintree last week. It was more of the same here too, when Rock On Rita added to champion owner J P McManus’s excellent season in a mares handicap hurdle for Mulholland, whilst Harris introduced newcomer Earth Cry with the day’s closest finish in the concluding bumper.
Kim Bailey’s Sayadam produced the goods to justify a short-price favouritism in the opener, but keep an eye out for Just The Man, 11l runner-up, from the small Forest of Dean yard of John O’Shea, one of two runners from him in this race.
Easter is, of course, a time when the amateur division takes the limelight through a glut of Point-to-Point fixtures, well supported this year, but there are only so many horses to go around, as illustrated by the 3 runner field for the Eddie Mapp Memorial Hunters Chase, won in a canter by Solomon Grey for Victoria Collins and James King.