Alongside the 900+ Point-to-Point races that make up the British season, already nearly 3 months old, racecourses stage a further 100 or so Hunter chases. The big three amongst these - the Cheltenham, Aintree and to a lesser extent, the Stratford Foxhunters attract runners from licensed yards, but the charm of the remainder equals that of the Pointing field, where the best of our amateur riders test their mettle in front of knowledgeable crowds.
So it was for the first of the racecourse hunter chases at Ludlow this afternoon, where the sport's leading lady rider showed why she has won championship after championship with an accomplished ride on former Grand Sefton Chase winner Hogan's Height for Jamie Snowden.
However, 90 minutes earlier had seen a thoroughly Albrighton moment when the long established partnership of Diana Williams, Mel Rowley and Alex Edwards was reunited to introduce a new debutant to the racecourse. This being the same partnership that enjoyed success in Point-to-Points and on the racecourse with Hazel Hill, hopes will be high that six year old gelding Latitude will develop into something as impressive as his forbear.
Bumper wins at Maisemore in autumn 2020 and Aintree last Spring foretold of some latent talent. the jumping looked a bit suspect on occasion today, but there was nothing not to like in the speed Latitude showed to win his race. Winners are harder to come by as a claimer than as a well established rider between the flags, as Alex has discovered, so age-old partnerships count to keep the winner tally-board moving.
The well-oiled Rowley winner machine has already notched up 13 winners under Rules to date this season, and a further 3 Pointing wins. Whilst he may no longer be vying for championship contention, you can be sure to see promising youngsters develop through our bumpers and young horse maidens over the coming months as Rowley is a key exponent of the Irish model of young horse development through grass roots fixtures.