Racing: Greenwich's good time.
There have been many great moments in the racing life of Marilyn Scudamore but 'the best' came on Saturday.
For the devotees of point-topoint racing, the Lady Dudley Cup is the pinnacle race of their season. It is the one they all want to win and the emotion of seeing a childhood ambition come to fruition at Chaddesley Corbett on Saturday saw the tears of joy flow. Greenwich, not a reliable animal last season according the point-to-point bible, won his seventh and most important race of the season by three-quarters of a length from Lord Harry in a thrilling finish with favourite Elliewelliewoo a further 12 lengths back in third place.
And while the tears came down the trainer's face, another familiar figure was walking beside her to the winner's enclosure with pride almost bursting out of every pore of his skin.
Terry Biddlecombe had just seen his son Robert ride a perfectly judged race to win his 11th race between the flags this season and would watch later in the afternoon as he went on to complete the double for the trainer.
Mrs Scudamore said: 'Ever since I was a little girl, it has always been my ambition to win this race. To have a runner in the race is brilliant, to win it is unbelievable. It was his seventh win in a row and I suppose you could say I am in seventh heaven at the moment.'
This is her third season as trainer - but really only second as last season was wiped out by the foot and a mouth crisis. And for someone who saw her husband Peter win the National Hunt jockeys title on numerous occasions and her son break into the paid ranks with such force, she exactly what to say to young Biddlecombe before the race.
'I get them fit and ready to race and the rest is up to the jockey,' she said. 'I have never race ridden a horse and I leave all the riding decisions up to them. They are the people in the saddle. they know how well a horse is going and jumping.'
Greenwich, bought at the Doncaster Sales as a four-year-old had been in training with Nigel Twiston-Davies and like so many horses in National Hunt racing, a switch to point-to-point racing does sweeten them up.
It certainly worked for this eight-year-old gelding who was always held in a good position throughout the race as Caher Society took them along. It was at the last ditch five fences from home that Biddlecombe sent Greenwich on with Hurdante, Elliewelliewoo and Lord Harry going with him.
For a time they all looked a danger but gradually their challenge petered out and it left only Lord Harry to take up the challenge. Alistair Crow did not get the best jump out of his horse at the last and although closing to the line, Greenwich was always holding him.
Biddlecombe will have one more season as an amateur before going professional - and he already has the approval of his father. He said: 'He is a good lad and he has good hands. I taught Jim Culloty everything he knows - and I have taught Robert.'
The Lady Dudley Cup, however, was more than just a race. The Worcestershire Hunt know that their future and point-topoint racing is under severe threat and although the party political broadcast during the afternoon was understandable, they might look at switching the argument around.
They argue that a ban on hunting would be the end of point-topoint racing but judging from the crowds at Chaddesley Corbett - cars were still queuing to get in when the first race had started and a horsebox and exercise area had to be quickly requisitioned as extra car parking space, they might have a better chance of winning townies' support by arguing that there will be no point-to-point racing without hunting.
We urbanites can do without hunting - but not the point-topoint racing.
Ruby Walsh thanks his lucky stars after getting the best of a thrilling finish to the Gala Casinos Daily Record Scottish Grand National on 'spare ride' Take Control at Ayr. Walsh was only riding the 20-1 chance after his intended partner Montifault was found to be unfit on the eve of the race
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|Publication:||The Birmingham Post (England)|
|Date:||Apr 22, 2002|
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