Novice title the aim for Morshead

  • Posted: Friday, 17th February 2017
  • Author: Carolyn Tanner
  • Photo: Grace Beresford

Given his parentage, it is perhaps not surprising that Henry Morshead always wanted to be a jockey.

His father Sam, who was attached to Fred Rimell, rode over 400 winners as a professional, and his mother Anthea, the daughter of Gold Cup-winning trainer Peter Beaumont, was a top-class Point-to-Point rider who, as Anthea Farrell, won the 1992 Topham Chase at Aintree on J J Henry.

Like many riders who have gone on to success between the flags and under Rules, Henry is a graduate of British Pony Racing. In addition to partnering 15 winners he qualified for the Charles Owen finals four years in succession, and he was a member of the British team which travelled to Ireland in 2013 to compete in the Anglo-Irish Shergar Cup.

He made his Point-to-Point debut on Locked Inthepocket at Larkhill in January 2014, and two months later opened his account on Red Danaher at Higham. The following year he experienced the down side of the sport when he was knocked out for ten minutes in a fall at Sheriff Hutton, but he bounced back to record two successes on Shannon Silver before the end of the campaign.

An all-round sportsman who played rugby, hockey and tennis during his schooldays at Cheltenham College, Henry started riding out for Kim Bailey while in his final year. Having passed his 'A' levels in Politics, Biology, Geography and PE in the summer, he went to America for a few weeks to work for Michael Dickinson.

On his return he joined the Bailey stable full-time, and in December, on his third ride for his employer, he triumphed in a Lingfield Bumper on Blazon, whom he looks after at the yard. Earlier this month he gave Bandon Roc a polished ride to score over hurdles at Huntingdon. On both winners he has been able to claim his full 7lb allowance to ride at 10.7 and 10.6 respectively, something he would not have done in his final year at school – "I weighed eleven and a half stone," he laughed. He teamed up again with Bandon Roc at Towcester yesterday [Wednesday] to record a wide-margin victory.

He has three Point-to-Point victories under his belt this season, taking his overall tally to eight. He would love to win the Novice title, but realises this could be a tall order, given the firepower which some of his rivals have at their disposal. He is, though, happy to travel for opportunities, and as well as picking up rides close to his Southern base he has regularly made the trip from Gloucestershire to the North and to his home area in Yorkshire.

He currently does not have a specific jockey coach, but has received plenty of advice from Russ Garrity, his grandfather's former stable jockey who rides out Anthea's Pointers, while Rodi Greene has also been of help to him.

Having achieved top grades in his exams, Henry decided to give himself a year to see if he could make it in the racing world or whether a more academic career beckoned. On the evidence to date, racing is winning hands down.