• Posted: Thursday, 14th March 2019
  • Author: Carl Evans
  • Photo: Carl Evans

A chance to catch the latest point-to-point focus, which first appeared in the Racing Post on Friday, March 8.

Cheltenham victories by Kauto Star and Big Buck's have gained a rival for the affections of the man who bought that pair of superstars – the conditions race for novice riders at last weekend's Didmarton point-to-point.

The contest resulted in a first victory for Ben Bromley, 16, whose father, Anthony, has sourced countless top jumpers in his role as a partner in Highflyer Bloodstock. Horses he has bought and which run at Cheltenham next week include Buveur D'Air (Unibet Champion Hurdle) and Clan Des Obeaux (Magners Gold Cup).

Bromley Senior was too diplomatic to state Saturday's win was on a par with triumphs at festival meetings, but he admitted: "This means a lot – when your own flesh and blood is involved it's bound to." A few days later he admitted, "We're still floating on air."

He may also have been breathing a sigh of relief, because if he had failed to find his son a safe, sound, and winning schoolmaster, what would it have said about his talents? Instead, the chosen one, ten-year-old Vivaldi Collonges, has scored on soundness, by giving his teenage rider four spins in races since mid-December, on safety, completing the course each time, and talent by routing Saturday's 19-strong field at odds of 9/1.

When asked about the format he used to choose Vivaldi Collonges, Bromley said: "I didn't want a giant of a horse and I looked for a safe jumper. I spoke to [former owner/rider] David Maxwell who said, 'This is the horse you want'."

Ben is completing his final year of school work, but rides out five days a week at the Newmarket yard of James Owen, who trains Vivaldi Collonges. Later this year he will be heading to Shropshire to work for champion point-to-point trainer Phil Rowley.

400 up for Biddick

Will Biddick brought up his 400th British point-to-point winner on Sunday at Bishops Court in Devon, and went to the head of the Fuller's men's championship.

His victory on Caid Du Berlais, who he is set to ride in the St James's Place Foxhunter Chase next week, means he needs 14 winners to equal the British record set by Richard Burton during the 2010/11 season.

This season's title race is brewing nicely around five talented riders. Biddick has ridden 12 winners, one ahead of Byron Moorcroft and two clear of Jack Andrews, Alex Edwards and Tommie O'Brien.

The Skinner's women's title race is all but over, with Andrews's sister, Gina, having ridden 21 winners, just two shy of her total last season when she cantered to victory. Don't expect her to start taking it easy, however, for she has her sights on a rare feat.

When Polly Curling won the women's title in 1993 to 1995 her totals in each season were better than the leading male rider. She remains the only woman to achieve that, but Andrews is on course to become the second.