Rahman’s Italian job part of bigger ambition

As a corporal in the army Nathan Rahman is no stranger to maps, but even he found negotiating the Ippodromo Merano in Italy challenging.

He has now ridden twice at the venue, finishing third each time, and the owners of the horse he rode, Isaias, were so pleased with his performance they have booked his flight for a return there at the end of this month.

Rahman, 29, says: "I first rode Isaias for Giuseppe Trebeschi from Brescia in a little race at the beginning of June, and then again on June 23 in a much hotter cross-country contest over 3,500m [approximately two and a quarter miles] for gentlemen riders.

"There were nine runners from Italy and the Czech Republic, including Grade One performers in Ole Cabaleros and Burrows Lane. Isaias's trainer and owners thought the race was too hot, so they were really pleased when we managed to finish third behind a horse called Manolo."

Born in Cardiff to a Welsh father and Italian mother, Rahman picked up the rides through fellow point-to-point rider Luca Morgan, who had been to Italy on a similar venture. Rahman says: "When I first went over there I had not seen the course, there were no videos of races there and no one spoke English. I can speak Italian, but it's quite different reading and writing it, and it was all slightly difficult.

"I did more homework the second time, and managed to get coloured maps of the course."

A late starter in racing, Rahman first rode in point-to-points in January last year, and followed one winner in the 2017/18 season with three more in the season just ended. Initially pointing was a way of gaining experience in order to ride in military races at Sandown and Wincanton, in which he has now become a regular feature.

A victory in one of the military events is now on his list of ambitions, and he says: "I've just gained my Cat B licence and am looking forward to riding against professionals, but I also plan to have a crack at next season's [Fuller's] national point-to-point novice riders' championship."