Apprentice riders Kate Witten and Shelby Bowtell both landed their first metropolitan Saturday victories at Ascot on February 7, in consecutive races.
Trainer David Harrison has been using Witten since she came back to race riding, last December, after a 10 month lay-off from knee surgery.
“Kate deserved this as she has being doing track work for me work for me and she also won yesterday, for her father, at Bunbury, on Be So Ryski. I simply told her to be up there early, from barrier 10, and she did just that, settling second outside Fire Born after being denied the lead.”
Harrison said he was pleased that Sheidel was able to work well at both ends of the race. “She just dropped them off when Kate asked her for the effort.”
Sheidel won the Westspeed Handicap (1000m) by a comfortable three and a quarter lengths margin with Miss Sedusa running on, from ninth on the turn, to claim second place over a tiring Fire Born.
Sheidel has now won four times from six starts.
Shelby Bowtell, now indentured to her father, trainer John Bowtell rode veteran Inok to an an all-the-way-victory for her old boss Neville Parnham, in the fourth race over 1200m.
A beaming Bowtell said her first Saturday metropolitan success was her “best ever win.”
The apprentice has not had an easy time of it in the Parnham stable as that trainer’s three sons are all accomplished riders and claim the bulk of rides.
Stable foreman Mark Sestich said Bowtell still worked hard for them and that Inok was always a chance when left alone in front. “I wasn’t worried about drawing outside (also barrier 10) because he can clear them quickly from the start to set the pace. When he draws an inside barrier he tends to muck around at the start and often loses the advantage of such a draw.”
Inok, now a nine yearold , has won 13 times from 59 starts.
Grand Reward ran on well from the rear, for second place, after jockey Shaun O’Donnell swung him across heels, to the inside, (when Coruscation moved out), in a display of quick thinking and how to ‘read the play.’ This was something the senior was impressing on his young daughter as they watched the replay together. Perhaps another young O’Donnell will come through the apprentice ranks in a few years? (Shaun Jr has just started).
Nevertheless, as O’Donnell admitted, he was never going to catch the leader, Inok, who still had daylight to spare between them at the post.
Another first : In a day of firsts, trainer Geoffrey Van De Molen also celebrated his initial training triumph, in his fifth race, when Proceedwithcaution (William Pike) proved too strong for Back To A Walk and Cougar Nights in the sixth race (1400m).