Appy Days for Williams as he celebrates milestone success
There was no sign of Appy Days' celebrity owners, or her trainer for that matter, as the six-year-old gave Ian Williams what he believed to be his 1,000th worldwide winner in the 2m bumper.
Owned by top golfers Lee Westwood and Danny Willett, along with their agent Chubby Chandler, Appy Days was making her debut for Williams and recorded the landmark success in style under Tom O’Brien.
Williams, who was perhaps celebrating, tweeted: “Appy Days for @WestwoodLee @Danny_Willett @chubby6665 was an easy winner @LingfieldPark & I think, makes it number 1,000 for me! #milestone.”
The lion’s share of those winners have come over jumps for the
dual-purpose trainer, who enjoyed his first Cheltenham Festival success with Ballyalton in March and has celebrated Grade 1 success over jumps in Britain and France, as well as Group 3 success on the Flat in Dubai with sprinter Sir Maximilian.
“It’s a great achievement,” said O’Brien, riding his seventh winner of the season for Williams. “I’m very grateful to get the call-up and when I sprinted clear it would have taken a good one to catch me.”
Jones back in the groove
Conditional rider Kevin Jones doubled his tally for the season as Westerbee fought off all comers to land the 2m novice hurdle for mares.
The 5lb claimer has been battling hip problems for six years but a recent operation has given him added zest.
“It goes back to when I dislocated my pelvis and it left me with grade three arthritis in my hip,” said Jones. “The doctors couldn’t believe it as I was back riding out three weeks after the operation and feel much better.
"Seamus Mullins [winning trainer] has always been good to me and hopefully it won’t be quite as long until my third winner.”
Drinkwater off and running
There was no fairytale start for trainer Sam Drinkwater, who saddled his first runner under rules in the mares' novice hurdle, but the ambitious 25-year-old has high hopes for his new venture.
Drinkwater, whose first runner, Supreme Performer, finished eighth under stable jockey Robbie Dunne, enjoyed plenty of success in the saddle himself before a foot injury focused his attention on training.
As well as a team of point-to-pointers, Drinkwater has ten horses to run under rules and Maximus Maridius will become his second runner at Leicester on Thursday.
“I was hoping Supreme Performer might do a little better but she’s had two years off and is bound to improve,” said Drinkwater, who trains in Worcestershire.
He added: “I rode 20 winners under rules and 70 in points but I’ve got a lot of metal in my foot and as soon as my head told me to stop I went on to training.
“I’ve trained about 20 winners in points over the last couple of years and I’m lucky to have a supportive family. I'd describe it as a tight-knit family yard.
“We’ve got ten to run under rules but it would be nice to get to 60 − I think that’s a manageable size. There’s pressure but it’s great to be doing it.”
Thought for the day
The prospect for racing looked bleak when temperature dipped to -6.1C at 8am but miraculously the mercury was up to 4.5C by noon.