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Press Release 13th April 2023 Aintree


Thursday 13th April


Will Biddick, one of the leading British amateur jockeys of recent years, finally landed the Randox Foxhunters’ Chase over the Grand National fences aboard Famous Clermont (9-2).

Will Biddick said: “It’s amazing. I’ve been riding 20 seasons now; I think my first ride round here was Le Duc in 2009. I have had a few seconds and been knocking on the door, but it’s a big thing for the amateurs - here and at Cheltenham are our Gold Cups, sort of thing, so to do it is massive.

“The day Porlock Bay won [at Cheltenham in 2021; Biddick was the trainer] I wouldn’t change any of it; the different emotions that go through your body when you are not in control and are stood in the paddock watching are second to none.

“That blew today out of the water so far - I don’t think this has sunk in yet! It’s nice, he’s come up through the point-to-point ranks, this horse. He’s really progressive and has got his act together in his last two or three runs.

“We had a go at Cheltenham just to see whether or not he would stay, but we’ve proved he doesn’t really get the extended three miles. To come here - the four weeks was just long enough to regain energy, so to speak. He jumped off and didn’t pick up the bridle, which I was concerned about because he’s normally such a strong traveller, but as he’s gone on he’s warmed up more and more. I thought I was beat three out, and he’s got back upsides two out and the last, and soon as he’s landed in front he’s pricked his ears. I thought, ‘Oh God, I’ve got him beat now because he’s in front too soon.’

“He’s a class act and it’s nice that we have got one of them in the point-to-point ranks to hold our own in these championship races.

“There were a couple of moments that might have looked worse than they felt where he’s just nudged a couple of fences, but he’s never been around here so it probably does catch them by surprise a little bit. At Foinavon he’s landed a bit quick - the landing comes up to you quite quick - and it jerked him up a little bit, but that’s following Bechers. It’s good and it makes them think, and he’s had to use himself today.

“Full credit to Chris Barber, because he hasn’t been the easiest to train, and I’m lucky enough to be the man sat on him.

“This is what you are doing it for. I’ve ridden a lot of point-to-point winners and some big hunter chase winners, but I’ve yet to ride a winner in the Fox Hunters at Cheltenham, and before today I had yet to ride the winner of this, and it’s something I’ve always wanted to do.”

Chris Barber, the winning trainer, said: “It is unbelievable and it all hasn’t quite sunk in to be honest with you. Credit to Will (Biddick) he gave him an absolute peach of a ride and Jamie who rides him every day at home has done an unbelievable job with him. I can’t quite put into words what it means with granddad (Richard Barber) having won the race and having been such a successful trainer and this is one step of trying to make him proud.

“Three miles two stretches him a little bit and we were rolling the dice going there (to the St James’s Place Festival Hunters’ Chase). This was the target from the start of the season. Rupert Nuttall has done a fantastic job with his jumping as his jumping was very dodgy to start with. There are so many factors of this horse. The man on board is sensational, Rupert Nuttall, Jamie who rides him (at home) and everyone at the yard has put into him.

“The owners have had him since we got him and they have been offered a lot of money multiple times but that have kept the faith in him and wanted it and we have got there. I’m glad to reward them with a Foxhunters. When we crossed the Melling Road and Will was having a little nudge I thought we could be struggling here but all credit to the horse he is so hardy and kept galloping.

“That will be the plan to work back from this race next year so hopefully we will be back here in 12 months trying to do the double. We were delighted with him at home. You are always going to be slightly worried he had a hard race at Cheltenham but all the signs were good at home and he has come out and done it well. My nerves were absolutely horrific. I don’t think I watched most of it until the last one. I think I lost my breath and everyone around me probably dislikes me quite a lot from the shouting I was doing. Everything I do is to try and make my grandfather proud. He was a hell of a man. I hope he was looking down.”

John Dawson, rider of runner-up Bennys King, said: “I had a brilliant spin. For a minute two out I thought we were all right, but the winner breezed by.”

Dan Skelton, trainer of second Bennys King, said: “That was absolutely brilliant. John gave him a brilliant ride and I’m super happy with him. Our other horse, Not That Fuisse, ran well too.

“The winner is a young progressive horse, and fair play to them.”

Jack Murphy, jockey of the third-placed Lough Derg Spirit, said: “Everything just went to plan, he jumped savage the whole way. I don’t think he missed a fence! He travelled with loads of enthusiasm and it’s just brilliant for the horse, the connections and for me!”

Gina Andrews, jockey of the fourth-placed Latenightpass (9-2), said: “He ran a super race again, I sort of knew we probably wouldn’t win going to the last but he’s run another fantastic race.”


4.05pm Randox Foxhunters' Chase

1 Famous Clermont 9/2

2 Bennys King 16/1

3 Lough Derg Spirit 40/1

27 ran

NR: Sir Jack Yeats (self certificate)


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