Jump racing sadly lost one of its greatest supporters on 11th October 2021 with the passing of leading owner Trevor Hemmings CVO at the age of 86. Hemmings’ colours were carried to victory a joint-record three times in the Randox Grand National while he enjoyed 12 victories at the Cheltenham Festival.
Huntingdon’s fixture on 12th October saw winning connections keen to pay tribute to him.
We sent Graham Clark along to speak to the winners on the day….
“AN INSPIRATIONAL CHARACTER – JONJO O’NEILL JR
Jockey Jonjo O’Neill Jr described the late Trevor Hemmings as an “inspirational character” following his victory aboard hurdling debutant Any Givin Sunday at Huntingdon on Tuesday.
The Cheltenham Festival-winning rider paid tribute to the owner after the five year old made a winning stable debut for his father, trainer Jonjo O’Neill, in the Racing TV Novices’ Hurdle.
Hemmings, who was also owner of Championship football club Preston North End, enjoyed many notable victories with the Jackdaws Castle handler during his time in the sport. These included three successes at The Festival™ at Cheltenham with Albertas Run, who claimed the 2008 Royal & SunAlliance Novices’ Chase and the 2010 and 2011 Ryanair Chase, as well as last year’s Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury with Cloth Cap.
O’Neill said: “It is nice to get a winner especially today after Mr Hemmings passed away last night. He was a huge supporter of racing and was an inspirational character.
“He will be a massive loss to racing. He loved his staying chasers and he was only buying store horses in August. He always looked towards the future.
“We had some great luck with him in the past with the likes of Albertas Run and Cloth Cap, but there were plenty of others as well. It is a great shame that we have lost him.”
On the length and a half success secured by his 9-1 winner he added: “He had done nothing wrong at home but he wasn’t necessarily a massively flashy horse.
“We wanted to get him round and have a nice experience but he showed a good turn of foot and put it to bed nicely.”
“HE WAS VERY GOOD TO ME” – TOM SCUDMAORE
Jockey Tom Scudamore was another to pay tribute to Hemmings following his two and three quarter length victory aboard Peltwell (17-2), who started where she left off when completing a five-timer in the Racing TV Handicap Hurdle.
The Grade One-winning rider thanked Hemmings for providing him a day to remember last season with success aboard Cloth Cap in the Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury.
Scudamore said: “Mr Hemmings was very good to me and he gave me one of my best days of my career last year when I won the Ladbrokes Trophy on Cloth Cap.
“Everything has already been said about what a great man he was but he was also a great supporter of Jump racing.
“He will always be remembered for everything he has achieved in the sport. He was an absolute gentleman.”
There was late drama in the two mile prize when Glimpse Of Gold, who was challenging for victory, unseated Alexander Thorne. However, Scudamore felt he had victory secured at the time of the incident.
On the Neil Mulholland-trained winner he added: “I think I had the other horse beat. She has her own way of doing things but she jumped the last well.
“She travelled really well and it was great to see her pick up where she left off. She has been very well placed.”
YOUR DARLING BEGINNING TO FULFIL HIS POTENTIAL
Your Darling continued to fulfil his lofty reputation when putting in a near foot perfect round of jumping to make a winning debut over fences in the Racing TV Novices’ Handicap Chase.
Once described by former trainer Henrietta Knight as the best horse she had purchased since Best Mate, the gelded son of Shirocco put in a round of jumping the triple Cheltenham Gold Cup winner would have been proud of.
Steadily working his way into contention, the 100-30 chance cleared right away from his rivals after the last in the two and a half mile prize before scoring by an eased down three and three quarter lengths under Luca Morgan.
Ben Pauling, winning trainer, said: “It didn’t take me by surprise as we know how good he is but he is not fit. It was a case of ‘have we done enough?’ so it was his class that got him through.
“He is a lovely horse and was given a great ride by Luca. He has been a bit keen early doors in his races before so we didn’t want to do that today so we decided to ride him quietly and he has been a different kettle of fish today.
“It was great to see him jump so well. It is very special for everyone associated with the horse as Lord and Lady Vesty died last year and he is now in the ownership of the children.
“Let’s hope he can start to get back to where he should be now.”
SOMEWHAT CLOUDY THE CLEAR WINNER
Somewhat Cloudy vindicated owner Charlotte McCracken’s faith in her when needing a photo finish to gain a career first success in the Racing TV Mares’ Maiden Hurdle.
Having jumped the last in the extended 2m 3f prize with a clear advantage, the 4-1 chance did just enough to repel Worcester bumper winner I Spy A Diva by a nose.
McCracken said of the Donald McCain-trained winner: “I had total faith in her that she held on. I thought she ran really well and learnt a lot from her last start at Cartmel.
“One fell in front of us early on that day and that just lit her up but she settled a lot better today and jumped well. She just got a bit lonely in front.
“Brian (Hughes) just said we could drop her back to two miles on a more galloping track.”
McCracken hopes that Somewhat Cloudy can go on and follow in the hoofprints of stablemate, and dual Listed winner Bannixtown Glory, who last week picked up the Leading Hurdler prize at The McCoys, the awards which celebrate brilliance in Jump racing across Jockey Club Racecourses.
She added: “She came from Aidan Fitzgerald who I got Bannixtown Glory from. It would be nice if she could pick up some black type like her as that is what you want from mares.”
RAILWAY ON RIGHT TRACK IN LAST
Trainer Sarah Humphrey left the Cambridgeshire track in good spirits after Railway Muice completed a four-timer for the campaign with a battling success in the concluding racingtv.com Handicap Hurdle.
It looked as though it was going to be a day to forget for the West Wratting handler who had earlier seen Glimpse Of Gold fall at the last while still in contention for victory in the Racing TV Handicap Hurdle.
But her spirits were soon lifted after the gelded son of Yeats followed up his success at the track over fences seven days ago when making all under Nick Scholfield to defeat Bean In Trouble by two lengths.
Humphrey said of the 100-30 winner: “The plan was if they were going to go to slow make it. Nick decided the race needed a bit more pace so he went off in front. He felt like it rode like a better race than the one of fences last week.
“Good ground is key to him and if it doesn’t run much in the next fortnight he might run again as he is in fine form but if not we will give him a rest as he has now won four races in a row and the handicapper will have his say.”
Reflecting on Glimpse Of Gold’s late mishap, which left jockey Alexander Thorne requiring treatment on a suspected dislocated shoulder at Hinchingbrooke Hospital, Huntingdon, Humphrey believes the 10 year old gelding was all set to open his account for the campaign.
She said: “He came there to win his race and I think he was going to win. He just jinked before the hurdle and Alex fell off.
“The horse is okay and will probably go to Fakenham now the meeting after next to try and gain compensation.”