Medals all round as Decoration of War strikes again for Max Young
It's little more than a week since this column was celebrating the growing success of Droitwich handler, Max Young, a graduate of Point-to-Point racing in the West Midlands. But success breeds success, and like London buses, winners can come in clutches.
So it was yesterday at Uttoxeter, when 6 year old Flat graduate, Decoration of War, followed up a Bank Holiday success at Cartmel with a handsome 10l victory in a Novices' Handicap Hurdle at the Staffordshire track. Always handy and taking it up three out, he asserted at the second last, and won unchallenged from Gary Hanmer's Hillview.
It's not so often that young trainers send out 11/8 favourites, but perhaps this is as much a mark of the higher estimation in which Max is held as much as the horse's rating and capability.
The sport of Point-to-Point racing relishes these successes that forge a career path for talented riders and trainers to earn a living from the sport in which they grew up. Time and again, the sport offers a springboard for young men and women to become jockeys or trainers and join the professional game. There is much to be proud about. Football clubs from the Premiership to the National League spend huge sums each year on developing their academy players and often survive by the sale of these to bigger clubs. Racing, underwritten by owners of horses, has a ready-made route for young talent to find its way through. It's the cheapest and most successful investment the Levy Board will ever make to sustain the Jumping game.
Point-to-Points are only possible through the efforts of legions of volunteers and creative fundraising to support them, made all the more important after the two year hiatus due to the wet winter of 2019-20 merging with the onset of Covid restrictions. So it's reassuring to see that the newly enlarged West Mercian are that now includes fixtures in the north-west and deeper into Herefordshire, is launching its season with an online auction, with loads of great prizes to suit every pocket. From boxes at Cheltenham to Christmas cakes and hats, there really is something for everyone. Get registered to put in your bid before the auction closes on September 24.
So next time you visit Knightwick in any capacity, whether for social reasons or as a participant, look about you. You could be looking at the next Champion Jockey or Trainer a few years down the line.