IT has been an excellent start to 2014 for a racing trainer based near Morpeth.
Simon Waugh has been training Point to Pointers for many years with a good deal of success.
Two years ago, he took out a full licence to train under rules with a supportive and patient group of owners and many of them came along to a recent meeting at Newcastle Racecourse where he had his first winner since making the transition.
Total Assets ran a reasonable race at Perth in her first race over hurdles and she then impressed in finishing second at Musselburgh on December 9 – she was ridden by Grand National winning jockey Ryan Mania.
A tough choice faced Simon as the new year began. It would have been a less ambitious decision to go back to Musselburgh over the same distance to see if she could perhaps go one better.
But after taking into account that while she finished well ahead of the rest of field on December 9, Total Assets appeared to empty just before the last hurdle, he decided she would benefit from a race shorter by two furlongs at Newcastle.
Other factors were her breeding, which shows a preference for softer going, and her tendency to be a bit of a poor traveller.
The heavy going at Newcastle put the pressure on even more, but Simon stuck to his convictions and he was right. She won the race, battling hard and going away again at the finish.
Jockey Ryan may well have received a bigger welcome into the winner’s enclosure than he did after winning the Grand National and after the meeting, most of The Northumberland Racing Club syndicate ended up at the pub run by Simon’s farrier.
Simon trains at a highly professional yard in Molesden and his facilities include an all-weather gallop and starting stalls for the flat horses.
His daughter, Amie, an accomplished Point to Point jockey, is a key work rider and she did all the schooling of Total Assets. Ryan said the mare was foot perfect. Amie’s mother, Pip, is training in equine sports massage so will be able to contribute to the training operation.
The Northumberland Racing Club did have another horse, Aw Ripe China, but he unfortunately had to be put down at Sedgefield. The yard is still looking for his replacement.
Ryan rode on a regular basis for Simon before he won the Grand National and remains loyal by riding and schooling whenever he can.
The club has 25 members and most of them live in Northumberland, including actor and television presenter Robson Green. New members are welcome as there are still shares available at a one off payment of £676 for two horses for a year.
For more information about the set up at Molesden, visit www.simonwaughracing.co.uk