A heartening moment on Sunday that shows the true spirit of racing really can make a difference and bring a smile to the faces of the public.
Zain Al Boldan’s win in the Lingfield Oaks Trial has not only opened the door to yet another series of reminders in the press that the Trainer is yet to win a Classic, but it also thrust Sam Hitchcott to the forefront of his own conciousness and gave a few others a timely reminder that he’s the bloke we seldom see in the flesh, but often calls on his way home from places called “Pontefract” and “Carlisle” in order to be heavily criticised by He who knows best.
The Racing Post described young Hitchcott’s role as that of “Stable Backroom Jockey” which raised a few eyebrows at West Ilsley.
For a kick-off, we were unaware of the fact that there was a frontroom for jockeys so where on earth we keep the backroom was anyone’s guess. As it happens, the diminutive Evertonian was tracked down after early lot this morning drinking coffee in his very own backroom next to a stable, so it appears that the Post’s Jon Lees was 100% accurate in his description of Sam’s role at the yard.
So, The Oaks may very well beckon for both Zain Al Boldan and Samuel Hitchcott who, to prove he’s not lost the common touch amid all of the press jamboree made an appearance at Lady Ilsley’s 123rd birthday on Sunday afternoon.
It was a modest affair – hula hoops, scotch eggs, caviar, Blue Nun – that sort of thing, whilst I was forced to turn the Queen away as she wasn’t on the guest List and I hadn’t anyone on hand to open doors or listen to her husband.
“Lady I” was in great form though and thoroughly enjoyed the company of her four young children and newborn baby Horace, before a certain high-profile backroom jockey strode into the room to the delight of everybody. Just have a look at the photo my biographer managed to capture below. In the words of Barry Davies, “Look at his face! Just look at his face!”