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The Radford Family's MISTER WHITAKER - A winner at Cheltenham yesterday afternoon


The headline is a bit over the top but I liked the ring to it and a winner for the Radfords at Cheltenham is worth singing from the rooftops and I suspect Tim was doing just that.

It was MISTER WHITAKER who prevailed at Prestbury Park as the six year old son of Court Cave took the two mile five furlong Class 2 Novices Handicap Chase under Adrian Heskin.

MISTER WHITAKER has shown plenty this season to suggest that he's a horse to take us places and after victory at Carlisle in November, he followed up with a solid second behind Hell's Kitchen at Kempton on Boxing Day. He was possibly the victim of a tactically astute front runner that day but yesterday in heavy ground he showed that he's an emerging force to be taken seriously in the coming months.

A return to Cheltenhman looks very much on the cards as the Close Brothers Handicap looks ideal for him and Mick is very much relishing the prospect.

"There aren't too many issues in terms of where we hope to run in March! Tim sponsors the Gold Cup and it's obviously all about the festival with plenty in our favour. He'll go up to a rating that will put us in the race and he's proved that he's got a great heart and will handle any ground. 

"Drier conditions in the spring will very much suit him and I couldn't be happier with the horse. He took a bit of time to get in a groove but this season he's been faultless in his attitude and his work at home.

"He was unlucky at Kempton and did nothing wrong there and yesterday he cruised into the race despite an error or two but it's great to know that he can act round Cheltenham.

"To win any race at the Festival would be a dream, particularly for Tim and his family and we can look forward to March with a real sense of optimism."

Yesterday evening, Box 41's HELVETIAN underlined what an exciting prospect he's shaping up to be by taking the Class 4 six furlong handicap under both top weight and Charlie Bishop in convincing style.

The three year old Swiss Spirit colt was a late bloomer in his two year old campaign but has been kept busy enough since his maiden win in August and has certainly thrived over the winter.

He's surely better than his current mark of 88 and Mick is keen to see how good he can be in the coming months before the turf season beckons.

"We'll have to give him and easy time sooner rather than later but for know I'm chuffed that we have a horse who thrives on racing. We've not really asked him too much at home, just kept him ticking over and the rest he's done himself.

"He's suited by a strongly run six furlongs as we saw last night but he's got the scope to get further."

Posted By: Wilsley News

Mick's homebred PATTIE and Charlie Bishop romp home at Lingfield yesterday afternoon


Another West Ilsley filly and another filly by Sixties Icon took Wednesday's feature at Lingfield as PATTIE ran out a convincing winner of the Class 3 32Red/EBF Fillies' Handicap over seven furlongs under Charlie Bishop.

A full sister to the smart Harrison, PATTIE has taken some time to get to grips with in terms of her best trip but yesterday reaffirmed the fact that a strong pace over seven furlongs to a mile suits her down to the ground. Having won on her last start over a mile in 2017, yesterday's reappearance saw her pick off her three rivals and surge home strongly.

Off of a mark of 80, PATTIE was off of bottom weight with Make Music (90), Soul Silver (88) and Yeah Baby Yeah (82) in opposition and once the two highest rated set a very genuine pace up front, Charlie and PATTIE took their time in the early stages.

Coming down the hill though they closed the gap and entering the home straight there was some concern as they were hemmed in on the rail before a gap opened a furlong from home and PATTIE powered to the front to prevail by a convincing length leaving Mick both delighted with the ten grand prize money and the prospects for his home bred's 2018 campaign.

"That was great to see and there's plenty to look forward with her. We messed up a bit last year believing that she'd be best over middle distances but once we realised that she's best used over a shorter trip, it became clear that she's a very straigh forward individual.

"A genuine test isn't always assured with only four runners but it panned out perfectly, Charlie didn't panic and she's done it very nicely.

"Sixties Icon gets all types but she's a bit like him in that she's tough, sound and will only get better from here.

"We'll have to face the handicapper's assessment now because they were no mugs we were up against but I say 'Bring it on'.

"I'm looking forward to seeing how far she can go this year." 

Posted By: Wilsley News

Summer Icon & Charlie Bishop taking the Fast Track Qualifier at Wolverhampton on Thursday


A very pleasing start to 2018 as the Voute Partnership's SUMMER ICON booked a possible date on the All-Weather Champions Day with victory in the Class 2 Fillies' Condition Stakes on Thursday.

With Charlie Bishop up, SUMMER ICON was well placed throughout the seven furlong contest and had the measure of her three rivals throughout to record an impressive victory.

The 84 rated five year old daughter of Sixties Icon faced two 95 rated opponents in Raven's Lady and Diagnostics off of level weights but it didn't show and the Boss was delighted that such a resiliant mare retains all of her enthusiasm for the job in hand.

"She's ultra consistent and ran well in a Class 3 event at Lingfield just before Christmas. She's been on the go for quite a while but this race looked worth a try because she's got a bit of black type behind her and it's now all about picking up what we can while she's in such good heart.

"We'd be hopeful of taking in the seven furlong race on the All-Weather Champions day at Lingfield and we'll see how she is from here. We've done it before with Volunteer Point, so there's every hope that we can repeat the trick with a fine specimen who has bags of ability."

Posted By: Wilsley News