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Peter Taplin & Sue Bunney's KOEMAN returns with a beaming Charlie Bishop after victory on Friday afternoon


A very pleasing victory for Peter Taplin & Sue Bunney's KOEMAN who showed the benefits of a very pleasing return at Kempton last month to follow up with victory in the Class 3, mile and a half handicap for four year olds and up at Lingfield on Friday afternoon.

The four year old son of Dutch Art showed plenty towards the end of 2017 to suggest that he'd truly come into his own this time around and he took this event in commanding fashion, overcoming a bump inside the distance to score by half a length over Island Brave, Amazing Red & Fearsome who finished in close order in behind.

This was KOEMAN's fourth career victory and the previous three all came in the second half of last season, seeing him rise in the weights from a rating of 71 to Friday's mark of 85. That obviously looks set to rise again and Mick is very much looking forward to the season proper with a very promising type.

"He's been a slow burner this lad and it's easy to see why because he's very rangey and always had the scope to improve with time and a step up in trip. He's certainly done that and he sees the mile and a half trip out really well.

"He was caught for a bit of toe as they quickened for home but Charlie (Bishop) didn't panic and although he recieved a bump in the closing stages, he'd already got into gear and saw it out nicely.

"Pete and Sue might have a lot of fun this season. They've been very patient but he's always shown promise and he might well get further and turn into a staying type.

"We all want to go to the big venues and Goodwood is a real favourite of Pete's so we'll see what we can do."

Posted By: Wilsley News

Tim Radford, Brian Hughes, MISTER WHITAKER & his Lass Lenka return in triumph yesterday afternoon


There's 'thrilling' and there's 'THRILLING' and yesterday on the opening day of the Cheltenham Festival, the Radford Family's MISTER WHITAKER took the closer, winning the two and a half mile Close Brothers Novices' Handicap Chase (Listed) by a mere whisker.

It was enthralling, exciting, nail-bitingly dramatic and utterly brilliant as Brian Hughes danced with perfection to deliver a foot perfect ride on a very promising young horse to win by a head on the line to deny Rather Be.

These days seldom come along and seldom are they so exhillarating in their execution but yesterday was as close to perfect as you could get for all connections - having watched the replay countless times, it's difficult to see there being a ride this week that might rival the one given to MISTER WHITAKER.

I think everyone is still on cloud nine and will be for quite some time.

Brian and Mister Whitaker

For the Radford family, this was the culmination of almost twenty years of plotting, planning and praying for a winner at the Festival and the scenes in the winner's enclosure reflected that. They certainly don't have a vast fleet of horses in training but they are usually well selected and represent value. They've had plenty of winners along the way and a few near misses but for Mick, it was a great day that will be difficult to top. Not that he's not already looking to do so.

"That was a real thrill and the way he did it was quite something. We learnt from his victory on trials day that he can idle in front so we told Brian not to hit the front too soon - he certainly did that! A brilliant ride from a tremendous jockey.

"It's been a real team effort; from Hen buying him from the Costellos, to Tim having patience because we had a few irritating setbacks early on but this year MISTER WHITAKER has just flourished.

"We had to hold our nerve, he only just crept in and was bottom of the handicap but you can't help but look forward with him and you'd hope this isn't the last time he's successful at the festival.

"He's a real athlete, not overly big but he's got a touch of class about him. The ground was very hard work but he'll be better on a sounder surface. He'll probably get three miles and with his jumping you'd hope that he's better than a handicapper - I can't wait to see what he becomes - next year, if he goes on and stays sound, we could very well shake them up again.

"We've only got four jumpers so this makes it extra special and seeing Tim and the whole Radford team celebrate like they did meant everything to me. They lost a wife and a mother in Camilla, who loved her jumping, and she was in everyones' thoughts today. It was quite emotional to be honest. 


"Boy though, was there some celebration! Even the 'Windmill' came out!

It was a truly great day."

Posted By: Wilsley News