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Painful end to Duran Fentiman ’s season
A Ryedale Flat jockey, enjoying his best-ever campaign, has been forced to call time early on the season, following a heavy fall which has left him nursing his first injury in nine years of riding.
Duran Fentiman came to grief leaving the stalls at Catterick on Saturday and suffered a broken collarbone, which is set to keep him sidelined for the remainder of the season, which ends on November 10, and for a few more weeks after.
“It’s pretty painful at the moment, especially at nights, but at least it’s only broken and has not displaced, so there is no surgery required on it,” he said.
“I’ve got to go back to York Hospital next Monday so they can check it’s healing properly, but I think I’m probably looking at four or five weeks before I can ride again.”
Fentiman was partnering the Neville Bycroft-trained Shotley Mac in Catterick’s seven-furlong handicap when the accident occurred. The 40-1 shot took a false step leaving the stalls and parted company with his jockey.
“You’re not really expecting it. He just took one stride out of the stalls and stumbled and I went straight into the ground. I knew straight away I’d done a collarbone,” said Fentiman.
“It’s one of those things and I’d have to admit I’ve had a hell of a good run. I’ve been riding nine years and this is the first injury I’ve had.”
Attached to the Great Habton stable of Tim Easterby, Fentiman has enjoyed a memorable campaign. Although his 29 winners falls eight shy of last year’s best-ever tally, 2012 has seen the lightweight jockey accumulate more than £400,000 in prize money, almost double the amount he had secured in any of his previous seasons.
One horse has been responsible for boosting his bank balance – the hugely-talented Body And Soul, trained by Easterby, and one of the season’s most exciting juveniles. Twice she hit jackpot with Fentiman aboard, firstly in the Weatherby’s Super Sprint at Newbury in July and, more recently, in the Redcar Two-Year-Old Trophy. The brace of victories grossed prize money of just under £250,000.
“They were my two biggest wins by far,” said Fentiman, who acknowledges the debt he owes to the flying two-year-old. “I’ve never ridden one like her. She’s something else and she’s absolutely made my season.”
Although Fentiman, pictured inset after the big Redcar win, is disappointed he won’t have the opportunity of partnering Body And Soul again this season, if Easterby takes up the option of running her in France within the next couple of weeks, the Ryedale jockey is philosophical about his injury.
“It could have been worse and it could have come at a much worse time, like just before Newbury or on the run-up to Redcar,” he said. “As it is, the season is nearly over anyway.
“And,” he joked, “I could do with a rest.”
• Duran Fentiman missed a winner at Pontefract on Monday when Zehoofa, trained by Tim Walford, gamely won the longest race on the card.
She made all the running in Pontefract’s Bluff Cove Handicap over a gruelling two and a quarter miles on heavy ground and defied her 20-1 odds by hanging on grimly to win by a length. Paddy Aspell was given the mount in Fentiman’s absence.
“Paddy gave her a great ride. He’s only ridden for me twice, but that’s two winners he’s had for me now, both on this mare,” said delighted Sheriff Hutton handler Walford.
“She’s a marvellous mare as that’s seven she’s won, Flat and jumps, in just over a year. We tried to give her a holiday, but she doesn’t like holidays. She likes work and she came here in great form. She was bonkers when I lunged her on Sunday.”
The Flat season hasn’t fared too kindly for Walford, who has found winners hard to come by, but he is optimistic about the jumps campaign ahead, and also the general well-being of his string. He revealed: “Our horses haven’t been right, but they’re right now.”
• Duran Fentiman is not the only jockey in the wars. An injury has also befallen the main rival to North Yorkshire-based Amy Ryan in her quest to become the first woman in Britain to win the apprentice championship outright, a scenario which now looks a very real possibility with Darren Egan dramatically out of the reckoning.
Ryan and Egan were locked in battle until the latter suffered an untimely setback at Wolverhampton last weekend, suffering a crashing fall which left him nursing a broken collarbone and a shoulder injury.
“It’s very bad luck on Darren. That could have happened to any of us,” said Ryan, daughter of Hambleton trainer Kevin, who now looks to have an unassailable lead in the junior championship with just over two weeks of the turf season remaining.
A former amateur champion, Ryan will be bidding to top the achievement of Hayley Turner, who became the first female to win the apprentice championship in 2005, but who was forced to share the honours in a tie with Saleem Golam.
• Mick Easterby’s love affair with Wolverhampton continues. Although the all-weather venue is rarely visited by the Sheriff Hutton trainer, his horses have a tremendous record on its Polytrack surface, a fact highlighted by a further two course winners last week.
On Friday, he scored with 7-4 favourite Above Standard, the mount of accomplished apprentice David Simmonson, and 24 hours later Easterby struck again with Tapis Libre, a 12-1 winner for Matthew Hopkins, a recent apprentice addition to the Ryedale yard.
The two winners completed a good week for Easterby, who had also scored with the in-form Ivestar, in the hands of Graham Gibbons, at Kempton on Wednesday.
Wolverhampton continues to be a happy hunting ground for the Ryedale clan. Peter Niven saddled a 12-1 winner there last week with Barton Bounty, coming home late and fast under Dale Swift, who gave the handicapper a peach of a ride.
• Linda Stubbs has had some anxious moments with Polar Chief, but the two-year-old is repaying the skill and patience of the Norton trainer and her team.
At Haydock last Friday, Polar Chief, who had made a winning debut at Musselburgh, made it two from two under a strong ride from Paddy Mathers in the nursery.
“He can gallop and he loved the (heavy) ground,” said Stubbs. “He hasn’t been easy. He was a very difficult horse to break in and he was quite a handful when he ran at Musselburgh. The reason we gave him plenty of time between his two races was to get him settled, and to keep his head right. That’s it for the year with him now. He’ll strengthen up over the winter and be a better horse next season.”
•The jumps season is fast getting into top gear and Tim Easterby has every reason to look forward with relish to the winter campaign.
The dual-purpose Great Habton trainer marked Wetherby’s first meeting of the season last Wednesday with a winner and also received a lot more encouragement from three of his beaten horses.
Tiptoeaway scored for Easterby in the two miles handicap chase, the likeable gelding making a winning start to the campaign under Brian Harding with a workmanlike 8-1 victory which augurs well for the future. Tiptoeaway is owned by Trevor Hemmings, one of jump racing’s staunchest supporters and an owner who has enjoyed success at the highest level at Cheltenham, Aintree and in the Grand National with Hedgehunter and Ballabriggs.
For all that Easterby was thrilled with Tiptoeaway, he could also take considerable satisfaction from the performances of Juvenile hurdler Forster Street, who ran his best race to date to finish second, and Lease Lend and Fourjacks, who ran super races on their return to the track after lengthy absences.
Lease Lend, who is something of a course specialist having won at Wetherby three times, was returning from a 551-day absence in the featured Bobby Renton Handicap Chase and, set to carry top weight of 11st 12lb, was priced accordingly at 28-1.
But he belied those odds by running a mighty race to finish third under Harry Haynes after looking a likely winner at the penultimate fence. In the hope that whatever problems had been ailing him are now behind him, Lease Lend should add to his Wetherby scoresheet in the weeks and months ahead.
It was a similar story with Fourjacks in the novices’ hurdle. He was returning from a 623-day break from racecourse duties, but found only the odds-on Dursey Sound too strong by a length and a half after the pair had drawn 17 lengths clear of the remainder of the field.
A horse who had previously shown stacks of potential, Fourjacks looks sure to pay his way given a clean shot at this season.
Mention of local horses running extremely well in defeat at Wetherby would hardly be complete without including the Brian Ellison-trained Bothy, who went down fighting in the handicap hurdle, finishing a one-length second to Hi Dancer when trying to concede the winner no less than 21lb.
Bothy, a leading handicap hurdler a couple of seasons back, is another to have spent a lengthy spell on the sidelines. Although he had had an outing on the Flat to prep him for his reappearance over hurdles, he still looked on the burly side at Wetherby and can be made fitter yet. He deserves to find a sizeable prize this winter for Ellison and his team.