Young jockey chalks up first victory

Young jockey Daniel Naidu's dream seemed shattered when he was thrown to the ground by his horse Renege The Joker before coming under starter's orders.

Young jockey Daniel Naidu's dream seemed shattered when he was thrown to the ground by his horse Renege The Joker before coming under starter's orders.

But determined 16-year-old Daniel had the last laugh after climbing back into the saddle and romping home to victory in the amateurs' charity race at Fakenham Racecourse yesterday.

It was a dramatic start and finish to the flat race and there was loud cheering from the thousands of spectators for the Attleborough High student, who met the age qualification for competitors by turning 16 two days earlier.

Back in the winners' enclosure, the victor could not conceal his delight at winning his first race - even beating his mum Karen, who celebrates her 42nd birthday on Tuesday.

As he accepted the applause after the one mile four furlong race, a mud-splattered Daniel said he was “absolutely flabbergasted”.

“I didn't think I'd won because it all went so quickly. At one point I thought my horse had run out of energy and then he started to pick up speed and he closed down the lead. All I kept looking at was the finish post making sure I kept going to the end.”

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Daniel, of Bryony Close, Attleborough, recalled his dramatic start after his horse reared up and threw him off.

“I ran after him and other people were also trying to catch him and eventually one of the stewards, William Wales, caught him. But it didn't put me off and it was great that I have won. It was my first race and I want to be a jockey,” he said.

His proud mum Karen said she was absolutely delighted that her son had won. “I am over the mood and feel very proud of his achievement in his first race,” she said.

There was more drama for Daniel's grandmother, Sue Capstick, who had flown into the country from France especially to see Daniel's debut race.

“Unfortunately, I and my daughter, Selina Smith, were stuck in a traffic hold-up in Swaffham and arrived too late to see the race. “I just burst into tears when I got here (to Fakenham) but I know that Daniel will ride more races and I will definitely be there to see him,” said Mrs Capstick.

The oldest competitor was 69-year-old Fred Farrow, of Runcton Holme, near Downham Market, and at one point he was leading the field. Fred said later that he thoroughly enjoyed the race, which he has previously won.

The riders were raising money for the Countryside Alliance and other charities.

Gemma Chillcott, riding in her first race and finishing in 10th place, won the prize for raising the most sponsorship of £5,400 with £750 for Countryside Alliance and the rest for the Swaffham branch of Macmillan Cancer support.

“The branch supported two friends who died last year who were associated with the West Norfolk Foxhounds and they gave fantastic support to them and their families,” she said.

Ms Chillcott, of Aylsham, is a helicopter pilot working on the North Sea gas rigs and the idea for the race came up over a glass of wine. “It's all over very quickly and if I were to do it again I would kick on earlier.”

She added: “If you were to ask me which is the more frightening, competing in the amateurs race or flying a helicopter over the sea in the dark and pouring rain and landing on a rig, I would say flying the helicopter.”

Runner-up in the race was Daryl Chinn on Shaika, in third place was Nikki Rodger riding Alexander Sapphire and in fourth was Alison Thorne on Lucy Babe.