There were emotional scenes at Wincanton when 16-year-old Freddie Gingell registered his first winner under rules from just his second ride on West Approach, trained by his grandfather Colin Tizzard.
Gingell is the son of Tizzard’s daughter Kim, who died of cancer aged 43 nearly two years ago, and has clearly inherited some of his uncle Joe’s skills in the saddle.
Still to sit his exams, Gingell, who is based at nearby Mere, received a big reception from his local crowd and was given a shake of the hand by Paul Nicholls, trainer of the only other runner, the 1-2 favourite Alcala.
West Approach was highly tried in his youth but appeared to have lost his way. That was until he teamed up with Gingell, who coaxed some prodigious leaps from the 12-year-old on his way to a success he will never forget.
“It was amazing. This horse jumps for fun and when I’m schooling him at home he is always jumping off. He is amazing and I knew I had a good horse underneath me,” said Gingell.
“I’ve got racing blood in me, so this is what I should be doing hopefully. It is amazing being in the weighing room but we have a few of the boys in schooling on a Wednesday, so I know most of them which is even better.
“My confidence did start growing turning in, but I still had three tough fences to get over. I couldn’t believe it really (when I saw the winning post looming). It is only my fourth ride (including point-to-points) and I’m still a novice rider. It is amazing to have a winner under Rules.
“It does mean more to ride that first winner here as I can’t say I ever miss a meeting at Wincanton. If I go to school, I’m always here for the last race.
“Mum is probably up there crying now, wishing all the best to me. It is a shame that she can’t be here to see it, but that is life. She wanted me to do my best.”
Regarding the future Gingell, said: “I want to stay amateur this season and see where that takes me. I leave school in May and hopefully I can concentrate more on my racing then.
“It would be nice to get my conditional licence next season, but I’m only 16 and in no rush.”
Tizzard added: “My heart is still beating now as for the last circuit the horse was absolutely loving it and Fred was loving it and that goes through the reins.
“I’ve never seen this horse jump like that. I know it was only a two-horse race, but it was beautiful to watch. It was lovely for Fred. He wants to be a jockey and he is advertising himself now.
“We will never forget Kim, but things have moved on. If she is watching now, she will have loved every second of it.
“Today is to be enjoyed for a young rider, who has got no nerves in his body and can see a stride, and a horse that sees a stride and off they go. It was absolutely fantastic.
“Of course he is going to have a good chance (of being a jockey) because of where he is.”