Leicestershire-based Point-to-Point trainer and rider Lizzie Harris won the inaugural charity side saddle race at Wincanton racecourse yesterday with her own Lough Inch.
The race, run in aid of the Southern Spinal Injuries Trist (SSIT), saw 11 immaculately dressed ladies from Britain and Ireland racing over a flat course of a mile and a quarter.
Harris, 35, from Waltham-on-the-Wolds, punched the air as she crossed the finish line on her 17-hand, 8 year-old bay gelding. Susan Oakes, from Ireland, claimed second on The Hollinwell and American Eagle, ridden by Tabby Prest, finishing third.
“I was about five or six lengths down as we rounded the final bend,” revealed Harris,”so I asked Loughie if he had anything more to give. His reply was basically ‘quite a lot actually!’ I think he could have easily gone quite a lot further!”
Lough Inch was originally raced under rules out of the Jonjo O’Neill yard, but was deemed better suited to pointing and came to Harris’ yard, just outside Waltham, where she trains with partner Tom Morgan. He has won seven Point-to-Point races out of ten starts, ridden first by Sam Davies-Thomas and, more recently, by Tom’s sister Kelly Morgan. “It really is a family affair”, joked Lizzie, who has also taken Lough Inch out hunting to broaden his experience.
“we’ve been preparing him to race at Cottenham at the end of November, so most of his fast, fitness work has been astride. I first put a side saddle on him about five weeks ago and he took to it really well. He wasn’t remotely bothered.”
Harris first became a side saddle devotee seven years ago when she was given a lesson by trainer Roger Philpot. She has hunted sideways, and was the Side Saddle Rider of the Year in 2012. In 2014 she won the Dianas of the Chase cross country side saddle race on another Point-to-Point horse, Smiths Hill.
Watch a video of the final two furlongs Side Saddle dash at Wincanton racecourse.