Teenage apprentice sensation Billy Loughnane proved he is a jockey for all surfaces by winning first of the turf campaign.
The race saw teenage apprentice jockey Billy Loughnane secure a poignant win on the Robyn Brisland-trained Doddie’s Impact – a horse named after Scottish rugby union legend Doddie Weir who died in November, and helps raise funds to fight Motor Neurone Disease.
Loughnane had been tearing up the all-weather tracks this winter and had racked up 40 winners, having got off the mark only last November. Despite having ridden in only two races on turf, the 17-year-old managed to collect the first two-year-old race of the campaign, as he forced Doddie’s Impact past 3-1 favourite Valadero close home for a neck success.
“That went very nicely,” Loughnane said. “Mr Brisland had him in good shape coming in to it and he’s done it nicely in the end. I’d been in in the week to have a little sit on him before he ran and I thought he’d go close. I think he might have had a tough opponent there today but he knuckled down well and got the job done. He wanted to win.”
Reflecting on his success, Loughnane said: “This is great. We’ve had a good winter and fingers crossed it keeps going. Mr Brisland put me up without a claim and it’s a big move putting a claimer up in a race like this. It was class.” Trainer Mark’s son had been unable to draw his usual 5lb allowance due to the value of the Brocklesby Stakes, but that did not stop him from collecting the victory.
Mike Hocking, of ownership group Cross Channel Racing, was delighted with the outcome, saying: “That was fantastic. We were confident the horse was going to get the trip but what a story. Doddie Weir was an absolute legend and it’s raising awareness and raising money to try to find a cure. We have ten yearlings and whatever they win, 50 per cent of the prize-money goes to the charity and 50 per cent of the resale value of the horse. That purpose is massively important. We’re bringing people together through horse racing to raise money and awareness.”