Emotional day for former services man Snowden on Grand Military Gold Cup Day

Peter Moore at Sandown Park 26th January 2024

Grand Military Gold Cup Day at Sandown Park proved an emotional day for trainer Jamie Snowden and jockey Major Will Kellard in the feature race of the day, The Grand Military Gold Cup.

The jockey, who serves in the Royal Lancers, punched the air in wild celebration after riding his very first winner on the nine year old Farceur Du Large.

The horse, trained by Snowden, who won this race four times a jockey, finally gave the Lambourne trainer his first success in this race.

Snowden, who had previously spent time in the services, was on hand top great both horse and jockey with a massive smile on his face.

The horse, which was bought specifically for this race by Snowden’s former corporal Jordan Wylie, put the race to bed after the last to win by four and a half lengths from Rose Of Arcadia.

“I’ve been riding since 2015 and I’ve come second and third in this and in point-to-points,” the 32-year-old rider said. “I’ve hit the crossbar so many times and it’s been such a long time coming.

“It was the perfect spin. Jamie and Jordan came up with a dream to have racehorses together and they’ve been trying to win this race for a good few years, so it means a hell of a lot. I worked as a pupil assistant for Richard Lee before joining the army ten years ago and it’s such a great thing to be able to combine my career with the sport I love.

“You put all that work into it and you’re fortunate enough to get any rides. To ride here in particular is absolutely incredible. I would have been happy to keep riding round Sandown even if I never got a winner, but to win the Grand Military is something else.”

Speaking to the racing media after the race, a delighted Snowden said “This race was very good to me in the past and to come back and win it is amazing, because if it wasn’t for these kind of days I wouldn’t be where I am now,” Snowden said.

“From the back of my first win here I was let off to ride horses throughout my army career, so I’ve always wanted to win this since I started training.

“It may not be the most prestigious of races we’ve been lucky enough to win, but in my heart it’s very important.”

The Lambourne trainer also hinted that the horse will be returning back to Sandown next month for the Royal Artillery Gold Cup.

It was also a winning afternoon for in form trainer Gary Moore who came away from the Surrey track with a double through Ballybentragh in the opener and Kotmask in the novices steeple chase.

David Maxwell forged a successful new partnership with Gary Moore as  denied South Of The Border to score on his rules debut in the 2m novice hurdle, before Kotmask prevailed under Niall Houlihan.

Jockey Harry Cobden bagged a late double at the track by winning the penultimate race of the day on the Anthony Charlton trained Havaila and Gyllen in the final race of the afternoon.

Gyllen was trained by relatively new trainer Kayley Woollacott, who is based at Crewkerne in the West Country.

The Somerset based Woollacott who has a very small yard, was another happy person on Saturday after saddling her first ever winner at Sandown.

Earlier in the day joint trainers Phillip Hobbs and Johnson White secured another winner when Georgi Girl was a comfortable winner of the Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother Amateur Jockeys Handicap Hurdle over two miles.

The Minehead based yard is really flying at the moment, with Georgi Girl making it two wins in their last four runners with an impressive 42% strike rate in the past 14 days.