Sharp Bullet shoots to first win

PHOTO: NEIL CROSS'5-year-old Sharp Bullet recently got his first race win under his belt under the reigns of stable amateur Nicky Stead at Lancashire Racing Stables, Barnacre, Garstang
PHOTO: NEIL CROSS'5-year-old Sharp Bullet recently got his first race win under his belt under the reigns of stable amateur Nicky Stead at Lancashire Racing Stables, Barnacre, Garstang

THE team at Lancashire Racing Stables at Barnacre, are celebrating success after one of their horses raced home for his first ever victory.

Five-year-old Sharp Bullet and amateur rider Nicky Stead won in a thrilling photo-finish at Catterick.

The win was a long time coming for Sharp Bullet after being placed in 18 of his starts this year, beaten in three by just a head, a neck and a nose.

And it was a proud moment for partners and racing stable owners Paul Clarkson and Stella Barclay, who after breeding and training racing horses for many years, only moved into racing on their own last year.

Paul, employed by the Northern Racecourses as Raceday Presenter (Master of Ceremonies) during race meetings, said: “He has always run well for us, and we knew he had it in him for a win, but on a few previous races there have been horses just that tiny bit better.

“I’ve been in the game a long, long time, you have to have winners, that’s what it’s all about.”

It was also an excellent achievement for former Myerscough College student Nicky, 26, who only received her jockey’s licence six-months-ago and to date has competed in just five races.

She said: “It was just really exciting, we thought he had a chance but to win was amazing, really nice.”

Nicky, who lives in Garstang, has worked with Stella and Paul for three years, said she welcomed the opportunity to gain her racing training.

“I just decided to give it a go for the fun of it really,” she said, “Just to take part in the racing is amazing – I really enjoy it and want to keep at it to see how well I can do.”

Paul added: “Nicky is a very good rider and has worked really hard. She did really well to win from their starting place.

“The idea now is to get her a few more rides under the belt and then have other trainers take an interest and want to use her as well.”

The racing stables, located off Strickens Lane, currently homes 25 horses, all currently under the tutelage of resident trainer and former jockey Bruce Hellier, from Dolphinholme.

It was Bruce who bought Sharp Bullet at the Doncaster sales, back in 2009.

And work is now ongoing for an a second stables. The expansion will allow space for around 40 horses, which Paul and Stella hope will help local owners be able to keep their horses closer to home.

Paul said: “We have a lot of potential here. There are only five racing stables in the whole of Lancashire.

“There are none in Greater Manchester and only two in Merseyside.

“There are lots of racehorse owners in Lancashire, but they have their horses trained in Yorkshire where there are a lot of stables.

“But to go and see them train, they have to travel two hours there and two hours back.

“Here you can actually get involved, by seeing them training up on the gallop. You can come as often as you like, not just seeing them at the races.”