John Smith’s Fox Hunters’ Chase 2013  

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Tartan Snow Settles On Fox Hunters' Prize

1 Tartan Snow 100/1
2 Cool Friend 33/1
3 Rash Move 40/1
24 ran

There was a 100/1 shock result to the John Smith’s Fox Hunters’ Chase when 13-year-old Tartan Snow got up close home to score by a neck for trainer Stuart Coltherd, owner/breeder Rory Westwood and rider Jamie Hamilton.

Tartan Snow

Tartan Snow

Coltherd trains a dozen horses under a full licence and farms 1,300 ewes, while his wife Lesley looks after a point-to-pointer at their Selkirk in the Borders. Westwood also farms and raises sheep – he bred Tartan Snow out of the mare Whitemoss Leader.

Their winner has invariably run well in northern and Scottish chases and hunter chases, and has now won or been placed in 21 of 48 races, but after being beaten by a 14-year-old on his previous outing at Carlisle there can have been few who expected him to win this prestigious race for amateur riders.

Coltherd said: “On his form and handicap rating we could not have expected this, but we always knew better ground suited him and he’s been great fun for his owners – that’s seven races he won for us and he’s had bad luck when falling in the lead on two or three occasions. He deserved this today.

“He wasn’t that far behind Cottage Oak [strongly fancied, but unplaced today] at Kelso in January and he always improves as the season goes on. It’s a bit of a fairytale. I didn’t believe the owner would let us run the horse here. We didn’t know how he would adapt to these fences so we just took it on faith and he pulled out everything. It’s unbelievable – it will make lambing sheep a lot easier.

“I was up at 2am this morning to tend to lambing ewes, got everything done and then at nine o’clock we set off for here. I’ve got someone else to do the night shift so we can enjoy this – it’s what dreams are made of.

“Jamie’s record on this horse is unbelievable – he’s a great little jockey. It’s hard to believe he won a race on the Flat recently at Doncaster, and has now won over the big fences at Aintree!”

Westwood, who has a 150-acre farm with 450 ewes, said: “I bred this horse, but the mare was very difficult to get in foal, and she produced just two foals – this one and his four-year-old half-brother who is unnamed. I bought the mare unraced at Doncaster Sales and she ran just a few times. She died last year.

“We didn’t expect to win this, although we always felt there was a big race in him. We didn’t know where or when. All credit to Stuart and the team – the prize money will go towards his training fees!”

Did he back his shock winner? “I had a fiver each-way on the Tote [a pay out of £843.50],” he said.


John Smith's Fox Hunters' Chase
£40,000 added, 6yo plus, 2m 5f 110y, Class 2
24 ran
Going: Good-Good to Soft in plcs

Starting Price
Beaten Distance
Tartan Snow
W Coltherd
Mr J Hamilton
12st 0lbs
100 - 1
Cool Friend
Oliver Greenall
Mr O Greenall
11st 7lbs
33 - 1
Rash Move
F Hutsby
Mr T Ellis
12st 0lbs
40 - 1
3 3/4 lengths
B R Hamilton
Mr M P Fogarty
12st 0lbs
6 - 1
1 3/4 length
Gentle George
S Flook
Mr N Slatter
12st 0lbs
40 - 1
4 lengths
Sizing America
Miss S Randell
Mr M Hamill
12st 0lbs
66 - 1
3/4 length
P F Nicholls
Mr J Sole
12st 0lbs
6 - 1
2 lengths
Cottage Oak
J J O'Shea
Mr S Waley-Cohen
12st 0lbs
5 - 1
2 1/2 lengths
Cloudy Lane
D McCain Jnr
Mr R O Harding
12st 0lbs
12 - 1
4 1/2 lengths
Boxer Georg
W P Mullins
Mr P W Mullins
12st 0lbs
14 - 1
2 3/4 lengths
Silver Story
William Vaughan
Mr B Gibbs
12st 0lbs
20 - 1
7 lengths
Keenan's Future
S Rea
Mr R Hodges
12st 0lbs
66 - 1
4 1/2 lengths
Defying Gravity
Mrs L Pomfret
Miss B Andrews
12st 0lbs
150 - 1
39 lengths
Emergency Cover
N W Padfield
Miss G Andrews
12st 0lbs
125 - 1
4 lengths
Earth Dream
J P Ferguson
Mr James Ferguson
12st 0lbs



Jamie Hamilton had never ridden under Rules at Aintree before but he made his first ride at the track a winning one when galvanising 100/1 shot Tartan Snow to a neck victory in the John Smith’s Fox Hunters’ Chase.

The 18-year-old amateur rider, who is the son of clerk of the scales Michael Hamilton, is clearly a young jockey going places as he rode his first winner on the Flat a little under two weeks ago for Richard Fahey at Doncaster on Yeomanoftheguard.

Hamilton currently works for Fahey at his Musley Bank base in Malton, North Yorkshire but has his roots in the Scottish borders which made this afternoon’s success even sweeter as Tartan Snow is trained by Selkirk handler Stuart Coltherd.

“It’s great to win this race for Stuart (Coltherd) as I’ve had plenty of support from him and lots of rides as well,” said Hamilton.

“I got outpaced early on in the race but I knew that as long as I stayed in touch, I could be there or thereabouts as all this horse does is stay.

“I knew I’d be in the frame when I crossed the Melling Road as he was jumping so well and he kept galloping all the way to the line.

“I thought I’d won when we crossed the line but you’re never certain until the judge calls the result and thank God he’d got his head in front.”

Tartan Snow gave Hamilton his first ever winner under Rules (at Kelso in February, 2012) and the young rider harbours hopes of making a living from the sport in the near future.

“I’d like to turn professional at some point but I’ll just keep working hard and hopefully keep riding winners. This was my first ride under Rules at Aintree but I’ve ridden here before in some pony races. I’d like to come back here a lot more often!”



As the runners in the John Smith’s Fox Hunters’ Chase reached the elbow, Aintree Chairman Lord Daresbury could have been forgiven for thinking he’d be welcoming his son Oliver Greenall back to the winner’s enclosure as the mare Cool Friend led in the straight. As is so often the case on the Grand National course, the long run-in proved to be her undoing but only just, as the brave 10-year-old gave way to Tartan Snow on the line, beaten just a neck.

Greenall, who has also trained the mare for today’s big race, said: “It’s thrilling to train and ride her. She jumped so well – her form hasn’t been great coming into the race but I was quite confident I had her in good shape.

“The ground was just a little bit tacky and that’s probably the limit of her trip but she jumped herself to the front and gave us both every chance.”

Tom Ellis was having his first taste of the big fences at Aintree and received a rapturous welcome to the enclosure aboard the third-placed Rash Move, trained by Fred Hutsby.

Ellis said: “I’ve been hunting a lot as a child but that was the most brilliant thing I have ever done in my entire life.

“He looked after me really well and we were so close. He’ll be 13 next year so I can’t see him coming back but hopefully I can find another one like him.”



Oliver Greenall, a neck second on Cool Friend, said: “I felt him coming (the winner Tartan Snow) and she picked up but just in the final half furlong she couldn’t find any more. It was just the ground and she has never really got that trip. You probably need a horse that gets three miles around here. I thought the fences rode well. The first ones felt easier but coming home they felt just the same. She jumped so well it is quite hard to tell what they are like, they jumped well and seemed just as stiff.”

Tom Ellis, who came third on Rash Move, said: “That is the best thing I have done in my life! I have done a lot of hunting as a kid and still do now and I have jumped some major things out hunting but nothing gives you a thrill like that.

“ He gave me a super ride and travelled and took to it really well – we just met a slightly better couple day. I think if there was a fence halfway up the run-in we might have been closer because he made ground at every fence.”

Michael Fogarty, on the fourth Warne, said: “It was a great spin, he was just brilliant for his first trip over these fences. I couldn’t have asked for better. It is my first time riding over these fences. I rode over the National fence on the Curragh the other day but that isn’t the same. These rode beautifully, but you would always say that when you are on a good ride.”

Nick Slatter who came fifth on Gentle George, said: “The horse ran well but he was flat out all the way, a step up in trip would be better. I would say the National next year.”

Jody Sole, who finished seventh on Gwanako, said: “It was fantastic, he was awesome. We kind of hit up the back of one horse on landing and lost our momentum but he was into such a rhythm early on and got back into after any minor mistake. He was just awesome.”

Sam Waley-Cohen, eighth on Cottage Oak, said: “I got planted at the start and probably didn’t travel as well as I would have liked, but he gave me a nice run.”

He went to comment on the fences : “If you’ve got a horse that can jump there great but if you have a horse that can’t jump they are still going to prove a real challenge. They are still a test. They are not just any old chase fence – they still need respecting.”

Richard Harding, who rode the 2012 winner Cloudy Lane who finished ninth, said: “A fair spin but he is just getting old at 13.”

Catherine Walton, who pulled up Kildonnan, said: “We pulled up but I loved it.”

Nicholas Sutton, who pulled up Offshore Account, said: “The ground was a bit softer than it walked.  My fella got a bit hampered at the Chair and was spat out the back a bit and never got back to them.”

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