HAWICK trainer Donald Whillans has spoken of his delight after one of his horses’ first outings at a racecourse caused an impressive 80-1 upset.
Nodda High Kid, bred by Donald and ridden by his son Callum, pipped the well-backed favourite Brindisi Breeze in a photo finish at the National Hunt Flat race at Musselburgh on Friday.
After settling in behind the well-fancied Flicka Williams and Jason McGuire, the gelding had been slightly outpaced as Brindisi Breeze joined the two in setting for home.
But Nodda High Kid got his nose in front and showed great determination to hold the challenge thrown down by the Lucinda Russell winner in the closing stages – which saw the two horses go neck and neck to the finish line.
Donald told the Hawick News: “Nodda High Kid has shown a lot of promise and had been training really well at home. We knew he had a lot of ability but he had never been at a racecourse before, and he was a high price as he was up against four favourites.”
But describing how he felt as the pair crossed the finish line, he commented: “I was delighted for him. He’s not a very big horse, hence the name. And even if they hadn’t won it would have been a really good race for Nodda High Kid as it was such a good finish.”
And alluding to the gelding being ridden on its debut by son Callum – now working in Cheshire for trainer Donald McCain Jnr, son of the legendary ‘Ginger’ McCain who trained Red Rum – he commented: “Callum was really pleased too.”
Indeed, on the Donald Whillans Racing website this week under the season’s news, tribute is paid to the young jockey’s outing back on home turf, stating: “Great ride Callum, one of your finest.” And it adds: “But you’ll have to try and perfect that flying dismount at Musselburgh. Frankie (Detorri) does it in the winners’ enclosure, not 50 yards after the line!”