Friday was a memorable evening for Wexford native Jordan Gainford, when the Colin Bowe-trained Cushinstown Finest stormed to victory in the JNwine.com Supp. Youth Action Maiden Hurdle at Downpatrick providing the young rider with his first success under rules.
The seven-year-old daughter of Trans Island lost her maiden tag last year when she won her six-year-old mares’ maiden at Necarne under Rob James by eight lengths and has since run on the track a handful of times with no joy.
However, it was fifth time lucky for the bay mare when having the seven-pound claimer aboard did the trick, as a dramatic finish saw five of the ten starters battle it out. With 100 furlongs to go, the Gary McGill-trained Electricity drifted to the left hampering Cushinstown Finest and Drumconner Girl, forcing the Caim native to steer Cushinstown Finest between horses, to thankfully come home a neck in front of the favourite My Galway Girl.
Gainford has had a short career to date, having only taken out his first amateur license last season. However, he had plenty of experience leading up to his point-to-point debut, starting out in Shay Slevin’s yard by riding ponies after school, to eventually riding out racehorses and going racing at the weekends.
After a five-year stint with Slevin and a few rides in pony racing, Gainford moved on and is now in Kiltealy at Milestone Stables, where he has been based for the last three years. The up-and-coming rider has struck up a successful partnership with leading handler Colin Bowe, and in the brief time he has been on the point-to-point scene, he has made quiet an impression.
He rode for a host of leading handlers, including Bowe, Paul Pierce and Cormac Doyle, throughout the season providing him with three winners and 17 placings, with his first 23 rides resulting in nine placings, until he eventually got off the mark when Airgead Suas provided him with his first success at Oldcastle back in April.