Amateur jockey Freddie Gingell, from Mere, celebrated his first ever winner under Rules just a month after turning 16 at his local track, Wincanton. He declared it was “amazing”, before paying tribute to his mum who died of cancer in May 2020.
He achieved his dream of riding a winner after riding West Approach in last week’s Colin Lewis Memorial Open Hunters’ Chase. Freddie lost his mum Kim to cancer in May 2020, and family and friends created an emotional reception on his return to the winner’s enclosure.
West Approach was trained by Freddie’s grandfather, Cheltenham Gold Cup-winning trainer Colin Tizzard. He bounded clear in the home straight to score by 21 lengths over the odds-on favourite Alcala in the two-horse race.
Freddie, who is still studying for his GCSE’s at Sexey’s School in Bruton, said: “It was amazing. This horse jumps for fun. He is amazing and I knew I had a good horse underneath me.
“My confidence did start growing turning in but I still had three tough fences to get over. I couldn’t believe it really (when I saw the winning post looming). It is only my fourth ride and I’m still a novice rider. It is amazing to have a winner under Rules.
“It does mean more to ride that first winner here – I never miss a meeting at Wincanton. If it’s a school day, I’m always here for the last race.”
Freddie said he believes he had an extra pair of eyes watching his every move.
“Mum is probably up there crying now. She wanted me to do my best. I want to stay amateur this season and see where that takes me. I leave school in May and hopefully concentrate more on my racing then. It would be nice to get my conditional licence next season but I’m only 16 and in no rush.”
Colin Tizzard, based in Milborne Port, described the race as “beautiful” to watch.
He said: “My heart is still beating now for the last circuit. The horse was absolutely loving it and Fred was loving it and that goes through the reins.
I’ve never seen this horse jump like that. It was lovely for Fred. If Kim is watching now she will have loved every second of it. It was absolutely fantastic.”
Not only was Gingell’s famous grandfather on hand to witness his first success under Rules but so was his uncle and assistant trainer, Joe Tizzard.
He said: “I was chuffed to bits with him. It is a big thing for Fred to come to his local track with half the family here. It is lovely for him to get his first winner here but there is more pressure instead of sneaking off somewhere quiet where you don’t know anybody.
He added: “He does ride well for a little squirt and he is good over a fence. If he wants it he has got a good opportunity to be a jockey and I think he is good enough. He has got a big future I think and that is not me being biased.”