Philip Prince takes Wolverhampton win

Philip Prince has already attracted considerably more attention than any of his fellow young amateur jockeys but a Wolverhampton victory on only his second public ride was no more than he deserved.

Philip Prince has already attracted considerably more attention than any of his fellow young amateur jockeys but a Wolverhampton victory on only his second public ride was no more than he deserved.

Prince was born without his left ear and had to wait for a year to get a licence from the British Horseracing Authority after his initial application was rejected in 2008.

The 17-year-old refused to give up, eventually getting the decision overturned, and made his debut at Dunstall Park at the end of November.

Prince has been followed by a camera crew from the BBC See Hear programme and made his return in the division one of the Free Horse Racing Tips At Bigtips.co.uk Amateur Riders' Handicap to help the Ron Hodges-trained Miss Firefly (5-1) finish a neck ahead of Tamino.

"I was denied a licence 12 months ago because of being deaf on one side but Kevin Darley and the Professional Jockeys Association have been a big help," said Prince, who is based with Mick Channon in Lambourn.

"I did three years of pony racing, I had some good ponies and from about 60 rides, I had 30 winners.

"I started off with a summer job with Paul Nicholls, got a lot of experience there, then went on to Ron Hodges.

"I wouldn't have a clue when my next ride will be, but we'll see where my career goes."

There was a rather interesting tale to division two of the race as Michael Owen made a perfect start to his career in racing.

But Owen's 7lb claim had no bearing on his riding experience as the 31-year-old is an accomplished three-day eventer and had the right ammunition in Albero di Giuda (6-1) - owned by his father Jon and trained by the underrated Frank Sheridan.

She pulled a length and a quarter clear by the post.

Owen, a Cheshire native like his racing-mad namesake, said: "One out of one is all right!

"I have ridden around Badminton and Burghley four or five times, I placed at Badminton and I was short-listed for the Beijing Olympics. I used to represent Ireland but I switched to Britain instead.

"My main job is selling event horses and I'm still doing the eventing but racing's in my blood and I've always thought I would love to have a go at it. You have to ride a lot shorter though."

The ride from James Banks on the Paul Howling-trained Pipers Piping came in for plenty of criticism after the 4-1 favourite virtually walked out of the stalls and was well off the pace before closing to be seventh.

Banks was given a 10-day ban, dates to be notified.

He explained: "They used to say 'blinds off, one, two, three, go' but there was a new ruling where now they say 'blinds off, go'.

"I wasn't aware of this and I was late away.

"They often go very quick in the amateur races and then come back to you and I wanted to let the horse gather his legs rather than get done for hitting him when out of contention and finish fifth.

"The stewards said I had not responded quickly enough. I think 10 days is harsh, but I can only put it down to a lack of experience and I apologise."

More predictable was an impressive six-length victory from Ralph Beckett's Riviera Chic in the Back & Lay At Betdaq Handicap, as she had shown encouragement in each of her previous three runs in maidens at the same course.

"She bumped into a good one (Quarante Deux) last time," said jockey Jim Crowley.

"She is still a bit green but did it nicely."

It was similarly straightforward for David Probert and the Bill Turner-trained Anjomarba (3-1) in the Great Offers At wolverhampton-racecourse.co.uk Claiming Stakes.

Your Lad (13-2) left his first two appearances right behind in the Hotel & Conferencing At Wolverhampton Selling Stakes, while Smalljohn (7-1) took the Bet Cis Football - Betdaq Handicap.

Mark Johnston's Hacienda bolted up on his debut in the Sponsor A Race By Calling 01902 390000 Maiden Stakes.

Andrew Balding was referred to the BHA after Starburst was found to have been administered an illegal substance before the Betdaq The Betting Exchange Fillies' Handicap, which she was not allowed to contest.

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