Ladyship To Held To Ransom

Ladyship to Held To Ransom

Bruce Stewart

First season trainer Jessie Alford has a bit on.

He and partner Josie Reid are expecting their first child next month, he’s training the only horse in his stable Held To Ransom, and is starting a new job with Woodend Beach trainer Matt Purvis. Things are just busy enough.

Alford freely admits he gets nervous when Held To Ransom starts at the races but he need not have worried today at Ascot Park, because the Live Or Die mare won easily in the hands of Brad Williamson.

Williamson got the five year old mare in the one one early with Bella Sara making the pace.

Held To Ransom was travelling nicely throughout and once balanced up in the home straight she went down to the finishing line to easily win by a length and a half from Folklore.

Held To Ransom winning without another horse in sight

Winning salute

Brad Williamson with Jessie Alford and Held To Ransom

The win was the mare’s third in a row.

“I’ve only had her for about six weeks. She needs the beach. She was probably going to go back to Regan Todd’s. I asked if I could buy her. She’s a family horse who just swims instead of jogging, she just loves the beach,” said Alford after the win.

Alford hadn’t had any background in harness racing until former Southland trainer/driver,  but Jonny Cox got him involved.

“Coxey got me into it. I was helping him out a few years ago and we became friends. I got sick of my office job (selling survey and building equipment) so I thought stuff it, I’ll do something I like. I took a bit of a pay cut and worked for Michael House and Andrew Stuart, whose been really good to me, and I’m about to go to the beach and work for Matt.”

Held To Ransom was previously trained by Stuart who managed to get a number of placings out of the mare, but missed out on that elusive win.

Alford also holds a junior driver’s license but after driving Held To Ransom a number of times he says he now prefers to hand the reins to other drivers.

“For some reason I just don’t drive her that well so I just let other people do it. I’d like to keep her but I’ve got a baby girl on the way in late January. This will help get her a few extra treats which is good.”

The win capped off a stellar day for Brad Williamson who won three  of the races  on the ten race card.

Brother Nathan also won a race, driving Revitalise for good stable client Neville Cleaver who bought the diminutive Bettors Delight gelding at the sales for $15,000.

He received a nice trail and was too good, beating Glenledi Captain by two and half lengths.

Revitalise winning on debut