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Future looks bright for Craig Lidster after saddling first winner

One of the newest names to the training ranks, Craig Lidster can look forward to a bright future after Divine Connection got him off the mark at Pontefract last week.

Divine Connection was a fitting first winner for the Yorkshireman having been the first horse he saddled as a licensed trainer in November and the hardy mare has been the horse he has sent out to battle most over his short six-month spell as a trainer.

The five-year-old made all in the hands of Sam James to win a one-mile handicap on Wednesday, and Lidster was keen to praise his jockey for his role in the landmark victory.

“I didn’t expect her to be my first win, she’s a tricky customer, but all credit to Sam and the ride he gave her, as that’s probably what has got us our first winner you know. It was Sam’s idea to ride her how he did and everything fell into place,” he said.

“She just got a bit lonely in front and just did enough to hold on, but it’s great to get going in the right direction and for her to get her head in front.

“To be fair, we’ve been getting things right at home. We’ve been hitting the crossbar – we’ve not been far away – but you’re always waiting for the first winner, second winner, third and the last one you know, so it was nice to get one on the board.”

Although many readers of a racecard will be unfamiliar with Lidster’s name, he has been in the sport for a long time, most notably as a fledgling conditional jockey with Brian Ellison and second travelling head lad for Richard Fahey, before starting Craig Lidster Racing which focussed primarily on breaking in younger horses and pre-training.

It was these skills that first attracted the attention of Dean Reynolds of NewGen Racing when they were looking for a trainer for their syndicate, in whose colours Divine Connection was successful at Pontefract.

Reynolds was delighted to provide Lidster with his first winner and gave nothing but a glowing reference to the winning trainer.

He said: “We were looking for someone who was going to be cutting their teeth in the training ranks and we knew Craig had been at Richard Fahey’s for nearly a decade.

“If horses needed correcting, Craig is where they got sent as well as for pre-training, breaking etc, so we knew he understood this angle

“He’s very good with all our members, his only downside is he’s a Sheffield Wednesday supporter!”

Taking care of his owners is always at the forefront of Lidster’s mind and it is no surprise they are given the five-star treatment at the Eboracum Racing Stables he leases off Wendy Burdett.

“It’s a really nice place from an owner’s perspective. We’ve got a nice relaxing set-up with an owners’ lounge and a balcony where they can watch their horses on the gallops from. They could spend a full day up there if they wanted, the facilities are brilliant,” explained Lidster.

Divine Connection before running at Southwell in January
Craig Lidster’s Divine Connection before running at Southwell in January (Adam Morgan/PA)

Having initially operated out of Norton Grange Stables in Malton, Lidster relocated to this new facility in Easingwold just in time for the start of the turf season and, alongside Burdett, is in the process of putting together an A-star equine facility.

He continued: “The facilities are unbelievable and are only improving all the time. We’re adding things and tinkering with bits here and there, we’ve got our own gallops and from a bio-security point of view it’s brilliant as we’re the only ones there and there’s no one else to worry about.”

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