Tide Times produces a thriller in Boyne Cup
Race of the day yesterday was deservedly awarded to the day’s feature, the 3m Boyne Cup, which produced a thriller of a finish in which last week’s victor, Tide Times, followed up again by a short head against Kim Bailey’s Bobhopeornohope, the two a distance ahead of the remainder. It was, however, a day punctuated by small fields despite good racing ground.
The flashing grey, redolent in colour at least of the famous Desert Orchid, made life unusually difficult for himself by running down his fences, and another 100 yards might have seen a different result. The similarity with the famous grey of the eighties and nineties stops with the colour; this is no champion in the making, but two from two in the space of 5 days merits acknowledgement for trainer-rider combination Ian Williams and Charlie Todd.
Another horse to show his appreciation of Ludlow’s circuit is Brief Ambition, 6/5 favourite for the Weatherbys nhstallions.co.uk Handicap Chase over half a mile shorter distance. Winner of a handicap here in November for trainer Fergal O’Brien,┬á he made the most of the small field opportunity to make it three from three runs in chases, being a comprehensive 8 1/2l winner over Muckamore. On this performance, he may continue to thrive at this level.
Alan King is still grinning from his successful Cheltenham, but Edwardstone has hardly been a flash in the pan. With 12 winners this month alone, the Barbury team is in fighting form, as illustrated by a double here. Finest View started the ball rolling in the opening Novices Hurdle, whilst Midnights Legend followed up in a handicap hurdle a little over an hour later. The latter might be directed toward one of the summer handicaps at Market Rasen, mused her trainer.
A seemingly endless stream of winners comes from Seven Barrows each year, and Gran Luna produced number 112 in the longer distance handicap hurdle, keeping Trainers’ Championship leader Paul Nicholls firmly on the radar. With defining big money fixtures at Aintree, Ayr and Sandown still to come, it is anyone’s game, arguably even one Willie Mullins. Nicholls was winnerless at Ludlow yesterday, but only ┬ú167,000 separates the two leading British contenders, and the array of riches at Aintree will likely prove decisive.
Chipping Norton trainer Charlie Longsdon is another looking forward to Aintree, where Snow Leopardess takes her chance, but meantime, he is enjoying his best season for a few years, continuing the good work when French-bred Hector Javilex made the most of the small field in another Novices Hurdle under Tom Bellamy.
The day concluded with a hunters’ chase in which Heidi Brookshaw’s Bletchley Castle made all to beat Zamparelli over 2m 4f, clocking up a first win of the season.