Williams franks stable wellbeing as Ralph scores a double
Venetia Williams is in fine form this past month, and stamped that wellbeing on Wednesday’s feature Corrie Cup with a fluent win from Laskalin under Shane Quinlan, beating 6 rivals for a handsome midweek prize. The stable is sitting pretty after L’Homme Press├®’s recent fluent reappearance, and the mid winter months are generally a time not to ignore the Ross-on-Wye powerhouse.
A change in the going has enabled a release of more runners, so it was good to see 58 runners declared for the seven races, with the field of 15 for the bumper our largest field for some time. These are formative months where novices are regularly produced that may aspire to Graded race status.
Shropshire’s Alistair Ralph enjoyed a near perfect day at the races with a 77/1 double, courtesy of Coastal Sun in the opening Claimer and Tap Tap Boom in the Novices Handicap Chase, bringing his seasonal tally to 11. Under a patient ride from Jonathan Burke, French-bred Coastal Sun came to the front between horses and asserted at the last, running on to score for a first time here by 2l.
Tap Tap Boom completed the set in the Oracle Dental Novices Handicap Chase over the minimum trip, beating his three rivals by 2 1/4l with a well-timed run down the straight that took the grey from last to first, under 7lb claimer Jay Tidball. Tidball has been getting himself noticed. Whilst he only has 11 winners to his name, he’s accepted rides from Sarah Humphrey, Tom Lacey and Richard Hobson as well as boss Ralph.
The power balance among trainers in Wiltshire appears to have shifted to the south and west of the county. Neil Mulholland trains at Conkwell Grange outside Bath, and has kept up a consistent pace this season since the off. 11/1 winner No Worries had his jockey Tom Scudamore all out in an eventful finish to the Flowfit Novices Handicap Chase, holding off Crystal Moon, who was untidy at the last, by 3/4l, to produce Mulholland’s 40th winner of the term, bringing his earnings close on ┬ú450,000. In the early months of the season, performance like this sets you high in the Championship rankings, but the advent of big money Saturdays changes the dynamic completely. Nevertheless, on current performance, Mulholland must be hoping to better his personal best of 108 winners and nearly ┬ú850,000, set in 2016-17.
The other Wiltshire candidate making waves presently is Milton Harris, who received a fright on holiday in the Far East this past week, when he was hospitalized with a pulmonary embolism. But you can’t keep a good man down; the Racing Calendar was a bedside companion, and mare Mullenbeg completed a hattrick of hurdle wins over the past month in the 2m March Commercial Mares Handicap Hurdle for his 36th winner of the season, in the process landing the second leg of a Jonathan Burke double.
Local representation was upheld in the G C Rickards Conditional Riders race when 6 year old mare Lily Glitters ran on determinedly under Ben Godfrey to score for Henry Daly.
And of course, the winner machine that is Ravenswell’s Fergal O’Brien concluded the card with a 93rd winner of the term under Connor Brace, and a 10th bumper winner, with a strong finish from Dysart Enos, an 8 1/2l winner over 14 rivals.