Some of the gloss of the running of the prestigious Fujitsu sponsored Coronation Gold Cup was lost due the accident which befell Michaela Tallett riding Champagne Lilly at the fourteenth fence in the preceding Ladies race. This resulted in the arrival of the Air Ambulance and a delay of nearly two hours before the Coronation Gold Cup could be run. It resulted a first win for the connections and elsewhere on the card there was another win for 16 year old Freddie Gingell and the locally trained Arcal Fifty. It has been reported that Michaela is under the care of specialists in Southampton Hospital and that they are monitoring her progress and we all wish her the best for a speedy recovery.
The Coronation Gold Cup turned into a tactical event with the ex- French trained Epi Sacre ridden by George Henderson leading on his English debut with his two rivals in close attendance. Olive Nicholls aboard her father Paul’s Rhythm Is A Dancer took up the lead as they reappeared after the thirteenth fence and Sam Waley-Cohen followed her until taking it up after the second last and held on to record a length and a half victory. Commenting on his quick reappearance after winning at the last meeting owner Robert Waley-Cohen said ‘he seemed well and we thought we would take our chance in a race we have never won before’. His closest previous effort was with Irilut in 2008 when beaten by Man from Highworth trained by the late John Manners. The winner may aim for a Hunter Chase but plans are fluid at this stage.
The L3Harris sponsored Ladies Conditions Race was a very competitive event and nearly provided Lauren Keen-Hawkins riding the ex-Kim Bailey trained Dandy Dan with a winner on her first ever ride. However Sixteen Letters partnered by Lucy Turner prevailed in a close finish to give John and Floss Symes back to back victories at Larkhill at the last two meetings. Electing to run the gelding in this race rather than the Hunter Chase at Wincanton and the Coronation Gold Cup connections had booked Venetia Williams’ very capable amateur Lucy Turner on Thursday and she followed her instructions to the letter. Riding her first ever winner at Larkhill Lucy described him as ‘a super jumper’ and really enjoyed the experience. John indicated that a Novice Hunter Chase at Leicester would probably be next on the cards for the gelding.
Molineaux is proving to be an ideal schoolmaster for Freddie Gingell and following the success of West Approach at Wincanton on Thursday he recorded his third victory from five rides to date. Again jumping well in front he was challenged by Fan Club Aulmes after the last in the SVGC sponsored Novice Riders race but stayed on to record a length victory. Watched by his four proud grandparents Freddie described the ride as ‘amazing’. Bought like West Approach from John and Heather Snook by Colin Tizzard for Freddie to ride this is proving to be a dream start for him.
Arcal Fifty was an extremely popular winner of the Qinetic sponsored Restricted race. Now aged thirteen he had recorded his Maiden victory on the course in January 2018 but had to wait until now to secure his second victory. This was his eleventh race at the Wiltshire course and his enthusiastic owners The Barrow Street Racing Club were virtually all in evidence to witness his win under Martin’ Fly’ McIntyre. Trained by Bea Coward locally she advised that although he is now at the veteran stage he still behaves ‘like a four year old’ and has been in good form this season.
With the light fading the last two races were run in quick succession and both provided winners that had run last season under National Hunt Rules. Special Buddy jumped superbly under Megan Fox to comfortably win the Atkins Sponsored Maiden Conditions race. Trained by Ben Pauling for his wife Sophie the gelding is one of two horses that he trains to run in point to points for his staff to ride. Placed under Rules last season he is next likely to run in a shorter Restricted race at Kingston Blount and will probably return to his National Hunt yard for the summer. Megan who was riding her second ever career winner has been working for Ben for three seasons and looks after among others Bowtogreatness owned by Harry Redknapp.
The concluding Maiden sponsored by Improbable was another easy winner this time Frisson Collonges ridden by Freddie Henderson for his father James. Bought last September at Doncaster out of Dan Skelton’s stable who had trained him for Chris Giles his dam won 5 races in France and this big strong horse can progress from this victory. Sadly James was not present to witness the success as he was away on holiday but the rest of the Henderson family were in evidence to support the winner. Trained at Buscot Park near Faringdon this is a real family operation with everyone pitching in to do their bit in training the horses.