Iberico added his name to the long and illustrious list of winners of the The Lord Ashton of Hyde Cup after his victory in the first of this seasons Point-to-Point Classic races.
Despite owning horses for over 30 years, the 12-year-old was Clive and Eileen Bennetts first runner in the race and was installed as favourite on the strength of his recent success at Barbury Racecourse.
Snuker set the early pace for the 7-strong field but they began to bunch up as the pace slowed and setting out on the final circuit, Sam Jukes was still content to bide his time and follow in the leader’s slipstream.
They were still in a small cluster at the final open ditch but approaching the fourth from home Jukes resorted to the tactics he has employed successfully so many times in the past and the pace then increased dramatically.
Legal Legend looked a danger half a mile from home but that challenge was summarily dismissed as Iberico started to draw clear. He held a healthy advantage at the second from home and proved far too good for his rivals, staying on well to claim a well-deserved success for his sporting connections.
IBERICO AND SAM JUKES STORM UP THE RUN IN TO CLAIM THE LORD ASHTON OF HYDE CUP
The winning owners said later ”. “It’s the first time we have won a Classic and it means a lot. We would like to win the Lady Dudley Cup. We’ve had several placed horses in the past. We ran him because we knew he would stay the distance”, while the winning jockey commented “I am so pleased for Clive and Eileen and also myself, to be able to win one of the sports classic races is special”.
SAM JUKES IS OBVIOUSLY DELIGHTED WITH IBERICO’S WIN. ANOTHER TROPHY FOR THE BENNETTS
Nick Pearce started riding in West Midland Point-to-Points but subsequently become one of the leading trainers in the South East Area.
He is now based with Dan Skelton near Alcester where he is involved with foals and yearlings. His presence on the local Point-to-Point scene provides an added dimension and that was shown when he saddled Kashmir Peak to take the Novice Riders under Nikki Stubbs.
Crowded Room and Tempelpirate set a strong pace, but Callum Bickers Price’s mount started to weakened racing down the back straight. Tempelpirate looked the most likely winner on the final bend but he was joined by Kashmir Peak between the final two fences and that horse held a slender lead at the final obstacle.
KASHMIR PEAK AND NIKKI STUBBS LAND JUST IN FRONT OF TEMPELPIRATE AT THE LAST
There was little between the pair racing towards the judge but Kashmir Peak hung on bravely to score by a head.
This was a first success on her very first ride for 22-year-old Nikki Stubbs, who has worked at Skelton’s yard for 8 months. “That was amazing he carried me round the whole way and did everything I asked of him. The finish could not have gone better and he galloped all the way to the line”.
NICK PEARCE AND NIKKI STUBBS AT THE PRESENTATION
Kashmir Peak races under a Croome and West Warwickshire certificate and is in a similar position to so many other horses. “We felt he would benefit from the drop into Point-to-Points” said Pearce “he will be used to give some of the staff experience in race riding”.
West Midland stables figured prominently in other races throughout the afternoon and that started with John Smith Maxwell’s Buck Magic finishing second in the Members.
The 12-year-old was anchored at the back of the field for much of the contest but made a forward move at the final open ditch and was within striking distance of the leader turning into the home straight. He was unable to sustain that effort and was 3-lengths adrift of the favourite En Passe at the line.
35 minutes later and Eastnor trainer Nickie Sheppard sent out Ballycahane to win the Restricted under Milo Herbert.
The three best backed horses fought out the finish with Double You Be and Victoria Hill still vying for the lead with four to jump. Unfortunately for them they could not shake off Ballycahane who got on level terms half a mile from home. He opened up a race winning advantage between the final two fences, while Double You Be repassed Victoria Hill on the flat to claim the runners up spot.
BALLYCAHANE AND MILO HERBERT CRUISE PAST VICTORIA HILL (BLUE). DOUBLE YOU BE (YELLOW RALLIED TO CLAIM SECOND)
The 2-1/2 mile Maiden produced a result that was popular with the locals when Clerk of the Course Nick Phillips guided Silent Warrior to victory. Luck was on their side however because Shaman Du Berlais had this race in safekeeping until hitting the top of the penultimate and paying the penalty.
Mistercobar who had fallen when in contention at the penultimate in a Harkaway Maiden made up a lot of late ground but the Worcestershire qualified gelding could not reel in the leader over the last furlong.
Mahlers Star was a warm favourite for the 3-mile Maiden but the Welsh runner was found wanting after being on the heels of the leaders as they turned for home.
Damby’s Star and Lilly Bradstock looked vulnerable as the Andrew Campbell trained George Herbert appeared ready to pounce if they faltered. That never happened because Damby’s Star, although tiring was able to maintain the gap between himself and his rival and repel all his efforts on the flat.
GEORGE HERBERT (GREEN) JUST FAILS TO CATCH DAMBY’S STAR IN THE FINAL MAIDEN
Cocklebarrow was bathed in sunshine but the opposite was true of Larkhill just 24 hours earlier. This meeting was not for the faint hearted with rain sweeping across the Wiltshire countryside and not abating until the middle of the afternoon.
Upton-on-Severn trainer Mike Daniell saw is colours carried to success for the first time in 20 years after Benjamin Leader outstayed his rivals to land Division II of the Maiden.
This race was divided on the day with Ain’t No Limits, Goldencard, Ballyjim and Swincombe Toby all receiving plenty of support whereas Benjamin Leader drifted out to 16-1 which seemed generous as he had finished 3rd to Sebastopol at the last meeting, albeit beaten a long way.
James Martin always had his mount in the leading quartet and had Ain’t No Limits is his sights as that horse breasted the rise at the far end of the course. The Hutsby runner was still just in front when parting company with Sam Davies Thomas at the third from home.
BENJAMIN LEADER (NOSEBAND) LEAVES GOLDENCARD IN HIS WAKE
The race then became a straight fight between Goldencard and Benjamin Leader and there was little between the two horses for the remainder of the race. Martin was able to secure the inside berth around the final bend and started to assert his superiority approaching the last, and was kept up to his work on the run to the judge.
OWNER MIKE DANIELL IN THE WINNERS ENCLOSURE AND PICKING UP THE TROPHY
Owner/trainer Daniell revealed later “I brought the mare at Goresbridge in Ireland and the best of her off spring would be Kingscourt Native who was based with Colin Tizzard. I thought he would run well after his performance at the last meeting. The horse’s stable name is Ben and he is named after a well-known Worcestershire artist. You must mention Max Comley who has done a lot of work at home with this horse”.
That was the Area’s only success on the 8-race card, but several placed efforts also caught the eye.
Arcal Fifty had been going well when his race was voided at the last meeting, so it was apt he should gain compensation in Division I of the Maiden.
Tom Weston saddled Cook the Books with reigning Ladies Champion Gina Andrews in the plate and they were still in contention as Master Hide began to find the pace too hot approaching the third from home.
ARCAL FIFTY LEADS COOK THE BOOKS (RIGHT) AS THEY APPROACH THE LAST
This left Arcal Fifty and Cook the Books in a clear lead and there was little between the pair on the final bend. The commentator suggested interference had taken place but it is doubtful this made any difference to the result as the winner strode clear to win by a wide margin.
Two Area representatives finished amongst the placed horses in the Conditions Race. Thereyarsee was confidently ridden until Lorcan Williams mount shot clear approaching three out and went on to win in effortless fashion.
Emma Yardley’s mount Call Me Ben was safely ensconced in second place approaching the last but was tiring rapidly at the finish and she did well to keep the partnership going and deprive Out Now of the runners up spot.