Owner Clive Titcomb has always held his horse Kimberella (4-1jtf) in high regard and today’s win in the Betway All-Weather Sprint Championships by a half length from Gracious John (8-1) in 1m 09.36s just confirmed the owner’s belief.
“He is a joy to own,” said Titcomb. “He has won two races on the bounce now and both in good times. He broke a Ripon course record last year – he is fast. He is rated 107, we’ll go up in the handicap for this win and he is entered next in the Duke Of York Stakes. We might have no other option with that handicap mark, but to go stakes racing now.”
Jockey Paul Hanagan, riding for trainer Richard Fahey - the horse moving to the new trainer earlier this spring after former trainer Dandy Nicholls retired – was delighted with the run of the race.
“Everything went to plan, I tracked Robert Winston [on Lancelot Du Lac] throughout, it proved to be the right horse and it panned out well – the race just all fell in the right place,” said Hanagan. “I don’t like going for them in the dip as they can become unbalanced, so I like to sit a bit longer and Kimberella went well as he came there and he saw the trip out well.
“He is fit and well, it was a great run. He is a pleasure to ride and very straightforward.
“We’ll take things step by step, but there is no reason why he could not progress even at seven. His former trainer Dandy Nicholls did very well with him, but sometimes a change of scenery can help.”
JOHN GRACIOUS IN DEFEAT
Welsh trainer, David Evans, from just outside of Abergavenny sent Gracious John to record a half-length second to the 4/1 joint favourite Kimberella in the Betway All-Weather Sprint Championships.
He delighted his owner Terry Reffell with today’s run with Reffell commenting: “I really pleased with that. I think we will go for York next.”
Gary Reffell, the owner’s son added: “It (York) is a Group Two. We will go there full of confidence after that run and the one before that.
“He ran really well in Qatar and really well again here. He is still only four and seems to be maturing with every run. David (Evans) and John Egan are doing really well with him.
“We went to David because he is Welsh, we are in a place called Pencoed near Bridgend, and we have a friend in the yard already.
David had said he would get six [furlongs] but every one had said he needed five, well he has proved David right today.”
Travelling head lad, Malcolm McCall, said: “He has run really well. We thought he would have won last year and he has hung a little bit in the race today. But we have just bumped into one.
“We could well go to York next, he has won at York already so David may well aim him there next.”
3.10pm £150,000 Betway All-Weather Sprint Championships, 6f
1 KIMBERELLA 7 9-05 C Titcomb Richard Fahey Paul Hanagan 4/1 Jt Fav
2 GRACIOUS JOHN (IRE) 4 9-05 Terry Reffell David Evans John Egan 8/1
3 ENCORE D’OR 5 9-05 Mrs Morley, G Johnson, Newsells Park Stud Robert Cowell Luke Morris 14/1
Time: 1m 09.36s
Distances: ½, 1¾
Tote Win: £5.60 Places: £2.20; £2.80; £4.60 Exacta: £44.40
Breeder: P & Mrs A G Venner
Breeding: b g Kyllacy – Gleam Of Light (IRE) (Danehill (USA))
Encore D’Or recovers from a bad draw while Lancelot Du Lac runs out of energy
Encore D’Or did well to finish third from what Greg Chung, a stable representative of trainer Robert Cowell, considered a very poor draw. Jockey Luke Morris believes he’ll be a better horse on the turf.
Chung said: “We’re very pleased with finishing third from what looked like a very poor draw (11) on paper. Luke gave him a great break and put us in a good position.”
Luke Morris added: “He ran very well, he’ll be a better horse when he gets on the turf, but it’s a big run and he’s grabbed plenty of prize money.”
Dean Ivory, the trainer of fourth placed Lancelot Du Lac, the 4/1 joint-favourite, said that he went a bit flat in the last half-furlong of the race. However, he added that he had done well considering that the horse had been on the go all winter. Jockey Robert Winston agreed that Lancelot Du Lac ran out of energy at the end.
Dean Ivory said: “He just ran a little bit flat at the end, he’d done all his running earlier on and he just couldn’t find the little bit he usually does in the last half-furlong.
”It’s always a hard race in the first four or five. He’s been on the go all over winter so he has done well. I was just a bit disappointed that he went a bit flat at the end. I suspect he could be a bit under the weather.”
Robert Winston added: “He just ran out of petrol in the last furlong.”