KINGSTON BLOUNT RACING CLUB
Sharp Suit was compared favour-ably with his Cheltenham Festival hope, Harbour Court, by Aston Rowant trainer Alan Hill after maintaining his unbeaten record between the flags with victory at Kingston Blount.
The seven-year-old had to dig deep for James Tudor to beat Perfectly Willing by a length in the intermediate at Saturday’s meeting.
It was a race his more illustrious stablemate captured last year on his way up the ranks to become a leading fancy for tomorrow’s CGA Foxhunters’ Chase.
Sharp Suit was completing a hat-trick, and Hill said: “At this point this horse is better than Harbour Court, but this horse has run hurdling.
“Today he has done it ugly. He hated the course and I don’t think he really liked the ground.”
Sharp Suit’s victory saw Hill rack up a treble on the card for the second successive year.
Start Royal, who won the men’s open 12 months ago, returned to take the ladies’ open this time with a fluent six-lengths success from Rossmore Lad under Gina Andrews.
Connections were concerned the race may come too quick for the ten-year-old, who had been beaten a neck at Higham six days earlier, but he dispelled those fears to give clerk of the course and part-owner Stewart Nash a popular winner.
Alpha Native kicked off Hill’s treble in the club members’ conditions race, fulfilling a long-held ambition for Nash’s assistant, Jake Exelby.
He leased ownership of the horse for the day in a bid to win the Bullingdon Cup, presented to the first graduate or current undergraduate of Oxford University.
Tom Kindleyside gave the ten-year-old a patient ride to beat Master Workman by three lengths, and Hill said: “The lease has worked out. I am happy. He is happy and now he’s got the cup on the sideboard.”
Hook Norton rider James Martin won a dramatic first division of the open maiden for six-year-olds and over on 33-1 shot Triggers Ginger after The Mexican Bandit jinked going to the last fence and dumped Oliver Greenall on the take-off side when challenging.
“I think I would have won,” said Martin. “I was full of running even jumping the last.”
The second division went to Aboo Dreamer, a first winner as a trainer for Sarah McQueen, who led up Mon Mome when he won the 2009 Grand National.
Welsh raider Silver Story was a poignant winner of the men’s open for trainer William Vaughan, who was left the 11-year-old grey by Norman Jones, who died last month.
And Toby Betambeau came in for a winning spare ride on Classic Destiny in the restricted after Tom Ellis was left feeling groggy following a fall.
Open maiden 4-7yo (Div 1): 1 LOTTA SCARES (C Hobson) 5-1, 2 Velvet Cognac 7-1, 3 Katesoneoneeight 5-1. Trainer: C Hobson. Dist: 1l, 2l. 12 ran.
Open maiden 4-7yo (Div 2): 1 KAZURI KATE (H Lewis) 5-1, 2 Mine Sweeper 33-1, 3 Calusa Comet 9-1. Trainer: C Hart. Dist: 8l, 2l. 11 ran.
Open maiden 6yo plus (Div 1): 1 TRIGGERS GINGER (J Martin) 33-1, 2 Peggy’s Hero 5-1, 3 Soupcon D’Albain 12-1. Trainer: J Tarry. Dist: 3l, 3l. 11 ran.
Open maiden 6yo plus (Div 2): 1 ABOO DREAMER (J Knox) 5-2, 2 My Alfie 11-8 fav, 3 Flicka’s Witness 8-1. Trainer: S McQueen. Dist: 8l, 5l. 10 ran.
Club members’ conditions: 1 ALPHA NATIVE (T Kindleyside) 6-4 fav, 2 Master Workman 3-1, 3 Nipper John 9-4. Trainer: A Hill. Dist: 3l, 8l. 7 ran.
Ladies’ open: 1 START ROYAL (G Andrews) 4-5 fav, 2 Rossmore Lad 11-4, 3 Catch Tammy 16-1. Trainer: A Hill. Dist: 6l, 6l. 8 ran.
Men’s open: 1 SILVER STORY (E David) 4-5 fav, 2 Oranger 25-1, 3 Duke Of Kentford 6-1. Trainer: W Vaughan. Dist: 8l, 15l. 5 ran.
Restricted: 1 CLASSIC DESTINY (T Betambeau) 8-1, 2 Tiger Rag 7-2 fav, 3 I Believe 16-1. Trainer: J Pidgeon. Dist: 1l, ½l. 14 ran.
Intermediate: 1 SHARP SUIT (J Tudor) 4-5 fav, 2 Perfectly Willing 7-2, 3 Moroman 10-1. Trainer: A Hill. Dist: 1l, 4l. 9 ran.