Those who took the prohibitive odds of four to one on never had a moment’s worry as the favourite cruised past the early leader Opera Villevert after jumping three out and despite both Koka Fast and Robinzal getting within a length of the leader approaching the final two flights of hurdles jockey Tony Procter only had to let out a bit of rein in order for his mount to cruise clear and win by six lengths from Robinzal with Koka Fast three quarters of a length back in third.
This was by far the easiest of successes for the Vicki Lucas-trained and Dr Ian Shenkin-owned six-year-old in their quest to become the first winners of The Shepherd’s Crook C I Triple Crown Bonus.
Their charge will undoubtedly be strongly fancied for the second leg of the bonus, The Jersey Derby, at the next meeting, but probably the gelding’s biggest question will be asked, if successful in the Derby, when giving weight to his opponents in the Clarendon Handicap at the August Bank Holiday meeting.
Trainer Lucas was also successful in The Europa Capital Handicap when Top Pursuit, under the guidance of jockey Emmett Stack, just held off Kristinor in a driving finish to win by a short head with Silver Silence in third.
The You’ll Never Walk Alone Partnership owned five-year-old has shown improved form since changing stables and was recording his second win of the season.
The Lucas yard was denied a short price treble on the afternoon in the Ronez & Charles Le Quesne Handicap when Groomsman, who went off an odds on favourite, could only finish two lengths adrift of outsider Carr Hall under a well judged ride from off the pace by Emmett Stack.
Flashing Floozie had made much of the early running but as the field came into the home straight Groomsman took the lead but any hopes of a second successive win in this race quickly vanished as Stack brought the Joan Le Brocq-trained four-year-old up on the stands side to win by two lengths with Last Eclipse staying on to finish half a length away in third.
The afternoon’s five furlong sprint race, sponsored by Brady & Gallagher, was taken by Madrasse who took the lead passing the furlong marker and won by an easy looking one length from Secret Assassin with Treat Me Wild, who had lost all of eight lengths after a slow start, a fast finishing four lengths back in third, The final race of the afternoon, The Sunshine Handicap, produced a dead heat as the judge was unable to split Mobus Wan and Snow Lark as they passed the post.
Punters who had backed Snow Lark must have been on the verge of ripping their tickets up as the field rounded the final bend as he was well back at the rear of the field but jockey Richard Rowe brought his mount up the near rail and only just failed to get his head in front of the long time leader Mobus Wan.
The next meeting on Sunday 29 July features the Jersey Derby.