Lucy Smith enjoyed her first Cheltenham winner on Friday when Marcle Ridge showed his liking for the track when winning the final race of Cheltenham's virtually spectator-free season. With the exception of the International meeting in December, all the racing at HQ has been behind closed doors, or limited to owners only.
Marcle Ridge is owned by Clive Bennett, one of the staunchest supporters of Pointing, winning at the corresponding meeting for the second consecutive time in 3 years (there being no meeting in 2020), this time over the shorter distance of 2m4f. Under Tommie O'Brien, the second leg of a double for the rider, Marcle Ridge had plenty in hand to win by 11l, a second win this season following a win in the Open at the Barbury International in December.
Meanwhile, Lucy's stable in the south of the county wasn't the only one celebrating on Friday. David Wintle's Flat string is more used to frequenting the all-weather surfaces at Wolverhampton and Southwell, but 7 year old Tawaafoq notched a first winner of the turf season earlier in the afternoon at Chepstow. Apprentice rider Georgie Dobie was also enjoying a first winner of the year,
And not 30 minutes later, John O'Shea, based at Elton in the Forest of Dean, also struck at his local track with a last gasp victory in the 5f handicap from 4 year old Flip Mode.
Gloucestershire's not a county where we celebrate much during the Flat season, so it's good to know our handlers from north to south are as capable at the minimum distance as at the longer distances.
Keep it up, lads!
Berkeley Races news brings you articles about racing folk and events in and around the Berkeley country