St Moritz: the British duo were out of luck in Switzerland's richest race
Baker's Ancient lands historic hat-trick on ice
Report: Switzerland, Sunday
Grand Prix The St. Leger Club of Lucerne 1m1f, (ice)
THE George Baker-trained Ancient Greece created a slice of Swiss racing history on Sunday when landing the Grand Prix The St Leger Club of Lucerne, his third win on successive weekends on the ice at St Moritz.
Ridden by Jim Crowley, the six-year-old got up fast and late, much to the delight of Baker, who said: “I’m so excited and thrilled. They’re telling me no horse has won on three weekends on the trot – it’s amazing.
“For a 77-rated handicapper who could have been running round Wolverhampton for £1,500, it’s great. He’s won over £20,000 for the three races.”
Baker, who began training from the Sangster’s historic Manton estate in December following his move from Whitsbury Manor Stables, added: “Huge credit goes to the owners for agreeing with my madcap idea, and the horse has been a real star.
“I wanted to jump a hurdle with him but he’s a good-ground horse so I thought of this. It’s one instance where the bad weather’s helped us, otherwise he’d be in a novice hurdle at Taunton.
“I think the thing that’s captured the imagination here is that horses don’t run three weeks on the spin, let alone win. We’ve been fantastically looked after and think we’ll have half a party tonight.
“The horse deserves a break and I’ll look to run him over hurdles, but we might come back next year – we’ve had so much fun.”
Fellow British raiders Tepmokea and Maverik finished down the field in the Grosser Preis von St Moritz, Switzerland’s richest race of the year.
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St Moritz: Grosser Preis von St Moritz 1m2f, ice
TEPMOKEA fared best of the two British raiders in Switzerland's richest race of the year but could only manage a sixth place finish under Shane Kelly in the 1m2f contest.
Having finished third in his prep race at this course two weeks ago, Tepmokea was in contention for much of the race but tired turning for home over this longer trip.
The win went the way of Russian Tango, ridden by by Josef Bojko for Andreas Wohler, the 4.7-1 second favourite hanging on from Winterwind. The pair pulled well clear of the third horse home Nightdance Paulo.
Tepmokea raced behind the front runner Quinindo for the early part of the race, the Elaine Burke-trained runner kept company by Jim Crowley on Ralph Beckett's Maverik. Racing from a poor draw, that one was always up against it as he tried to win at the track for the second year running, and faded out of contention running down the back straight.
At that point Tepmokea looked like he may still be a factor but he dropped back as heads were turned for home.
Rab Havlin, who travelled to Switzerland for the ride on Halling River in the race had the unfortunate experience of being unseated on the frozen lake when the runners were behind the stalls.