Gillespie makes Dreams come true for owners at Jackdaws Castle
Former Cheltenham supremo Edward Gillespie journeyed to Devon in his new guise as syndicate organiser with Jonjo O’Neill and went home smiling after Ultimate Dream stayed on well to take the spoils in the first division of the 2m7f handicap hurdle.
The six-year-old runs in the colours of the five strong Ultimate Dreamers syndicate and Gillespie said: “This is my job now – putting together partnerships with horses at Jackdaws Castle and this horse is owned by one of five syndicates I have organised for Jonjo.
“This horse won around Towcester and now he has won here so he obviously likes testing courses and we all hope he can be as successful novice chasing as that will be his game in the autumn. He has the look and build for fences so fingers crossed.
“He's a fun horse for his owners, many of whom are here today, and they have had a lovely day out with a winner in their colours being the icing on the cake. This is what we are about – the horses are not stars but they give everyone something to smile about and that is the main thing.”
Wind of change
Seamus Durack is operating at a strike-rate of 29 per cent at present and the Upper Lambourn trainer added to those statistics after Meldrum Lad defied top weight to score for the second time in eight days when comfortably landing the 2m3f novice handicap chase.
Durack said: “This is only his third start for us and he is a nice looking horse but his form in Ireland was shocking and, after his first start for us at Huntingdon, I took an educated guess that his wind wind might be stopping him.
“So he had a soft palate operation and it seems to have done the trick as he has now won his last two starts. I probably would not be averse to stepping him back to two miles as he's a horse who travels so well and they go that bit quicker over the minimum trip.”
Two of the west country’s top lady riders shared the finish of the 3m handicap chase and the Lucy Gardner-partnered Only Gorgeous stayed on strongly from the final fence to thwart the attentions of Quinto, ridden by Bryony Frost.
Gardner’s trainer mother Sue said: “This horse is slow but he barely gets three miles. Lucy has given him a peach of a ride as they went no gallop – that really helped his chances as she was able to lie up with them until making his move.
“He is owned by my husband Des and Jane Edgar, who has flown in from Jersey to see him run, so it’s great that he has won. He is just a fun horse but he has to go right-handed so we might think about taking him on the long haul to Perth in the coming weeks, as I think that course would suit him.”
Tactical Manoeuvre was pulled up over fences last time but made the switch back to hurdles pay off for trainer Alexandra Dunn at Exeter and the success also provided one of the six-year-old’s owners, Rob Coombes, with his first ever winner.
Quote of the day
“I’m absolutely gobsmacked he has won” – trainer Dan Skelton after the victory of Free Stone Hill at Exeter after his much better fancied stablemate, Shantou Rock, capsized at the final hurdle with the race in the bag.
Thought for the day
It might only have been a humble selling hurdle won by Gambol but there was interest in a couple of the beaten horses with Totnes-based trainer Martin Hill claiming runner-up The Wexfordian and Johnny Farrelly stepping into snap up sixth home Pension Madness.