PEPPER LANE and Danny Tudhope win the William Hill Great St Wilfred RIPON 18th August 2012
Saturday 18th August saw the most valuable race day at Ripon a total of over £135,000 in prize money which included £15,000 for the Ripon Hornblower, £70,000 for the Great St.Wilfrid & £20,00 for the consolation race.
Our first race (1.45pm) was the ‘From Ripon to Epsom All Done Maiden Auction Stakes’ , the class 5 contest over 6f was kindly sponsored by Mr Francis Reid who was celebrating visiting every race course in Britain. Mr Reid a keen racegoer had left Ripon as his last racecourse to visit and he picked a great race! The first race on the Great St. Wilfrid meeting’s card was won by 25/1 shot ‘Grey Street’ trained by Richard Fahey, with Mel Brittain continuing his fine form with Balinka coming in 2nd by 1 & 3/4 L, Tim Easterby’s highly fancied 13/8f ‘Bachoftheque’ could only come in 4th.
Our second race (2.20pm) was the first running of the ‘William Hill Silver Trophy Handicap (Consolation Race for the William Hill Great St Wilfrid Stakes)’. The 6f Class 2 contest was introduced this year for horses that lost out at the final declaration stage for the days feature race, with previous winner’s Tanjeed & Damika amongst those competing. The race was won by ‘El Viento’ trained by Richard Fahey who secured an early double within the first two races, beating 5/2F Prodigality by a short head. 2010 Great St Wilfrid winner Damika ws the closest of the previous winners coming in 4th by 2l.
Our third race (2.55pm) was the ‘VW Van Centre Handicap’ which saw Tim Easterby add to his tally of winners this season. Riden by Duran Fentiman ‘Mirrored’ won the 1m class 3 race for 3yo+ by an amazing 4 l, with Michael Smith trained Vito Volterra coming in second.
Our fourth and feature race (3.30pm) was the return of our most valuable and most famous race ‘ The William Hill Great St Wilfrid Stakes’. With a total prize fund of £70,000 the race is one of two televised races and see’s the return of many ‘Ripon favourates’. This year saw the return of last years winner, with two other previous winners only making into the consolation race. The 6f class 2 handicap contest is never an easy race to predict and until today has never seen a repeat victory never mind a repeat victory in consecutive years.
The race saw in form Richard Fahey’s ‘Alben Star’ go off as favourate of the 20 runners. As the race got into full swing it became an apparent battle between ‘Tax Free’ and last years winner and Ripon specialist ‘Pepper Lane’, with Kevin Ryan’s ‘Louis the Pious’ & ‘Captain Ramius’ also contesting. ‘Pepper Lane’ with his firm friend Daniel Tudhope kicked on to take to race by 1 1/2 lengths at a cracking 20/1. She was brought in to a tremendous cheer and was greeted by overwhelmed owners and trainer David O’Meara. Well done Pepper!!
Our fifth race (4.00pm) was the return of yet another traditional Ripon race, the ‘Ripon Hornblower Conditions Stakes’ the race which is started by the resident Ripon Hornblower, a traditon which goes back over 50 years. the class 3 6f sprint for 2yo was this year taken by Marlborough based trainer Richard Hannon. ‘Pearl Acclaim’ beat Roger Varians ‘Ashaadd‘ who was highly fancied at 11/8 by a comfortable 2 1/2 lengths, giving the punters another decent priced winner and another race not taken by the favoured horse.
Our sixth race at (4.35pm) ‘The British Stallion Studs Supporing British Racing E.B.F Fillies’ Handicap Stakes’ a class 4 one mile one furlong spring for fillies and mares 3yo+ saw a contest of our leading trainers go head to heard. With Tim Easterby, Richard Fahey & David O’Meara all with strong chances. The race secured a jockey & trainer double for Daniel Tudhope & David O’ Meara with ‘Miss Ellany’ coming in clear of Fahey’s ‘Lady Loch’ by 2 1/2 lengths.
Our seventh and final race of the meeting was ‘The SIS Live Handicap Stakes’ the 1m1f race for 3yo was taken by Mark Johnston trained ‘Hyperlink’ the close contest saw a three way race between Maybeagrey & MillyMonkin, a battle between uncle and nephew Tim & Mick Easterby. Hyperlink pulled clear and took the contest by 1 1/4f to get Mark’s first winner of the day.