One More Fleurie gives Williams something to look forward to as Lady Dudley Cup heads eastward
Ian Williams may have developed another flagbearer in good quality Jumps races in One More Fleurie, pillar-to-post winner of the CPS Novices Champion Handicap Chase at Ayr yesterday. By Ian's high standards, this has been a season without a marquee horse, so the improvement in this seven year old Irish-bred (should surely be French with a name like that) will be most welcome.
Honours were even in the Jockeys' title race at Ayr yesterday with a winner apiece for Brian Hughes and Dan Skelton, the latter winning again on star novice Allmankind. With the Skelton yard firing on all cylinders, the retaining champion looks an improbable bet to reel in the six winner deficit by the end of Saturday.
One other Warwickshire yard is also going hammer and tongs at present. Tom Ellis has enjoyed no less than 15 winners since the resumption of Point-to-Point racing on March 29, including trebles at Charing, Kimble and Mollington. Successful again with Deans Road in division 2 of the Conditions race at Chaddesley on Saturday, his strike rate is to be envied. It can surely only be a matter of time before we lose him to the professional side of the sport.
Meantime, the sport's most prestigious classic, the Lady Dudley Cup, is headed to Hertfordshire, courtesy of a comprehensive victory by Bradley Gibbs and Premier Magic. Unbeaten this season, and already a course and distance winner from a Mixed Open before Christmas, Premier Magic took the lead 3 out and won going away, by 12l. Gibbs is another young handler - also rider - who is dominating the sport, this being the first leg of a double.