SOPHIE RALSTON, the 5lb apprentice attached to the yard, came late and fast to win on Kerrera yesterday at Chelmsford in the final stride.
The six-year-old chestnut mare by Champs Elysees was not only having her first run for the yard but was defying an absence of 179 days! Lightly raced, with only 16 previous races on the clock, the 12/1 shot was also dropping down to a mile, the shortest distance she had ever encountered.
The mare was given a patient ride by Sophie Ralston as she settled her at the back and as the Racing Post commented, she “looked more likely to be pulled up at the back of the field coming round the home turn than winning…” However, the mare travelled well two out but needed to pick up and pick up she did as she flew home to win in the last stride to deny Pearl Spectre.
It was one of those rides that if it comes off, the jockey comes up smelling of roses but if it doesn’t, there’s egg on your face. Having been off the course for so long the horse has had her problems and the young apprentice did not want to knock Kerrera about.
Congratulations to Mrs Gwen Thomas for whom this was her first winner in her own right at the yard. The mare, having won by such a short margin cannot be harshly treated by the handicapper, so hopefully, there’s more to come, possibly back over further.
Sophie was having her tenth winner of the year and her seventh for Harper Lodge Farm. She has contributed in no uncertain terms to the yard’s best ever season of 41 wins and traditionally, the yard does well at the end of the year, so there could be more winners to come!