FANTASTIC FLYER’S win at Chelmsford tonight over 6f under Sophie Ralston, brought up win number 500 for Dean Ivory!
Earlier this month, Sophie won on Fantastic Flyer at the Essex track and this column posed the question as to which horse would achieve the 500th win and who would be the winning rider. The piece ended with “You probably wouldn’t want to back against it being Sophie Ralston!”
Last time, the combination won by half a length but tonight’s winning margin was an easy three length success. The daughter of Harbour Watch, drawn two of eight, took a keen hold and made all. Ridden and kicked clear over a furlong from home, she was always in command and the 15/8 favourite ran on well without ever looking in danger.
This was Fantastic Flyer’s seventh win since she broke her duck last April and was achieved off a 30lb higher mark than her debut success. Bred by Gracelands Stud, who have had plenty of success at Harper Lodge Farm over the years, the filly is owned by Martyn McGuinness, who was enjoying his second win from four runs since taking ownership. Congratulations to Martyn, who if the handicapper isn’t too harsh, could enjoy further success with the “Flyer.”
Last year was a record one for the stable numerically with 42 wins notched up on the board. Reaching 500 wins since Ken Ivory handed over the licence is a wonderful feeling and a great tribute to the staff at Harper Lodge Farm, who have worked tirelessly over the years. Particular special mention should go to Head Lad, Chris Scallly and Travelling Head Lad, Graham Mash, both former winning jockeys, who have been at the yard over 60 years between them.
Racing is a game full of ups and downs as we know so it’s important to celebrate milestones when they come along. Congratulations to all owners, staff and jockeys over the years who have helped bring up the 500….and of course to those who really made it possible…the many winning horses at Harper Lodge Farm!