SOPHIE RALSTON, one of two apprentices attached to the stable came late and fast to win on Kerrera tonight at Chelmsford by the shortest of noses at 12/1.
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, she was also dropping down to a mile, the shortest distance she had ever encountered. (She was previously a winner at Newmarket over a mile and a half back in August 2017).
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. Sophie must have ice cool blood in her veins!
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 with hopefully one or two more to come before the end of December!