Flemensfirth on a roll
It has been a great festive period for Flemensfirth with a run of winners, including another Graded success and several potential stars of the future.
At Chepstow, the Venetia Williams-trained Emperor's Choice (7g Flemensfirth -House-Of-Hearts, by Broken Hearted) showed tremendous battling qualities to see off 18 rivals on heavy ground over an extended three miles and five furlongs to get up and land the G3 Welsh National after making the running.
It was an emotional success for winning rider Aidan Coleman, who said: “I’ve been lucky to have ridden a lot of big winners in my career but I think this tops it. To win it for Venetia and the team means a lot.”
Williams added of the winner, who was bred by Pat Browne: “I thought the fact he was in front meant that either the ground was not testing enough or they were not going quick enough. I thought as a result there would be too many other horses travelling well turning for home and that we’d get outspeeded. He did, but when stamina came into play he was back out in front.
“He’d been quite a slow learner and I never thought he’d make the running in a prestigious race like this as I didn’t think he’d be quick enough. It was really special and he’s one of those fabulous horses that never thinks he has been beaten.”
Also at Chepstow, the Peter Bowen-trained Ghost River (4g Flemensfirth-Cresswell Native, by Be My Native) was an 11-length National Hunt Flat Race winner and he could now head for the G1 Champion Bumper at Cheltenham.
“He is a very good horse and won well at Perth, but came back wrong last time. Today he was spot on. He loves that soft ground and we could go over hurdles or put him away for the Cheltenham Festival,” Bowen told the Racing Post.
At Huntingdon, the Nicky Henderson-trained O O Seven (4g Flemensfirth-Kestral Heights, by Eagle Eyed) - a €130,000 store purchase - scored by 11 lengths on his debut while Miss Sophierose (6m Flemensfirth-Gimme Peace, by Aristocracy) maintained her unbeaten record under Rules when winning a Fontwell novices’ hurdle for trainer Warren Greatrex.
At Leopardstown, the Jessica Harrington-trained Rock On The Moor (6m Flemensfirth-Home At Last, by Mandalus) was a runaway maiden hurdle winner and will now bid for black-type while Space Cadet (4g Flemensfirth-Shuil A Hocht, by Mohaajir) justified trainer Gordon Elliott’s high regard when winning a hotly-contested bumper.