Cheltenham Bumper Winner Leads Fine Weekend For Westerner
Bonttay (4f Westerner - Ben’s Turn, by Saddlers’ Hall) made it two from two when landing the Class 2 bumper at Cheltenham’s first meeting of the new season.
The Fergal O’Brien-trained filly ran out an easy winner on debut in August, but was just one of two fillies to line-up for Saturday’s contest. Held up by Connor Brace, the daughter of Westerner made steady headway from four furlongs out and raced in touch turning for home. Running on strongly inside the final furlong, she led close home and scored by three parts of a length on the line.
Owned by her trainer in partnership with CB Brookes, Bonttay was bred by Pat Connell of Peria Stud.
Westerner had enjoyed a successful start to the weekend when Corrigeen Rock (4g Westerner - Set In Her Ways, by Old Vic) justified favouritism in the two mile maiden hurdle at Kelso.
A four length winner of his sole previous start in a four-year-old maiden for Denis Murphy, the bay was partnered by Derek Fox on his first start for Lucinda Russell. Making all of the running, he was ridden approaching the final furlong and kept on well to win by a length and a half from Parisencore (Walk In The Park).
Owned by the Caledonian Racing Society, Corrigeen Rock was bred by JJ Howlett.
At Wexford the following afternoon, Fire Attack (6g Westerner - Seesea, by Dr Massini) made a smart start over fences to win the Beginners Chase over two and a half miles.
Sent off favourite under Shane Fitzgerald, the Joseph O’Brien-trained bay made all the running and maintained a clear advantage at the second last. Racing further clear on the run-in, he scored by six lengths, with another 15 lengths back to the third horse.
Owned by Gigginstown House Stud, Fire Attack adds to a bumper win and had twice earned black-type over hurdles. The son of Westerner was bought by his trainer for €72,000 at the Derby Sale from breeder Longrove Stud.