String Of Taking Weekend Winners For Milan
Grange Stud sire Milan enjoyed a string of winners of the weekend, beginning with Mr Hendricks (5g Milan - Coming Home, by Exit To Nowhere) winning Saturday’s Five-Year-Old Geldings Maiden at Kirkistown by 15 lengths.
Having finished fourth last time out at Kilfeacle, Kate Harrington’s progressive charge stretched clear approaching the final fence and ran on to score by 15 lengths. The Pat Kinsella-bred gelding is a three-parts brother to John Hanlon’s useful charge Kilkishen (Oscar) and Louis’ Vac Pouch (Oscar), who is now two from two over fences.
The following day at Belclare, the Norman Lee-trained Rebel Leader (5g Milan - Chicharito’s Gem, by Flemensfirth) made a winning debut in the maiden for five-year-olds and upwards. Ridden prominently by Chris O’Donovan, the bay showed an admirable attitude to knuckle down in the closing stages and score by three lengths.
Owned by Sarah Hogan and bred by Mrs Kathleen Lee, Rebel Leader is the first foal out of a full-sister to black-type performer Taking Stock (Flemensfirth).
Across the water at Warwick, the Katy Price-trained Lucca Lady (8g Milan - Trail Storm, by Supreme Leader) impressed on her first start over fences. Despite being badly hampered in the early stages of the two and a half mile race, the bay mare made excellent headway to lead after the third last and ran on strongly to win by 13 lengths. Adding to the fine impression of Lucca Lady’s success was the runner-up Whatduhavtoget, who came into the race with two successive chase wins to her name.
"I thought Lucca Lady wasn't quite ready or fully wound up, but this was the only opportunity we had to qualify for a mares' race at Cheltenham in April. Our hand was forced and we had to come, but she is classy. She'll go to Cheltenham next.”
Placed in a point-to-point and two bumpers for Richard Rath, Lucca Lady went on to win her first start for Price and has been ultra-consistent in finishing in the first three on 11 occassions, from 14 starts under rules. Bred by Frank McGuinness, she is out of a winning half-sister to the talented hurdler Lady Zephyr.