It’s the Kerry and Kelly Show at Newbury

The battalions of Willie Mullins and J P McManus were defied in the richest handicap hurdle of the season at Newbury on Saturday afternoon. Attempting to gain further ground on Paul Nicholl’s in the race to be crowned British Champion trainer, Irish champion Mullins sent five over to contest the Betfair Hurdle. Also five handed was owner J P McManus, who numbered the well fancied Blazer and Modus amongst his team.

Mullins, McManus and the rest were repelled by a young rider whose star is ascending rapidly. Lizzie Kelly has already entered the record books by becoming the first female to ride a Grade 1 winner over jumps, courtesy of Tea For Two’s success in the Kauto Star Novices Chase at Kempton. Not one to rest on her laurels, Lizzie produced a superb ride to romp home aboard the unexposed Agrapart for her stepfather Nick Williams. Kelly was one of the most alert to the importance of achieving a prominent position in this hurly burly contest.

Keeping her mount well placed throughout, nothing could live with Agrapart’s relentless gallop to the line. Lizzie has the personality to match her talent in the saddle, a breath of fresh air to the racing world, this won’t be the last time we see he in the spotlight. Exactly how much we see of Lizzie could come down to her ability to curb her infectious enthusiasm, expressing her joy at this triumph Lizzie said, “ …Im so thrilled that right now I could run round this parade naked…”.

For Kelly the victory of Agrapart was no doubt the stuff dreams are made of. For the six Scoop6 winners attempting to bag the colossal bonus fund of £895,771 it proved to be the end of that particular dream. Attempting to maximise their chances, the six covered six of the more fancied runners in the race, including three of the Mullins runners. In truth they never looked like collecting with the running on Affaire D’Honneur finishing closest in fourth. We can’t feel too sorry for this sextet however as the each bagged a whopping £66,858 for their efforts last weekend.

It was all about the girls on Saturday as Kerry Lee landed yet another big Saturday success. The aptly named Top Gamble was punted at all odds to eventually be sent of the 11/10f for the Betfair Exchange Chase also at Newbury. The presence of Paul Nicholl’s defending Champion Chaser Dodging Bullets in the field did little to halt the momentum of this punt. Those to side with Lee’s eight-year-old were barely made to sweat, Top Gamble appeared to have the race in safe keeping a long way from home, eventually crossing the line 10 lengths ahead of Dodging Bullets. Having already achieved notable successes with Mountainous in the Welsh National and Russe Blanc in Betfred Classic at Warwick, Lee could hardly have hoped for a better start to her first season as a trainer. Like Lizzie Kelly she is another lady to keep on your side in the coming months.