Beginners' luck in Theatre Queen win

First published in Headlines

THEATRE Queen belied her inexperience with an impressive win in the Coronation Gold Cup, one of point-topoint’s four classic races, at Larkhill.

The seven-year-old sauntered home a long-looking 12 lengths ahead of useful yardsticks Bellsinni Ron and Rumbavu after leading at the top of the final climb. The mare had run in just five races before Saturday, winning four times and suffering her only defeat when left at the start at Wadebridge in December. Trainer/rider Mark Wall reported that Theatre Queen will not be aimed at this season’s Cheltenham Foxhunter, but may appear at Cheltenham’s Hunter Chase Evening on April 30.

The win completed a double for West Midlands stables after the Alastair Ralphtrained Stratford Stroller returned from a near 12- month absence to take the Club Members event. The 10- year-old led at halfway under owner Pat Tollit’s granddaughter, Phine Banks, before readily holding off Flemish Invader, who looked a real threat approaching the last.

Crewkerne trainer Jack Barber flew the Wessex flag with a double with Subtle Sovereign (Restricted) and Aikideau (Ladies’ Open).

Barber took the reins himself aboard the former, who again impressed as he readily followed up his January 25 course success. Aikideau, bought privately by Sarah Barber, Pippa James and Sarah “SJ” Longman after carrying the Stewart family’s Big Buck’s colours under Rules, opened his pointing account after jockey Bryony Frost grabbed the inside line rounding the final bend.

Northamptonshire trainer Sylvia Edmunds thanked former jockey Tim Lane after Grand Exit’s comfortable Jockey Club Mares’ Maiden win under Sam Davies- Thomas.

Sean Bowen, 16, doubled his career tally when his uncle Willie Bryan’s Overafrica was left clear by Themanfromcork’s last fence fall in the Horses & Geldings Maiden.

The ease of Tempelpirate’s Novice Riders’ race success under Katy Lyons surprised his Newbury owner-trainer Tim Underwood. “He’s a good horse but I thought he would need the race,” he said.

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