Dabinett Moon provides Hardwick with a double
Claire Hardwick completed a double at Saturday's Kingston Blount Racing Club point-to-point meeting.
Western Diva carried the colours made famous by 1988 Champion Hurdle winner Celtic Shot to a hard-fought victory.
Adlestrop trainer-rider Hardwick sported the pink and grey silks of the Cheltenham Festival hero – owned and bred by the late David Horton – in the Kingston Blount Racing Club Members’ Conditions Race.
Having taken up the running going up the hill for the last time, the nine-year-old mare stayed on best in the tacky ground to beat Will Fight despite a slow jump at the final fence.
Western Diva is owned by the Mini Dreams Partnership, which is headed by Sue Horton, who said: “I had been out of racing since dad died and everyone was saying you must get back in and Helen Hart, Claire’s mum said we have got this mare are you interested.
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“I took one look at her and liked her. Claire and the whole team have done a fantastic job, she has not been the easiest mare to train.”
Western Diva had fallen at Chaddesley Corbett last time out and Hardwick added: “It was all about trying to get back on track because we have had quite a frustrating season with her.”
Hardwick completed a riding double by taking the Bull And Butcher Ladies’ Open on Dabinett Moon, from Fran Marriott’s Chipping Norton stables.
Sent into the lead five from home, the ten-year-old quickly went clear after Goodnight Vienna made a bad mistake at the next, passing the post a distance ahead of Tabitha Worsley’s mount, who was the only other finisher.
Dabinett Moon had been pulled up in a hunters’ chase at Bangor-on-Dee in heavy ground on her previous start.
Christopher Marriott, who owns the mare with his wife, said: “It was really deep mud and carrying 12 stone over those bigger fences she couldn’t handle it. Only four runners finished.”
It was her 14th career success and Fran Marriott added: “What is amazing about her is when Claire says go, she goes.”