Popaway flies to victory at Oakley for Harkin
Popaway made up for missing out at last week's Cheltenham Festival by taking the honours in Sunday's Oakley Hunt Point-to-Point meeting.
Edgcote trainer Pauline Harkin believes Popaway is getting better with age.
Harkin’s 12-year-old mare, who was balloted out of Friday’s St James’s Palace Foxhunters at the Cheltenham Festival, produced a dazzling display to take the Fisher German Ladies Open at Braefield-on-the-Green.
A mighty leap at the fifth last fence took Immy Robinson’s mount into the lead and she stormed clear to slam last year’s winner, Dabinett Moon, by 20 lengths, with Vedettariat a further 25 lengths back in third.
Popaway passed the post in 6:8.26, almost seven seconds quicker than any other winner on the card.
Harkin said: “The older she gets the better she becomes, it is quite extraordinary. She is just loving the game, I don’t know why she is getting better.
“It seems to be this season in particular. She has always been good but never this good.”
Robinson added: “She loves winning so much. She is unbelievable and it is a great privilege to ride her.”
Popaway’s main target this term is a repeat of last year’s success in the mares’ race at the Cheltenham Hunter Chase meeting in May.
Owner-trainer Robert Waley-Cohen could aim Facile Bien at one of the Goffs UK Point-to-Point Bumpers after the six-year-old rattled up a hat-trick of wins with a smart performance in the Bells Motor Group Confined Race.
Sam Waley-Cohen took up the running at the fourth last and he quickly went clear to hammer Golden Tobouggan, who was chasing a four-timer, by 15 lengths.
Afterwards, the Edghill trainer said: “I bought him at the sales at Cheltenham. He had run in three point-to-points in Ireland and was second in all of them.
“He has now won a maiden, restricted and confined, so we will probably have to look for an intermediate.”
The jockey added: “He has matured this season and is making up into a really nice prospect.”