Dabinett Moon is on course to retain her crown at Stratford after succcess in Sunday’s Heythrop Hunt Point-to-Point meeting.
Trained by Fran Marriott at Chipping Norton, Dabinett Moon landed the Skinner’s Ladies’ Open in tremendous style to set up a potential defence of her crown in the series final at Stratford in June.
After the 15-year-old Carruthers and 14-year-old Start Royal had made much of the running in the 3m 4f contest at Cocklebarrow, Claire Hardwick sent Dabinett Moon, a mere youngster by comparison at the age of ten, into the lead four fences from home.
Her mount quickly strode clear, coasting home by 12 lengths from Carruthers with Start Royal three lengths further adrift.
Meeting secretary Christopher Marriott owns Dabinett Moon in partnership with his wife, Fran, and he said: “I was very worried that the ground was against her because it was quite sticky. I was not certain she would stay the extra distance against horses like Carruthers and Start Royal.”
Quite taken by the unusual trophy for winning the final last year, Fran added that is where the daughter of Midnight Legend may end up this term, she said: “I rather like the lovely silver dog bowl that we have sitting on the sideboard!”
Owners Clive and Eileen Bennett ended a long wait for a first success in one of the sport’s four ‘Classics’ when Iberico justified odds-on favouritism in the Lord Ashton of Hyde’s Cup.
Sam Jukes, who trains for the Bennetts at Dymock, near Ledbury, gave the 12-year-old gelding a patient ride before setting him alight going to the third-last fence in the 3m 6½f Smith & Williamson Men’s Open.
Despite a slight stumble after the final obstacle, the son of King’s Theatre had four lengths to spare over Legal Legend (Nick Meek), with According To Trev (Sam Burton) three lengths back in third.
Following a great spin on Carruthers, Lily Bradstock went one better when Damby’s Star completed his comeback from a broken pelvis two years ago by taking the Wurzel High Speed Broadband Six-year-olds And Over Open Maiden.
The eight-year-old gelding, owned and trained by Bradstock’s mother, Sara, at Letcombe Bassett, near Wantage, battled to a two-and-a-half-length victory over George Herbert (Sam Morgan), the only other finisher from the 13-strong field.