Marcle Ridge books Cheltenham ticket

28 February 2019
Owner/breeder Clive Bennett was thinking ahead after his Marcle Ridge landed the Connolly’s RED MILLS Intermediate Point-to-Point, held at Chaddesley Corbett on Saturday.
 
Bennett said: “He’ll go for the open race at Maisemore Park and then be given an entry for Cheltenham’s evening meeting. He will have a couple of options there, and one of them will be the Connolly’s RED MILLS Final.”
 
He also said: “Sam’s very good, isn’t he,” a reference to rider/trainer Sam Jukes, who did the steering as seven-year-old Marcle Ridge came home alone. He was joined in the line-up by Every Breakin Wave from Claire Hitch’s stable, and the Roger Wilcox-trained January Don, but neither of those two rivals completed the course – Every Breakin Wave was booked for a distant second when falling at the last.
 
Jukes, whose mount set the pace from the start, said: “It all went very smoothly, but ideally I would have liked him to have had a bit more of an education. I told the other riders I was going to make the running and hoped they would come and give me a race, but my horse jumped so well in front and he’s taking one stride when other horses take two.
 
“I’d like to ride him on softer ground, because he runs on his nerves a bit on this quicker ground.”

Marcle Ridge is the result of a mating between former champion sire Presenting and the mare Labarynth, who won point-to-points for Bennett under eight-time British champion Polly Gundry. An hour after Marcle Ridge won his year-younger half-sister Shometheway – trained and ridden by Jukes – ran in a maiden race and finished second.
 
Feed manufacturers Connolly’s RED MILLS is now into its twelfth season of national sponsorship of British point-to-pointing. It is once again backing 14 point-to-points, plus a hunter chase final at Cheltenham on Friday, May 3.