Rowley bidding for Connolly’s RED MILLS Final

02 May 2019

Britain’s Foran Equine champion trainer Philip Rowley bids to win the £8,000 Connolly’s RED MILLS Intermediate Point-to-Point Championship Final at Cheltenham for the first time tomorrow.
In a race for which 15 horses have been declared, Rowley and reigning men’s champion rider Alex Edwards team up with six-year-old Salvatore, whose winning run came to a halt on his latest start at Maisemore Park in March.Salvatore-(left,-Alex-Edwards)-on-his-way-to-victory-at-Thorpe-Lodge-(Ce)-DSC_0016.JPG
He finished third behind two smart horses, but Rowley says: “He wasn’t right after the race – a blood test showed he probably had a bug, and I don’t think the course played to his strengths either. It’s a little bit tight. Cheltenham is much more likely to suit him and I’m hopeful, but there will be horses in the race who at this stage of the season are showing improved form, and other showing lesser form.”
Captain McGinley won a Connolly’s RED MILLS intermediate point-to-point at Monmouthshire Showground in March, and he lines up tomorrow under Bradley Gibbs, while Pancrace, who was third, has also been declared and will be ridden by Bryan Carver.

Beverley Thomas, who trains Captain McGinley in Pembrokeshire, says: “He’s been in good nick since his latest win, and while we don’t have a gallop and train him around the farm, we’ve had just enough rain to get away with it. He’s a big lump of a horse, and not suited to running around small tracks, but Cheltenham should be fine. Straight after the race at Monmouth we decided to keep him for the Final. We are big fans of Connolly’s RED MILLS’ sponsorship, and while we don’t expect to win we will be chuffed to be in the shake up.”
Suffolk trainer Andrew Pennock has run just one horse at Cheltenham, and he pulled up, but tomorrow he fires two arrows at the Connolly’s RED MILLS Final – Chapelier is the mount of James Martin, while Laser Beam is the choice of the stable’s no.1 rider, Dickie Collinson. Both horses were maidens when bought out of Ireland, yet have compiled seven wins for Pennock, who says: “Laser Beam has been a revelation. I’ve never known a horse who improves so much every time he runs. I bought Chapelier based on a run at Tramore in June 2017, when he was fourth in a hurdle race – the fifth horse was Ballinahow Bill [who has become a leading pointer in Yorkshire].
“It’s a massive step up for both horses tomorrow, but they have earned the right to go there, and the news that Cheltenham has done a good job of watering the ground is music to my ears. Dickie had the difficult choice of choosing one of the two and opted for Laser Beam, but I would be delighted with a dead-heat!”
Tricky Silence is bidding for a five-timer tomorrow, and his trainer, Oxfordshire-based Jamie Goss, says: “His latest race didn’t take much out of him, and he’s been leading the babies that I break and pre-train. Jamie Brace broke his jaw and fractured his cheekbone in a fall, so I’ve given the ride to Luke Scott [16] who came and rode the horse last week.”
In a typically competitive Connolly’s RED MILLS Intermediate Final it will be a challenge to name the winner. Others to consider include Doctor’s Differ and Coco Live, who were first and second at Larkhill a year ago and have progressed since, Black Jewel and Latenightpass, who finished in that order at Cottenham in December, and the consistent pair of Ballycahane and Sixteen Letters.