While consistent, Rivabodiva has taken time to win over hurdles and it was excellent to see her sprint away up the Ayr run-in this afternoon. She has come back from a summer break better than ever and she has given her owners, Mark and Susie Russell and her young jockey Thomas Willmott a day to remember. It was Thomas' first win under rules and knowing this articulate, focused, hard working boy it should be the first of many. He and Riva are pictured coming up the run in. In the same race, Spoils Of War looked much more genuine and stayed on again when passed to be fourth. He looks to have turned a corner and become reliable again.
Vengeur De Guye can also be called consistent as he has run some super races over fences. He was due to improve for his seasonal debut and given a top ride from Derek he snatched the win on the line. On soft ground, he will always give his all and he should be able to continue to run well this winter.
Our day had highs and lows as we had two fallers: Templenaboe took a tired crumple at the last hurdle, and though down for a few minutes he was soon recovered and is totally sound this evening. The black screens put up around him were ominous but as ever the racecourse vets were on the scene and the situation was under control. Well Above Par was most unlucky for a loose horse to squeeze him into the corner of the fourth last and his inexperience caused a stumbling error. He had jumped with aplomb up to then and while a stayer in time Derek reported that he has loads of gears.
The novices had a mixed day; Chasseur De Tetes finished his race strongly and has improved, while Saint Freule was far too keen and we are going to have to work hard on him at home to change his style of running. Run Rocky Run shaped with lots of promise and while he could have done with some company in front he was not beaten far and will have learned a lot.
Thanks to Martin Scott for today's photograph