The first major event in the British Harness Racing calendar took place at Appleby on Sunday and Monday the 24th and 25th of May and it proved a be an extremely
successful weekend for Scottish horses.
On Sunday Scottish horses captured 3 of the 10 heats at the sun soaked Appleby.
In heat 2 Rhyds Pearl showed raw ability and severe guts and determination to capture the race in impressive style. Driven by Gregor Menzies the 4yr old Hasty Hall filly was up against the much hyped Fought Hanover. The connections of Rhyds Pearl were not blinded by the hype and she was well backed at 5/2. She rewarded their confidence by landing heat 2 in a very impressive manner. The final however proved a little too much for the inexperienced Pearl after such a tough run in her heat. She did run a very credible fourth and this Alec Thomson owned filly looks to have a big future ahead of her.
Heat 5 saw the Stuart McColl owned Dilly’s Hero land the spoils. Successful already this season at Corbiewood, the Coalford Art gelding was quietly fancied to capture this race and he duly obliged. Driven by William Drysdale, Dilly’s Hero opened up a nice lead and held on well to record another win at Appleby for trainer Willie Kyle. A big price in the final, Hero never really got into the race however he performed admirably and connections were delighted with his performance in the heat.
Heat 9 looked to be a very competitive race; however Alex Hay and Hamish Muirhead’s Western Magnum won very cosily. Although not the fastest heat of the day the imported son of Western Maverick won comfortably but was deemed an outsider in the final. Western Magnum had other ideas and showed that his price of 9/1 in the final was inflated by collaring the well fancied Artists Control to capture the final. Supremely driven by Hugh Menzies in both heat and final, Western Magnum took home the £2000 winners cheque. Owner Hamish Muirhead stated “the horse went superb and I couldn’t believe the price of him in the final. It’s safe to say we had a small wager on him and im over the moon.” Western Magnum is now 3 for 3 this year and the striking horse looks sure to be competitive wherever he races next.
On Monday the weather continued on from Sunday and so did the Scottish winners.
In heat 4 Dreamfair Samurai kept the Scottish flag flying high with an excellent victory. The 2008 Appleby winner was not going to give up his crown easily and won his heat comfortably against the much fancied recent Tregaron winner Mystery Man. In his post race interview driver Gordon Gilvear explained that he was quietly confident he would run a big race but the manor of his victory surprised him. Little did he know that the events of the final were about to create history. The imported Dream Away gelding was the backmarker in the final trailing 50yds. The strongly fancied Matador Hall trailed 30yds and was deemed the one to beat. Throughout the race the 5yo Dreamfair Samurai stalked the two favourites Matador Hall and See My Reflection. Turning for home Stoneriggs Chris was around 5 lengths clear with a line of 4 gunning for him. Widest of all was Dreamfair Samurai and he had Stoneriggs Chris in his sights. Dreamfair Samurai was catching Stoneriggs Chris with every stride and somehow Samurai collared Chris on the line to win by a nose. It was an exceptional performance and the roar of the Scottish supporters was deafening. Owned and trained by John Gilvear, Dreamfair Samurai became the first horse in the 80 years of the Spring Races at Appleby to successfully defend his crown.
Congratulations to the connections of all the winners but a special mention for Western Magnum and especially Dreamfair Samurai.