WINTERTHUR, Del.--It was a family affair as Sanna Neilson saddled Kings Apollo. owned by her half-brother Stewart Strawbridge and ridden by Gerard Galligan, to win the Winterthur Bowl Open Timber at the Winterthur Point-to-Point on May 6.
As usual, Winterthur enjoyed a huge number of spectators despite an overcast day that threatened rain that luckily held off until the races were done.
Kings Apollo broke his maiden in a sanctioned race at Winterthur last year, and moved up this year to win the Open race.
"He had an easy race at the Cheshire Point-to-Point," said Neilson. "Then he won at the Fair Hill Point-to-Point. I thought he'd run well today."
Kings Apollo won by 5 3/4 lengths over Upland Partners' Mystic Strike, trained and ridden by Mark Beecher, with Blair Wyatt's Witor, trained by her husband Todd and ridden by Jack Doyle, finishing third in the six horse field.
He ran easily towards the back of the field until the fourth to last fence before making his move and taking the lead at the third to last fence.
"He's a lovely horse," said Neilson, who is co-Master of Mr. Stewart's Cheshire Foxhounds. "I take the field on him."
"He jumped fantastic," said Galligan. "Sanna didn't give me much instructions. I've ridden him in his last three races. He jumped his way into the lead, and when he got in front he was really enjoying it. He's a lovely horse, and Sanna's done a great job with him."
ARMATA STABLE'S Rudyard K, trained by Wyatt and ridden by Beecher, won the Isabella duPont Sharp Memorial Maiden Timber by 3 1/4 lengths over EMO Stables' Appoggiatura, trained by Paul Fout and ridden by Barry Foley, with Sweet Talking Guy, owned and trained by Benjamin Swope and ridden by Erin Swope, finishing third in the eight horse field.
Rudyard K had run over hurdles, including G1 hurdle stakes, through 2016, with his best finish a third in the G3 Temple Gwathmey in 2016.
"He won at Piedmont Point-to-Point," said Wyatt. "He's got lots of talent, but he gets lost at times. Mark helped me with him."
"He's a good horse," said Beecher. "He'd fallen a couple of times over hurdles. Todd asked me before I went to Aiken for the winter if I thought he would make a timber horse,"
"He was good today," said Beecher. "He showed how talented he is. He learned a lot today."
Rudyard K ran second to Churchill D, who eventually finished fourth, for the first half of the race, sometimes jumping so well that he temporarily forged to the lead, before taking over the lead at 2 1/2 miles into the 4 mile race
THE WONDERFUL old campaigner Carrickboy, owned by Ricky Hendriks' Morningstar Farm, trained by Hendriks and ridden by ArchieMacAuley, won the Vicmead Plate Amateur Apprentice Timber in a very tight finish that had the Hendriks contingent thinking he'd lost.
He beat Irvin S. Naylor's Aquies, trained by Kathy Neilson and ridden by Eddie Keating, by 1/2 length, with that pair 38 lengths in front of third placed Certain Swagger, owned by Jeremy Batoff, trained by William Dowling and ridden by Evan Dwan and Upland Partners' Coastal Moon.
"He flew the last," said Hendriks.
"I bought him for McLane, said Hendriks, referring to his son. "It's too bad he wasn't on him today."
Mclane was at Winterthur, but with his left arm in a sling from torn ligaments in his shoulder suffered when Old Timer fell at the third fence in the Maryland Hunt Cup.
"Carrickboy won at Cheshire and was fourth in the amateur apprentice race at the Grand National," said Hendriks. "I hunt him. He's my hunter."
Carrickboy is 14, and Hendriks bought him in England when he was 10.
"He walked into the sales ring, and I looked at him and said `What a good-looking horse,' and I bought him," said Hendriks
"He ran over hurdles 28 times in England, and we've run him six times (five times in sanctioned races) over timber," said McLane.
Janet Elliot, recovering from a knee replacement, saddled Gregory Hawkins' Canaveral, ridden by Eric Poretz, to win the amateur Training Flat race over Whatdidyousee, owned by Grey Lake Stable, trained by Stephanie Dowling and ridden by Archie MacAuley.
Carrying a cane to help her walk, Elliot wore a red sweater with a giraffe on her back looking over her shoulder in front.
"I bought Canaveral when he was a 3-year-old at Newmarket," said Elliot. "He's won on the flat and over hurdles, but he's had injuries and has been off for quite a while. He's making a comeback."
Niall and Roselle Seville have been a great help to me with training while I've been recuperating from a knee replacement," said Elliot.