Dubai Hills continued his reign as the king of the Fibresand with victory in the feature event on Southwell’s most valuable fixture of the year.
The Ladbrokes Handicap, a seven-furlong affair worth �11,972 to the winner, provided a seventh victory from only eight starts at the Nottinghamshire course for Bryan Smart’s popular seven-year-old.
Sent off the 11-4 favourite under Graham Lee, Dubai Hills was produced with a strong effort over the last couple of furlongs and eventually wore down Frontier Fighter by a neck, with the pair five lengths clear of the rest.
Thirsk-based Smart has been touched by the response of all-weather followers to the gelding, saying: “He’s an amazing horse. We’ve had some lovely tweets and messages about him. Someone said that they should put up a statue of him at Southwell!
“I’ve no idea why he likes it there, but he’s just a different horse round there and if they keep putting on races there, we’ll keep coming. There’s a race at Wolverhampton for him, I don’t think he’ll go there, but I think there’s another one over seven for him at Southwell coming up, then there’s a final at Southwell.”
Seven is some way short of the 13 Southwell wins achieved by La Estrella, but Smart said: “Most of La Estrella’s wins were in claimers and sellers, this horse has been winning handicaps, so it’s a totally different thing. He’s got a real following at the course now, they like to see him. He’s become a bit of a Southwell legend.”
Alan McCabe managed the notable achievement of turning around the form of the ex-David O’Meara Bedloe’s Island to strike at 33-1 in the bookmakers.co.uk Handicap, beating Equitania by a head.
The Ron Harris-trained Pensax Lad proved a worthy 5-4 favourite in the 32Red Nursery, while Rock Of Ages (7-2) drew well clear in the 32Red.com Handicap for a four-length call over Tobrata.
Apprentice Jack Garrity and Alpha Tauri (8-1) proved too determined for 11-8 favourite Spitfire in the Best Odds At bookmakers.co.uk Classified Claiming Stakes
Another Ladbrokes Handicap was divided, with legs one and two going to Sakash (9-4 joint-favourite) and Izzy Boy (7-2 joint-favourite) respectively. No Win No Fee paid out at 4-1 to his supporters in the Ladbrokes Wishes Paula Wilson Happy 50th Handicap.Read the rest of the story British Horseracing Authority News Headlines