Graham Lee brings up his Flat 50
Graham Lee rode his 50th winner of an incredible first summer on the Flat when Voodoo Prince provided the jockey with a double in the feature City Of Ripon Stakes at the Garden Racecourse.
The Grand National-winning rider, who partners today’s nap Only Ten Per Cent at Catterick, admits he cannot quite believe how well things have gone since he switched codes at the start of the season. And he did not bring up his milestone on just any old horse.
Voodoo Prince happens to be the first foal of one of the greatest racemares in recent years, Ouija Board. Trained, just like his mother, by Ed Dunlop, Voodoo Prince has not been the easiest to handle and has been lightly raced. But in defying a mark of 85, he showed there is plenty of ability, if not quite living up to his breeding.
Barren Brook came with a rare rattle from the rear but the 8-1 shot held on by a length.
“He’s done that well,” said Lee, who did not even ride his first winner until May. “The pace was generous and even, and he slotted in nicely and picked up well. That’s now 50 for the season so it’s happy days.
“I’m just thankful to everybody over how well it’s gone. I’m really surprised and I keep having to pinch myself.”
Dunlop’s travelling head lad, Robin Trevor-Jones, said of Voodoo Prince: “He’s Ouija Board’s first foal so it was always going to be tough for him with all the attention. He’s not easy to train as he’s not the soundest, so the boss has been patient with him.”
Lee also won on the James Given-trained Girl At The Sands (5-1).
Meanwhile, former Cheltenham Gold Cup hero Imperial Commander is reported to be on course for a return to action at Haydock in November.
The Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained 11-year-old claimed the blue riband when beating Denman by seven lengths at Prestbury Park in 2010, a race in which Kauto Star fell.
However, he has been off the track since being pulled up in last year’s Gold Cup.
Ian Robinson, part of the owning Our Friends In The North syndicate, posted in his blog on www.imperial-horseracing.com: “Imperial Commander is making good progress to the extent that he will start to canter early next week.
“All being well the plan is to start off in the Betfair Chase at Haydock on 24 November – fingers and everything else crossed.”
In 2009 Imperial Commander was beaten a nose by Kauto Star in the Haydock race while the following year he rewarded odds-on backers with victory over Tidal Bay.
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Tuesday 21 May 2013
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