CYRUS Darius, unbeaten in three starts over hurdles, including in a Grade 2 at Aintree, survived a mistake or two and a stewards enquiry as he made a successful debut over fences at Perth in a race won in the past by the likes of Bindaree and Fundamentalist, writes Gordon Brown.
He dropped a leg in the water and made a hash of the final ditch three out before Brian Hughes brought him home a neck ahead of Shadow Catcher who was switched on the run-in by Richard Johnson as the winner carried him left approaching the elbow.
Winning trainer Malcolm Jefferson has no immediate plans for Cyrus Darius and said: “He will be better in a better race when they go a stride quicker. ”
Lucinda Russell and Grant Cockburn teamed up to land the opening novices’ hurdle with 20-1 chance Where’s Tiger. The winner is co-owned by Lady Jane Kaplan and her husband, Michael, and the gelding carried the famous Rosebery primrose-and-rose hoop silks.
Lady Jane said: “My great grandfather won five Derbies with these colours. This horse is a direct descendant of our foundation stallion King Tom and there is a statue of him at our entrance to Dalmeny House near Edinburgh.
“This is our third winner with Lucinda, but about 20 years ago my grandmother was successful with a mare called Pharmacy trained by Bill Watts which she leased from Lord Derby.
“Long before that the colours belonged to my grandfather who had horses in training with Bruce Hobbs.”
Russell and Cockburn completed a quick 83-1 double with Tradewinds, who, like Where’s Tiger, made all in the staying novices’ hurdle.
Meanwhile, Nick Alexander and daughter Lucy, along with owners Harry Turcan and Sir Simon Dunning, were on the mark for the second day running, this time with Jet Master in the race celebrating out-going general manager Sam Morshead’s 27-year tenure that has transformed the course.
The Kinneston trainer said: “I can’t think of a race I would want to have won more, although it doesn’t always turn out like this when you target something!”
After an encore of three cheers, Morshead rushed round the winners’ enclosure spraying racegoers with champagne.
He said: “Without the crowd and the owners we don’t have very much. Racegoers are my favourite people and it’s fantastic to see all the smiling faces.”