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Lingfield dead-heaters do their bit for Ukraine charity effort

The Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal will be the beneficiary of another £4,000 after Giewont and Le Forban dead-heated in the finale on a day of close finishes at Lingfield on Wednesday.

Giewont, trained by Darryl Holland and owned by Kiltown Bloodstock Ltd and Hackcanter Ltd, runs in support of those fleeing the conflict.

And after Le Forban’s trainer George Baker heard about the venture, he magnanimously offered to do the same.

Giewont (100-30), under Jason Watson, got first run in the Watch Racing Free Online At Coral Handicap Stakes, but was immediately pressed on all sides and it was Trevor Whelan’s mount (9-2) who had his head down at the line, securing a share of the spoils.

Holland said: “We’ll take that. We thought he’d run well and he did – and it is all for the Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal anyway. So we are delighted.”

Baker added: “He is named after a great friend of ours, Sebastien Le Forban, who sadly died during Covid. He was a very successful bloodstock agent and he was young, in his mid-thirties and a great judge of a horse.

“So, we looked for a good horse to have named after him and it is the beginning of a fairytale. Most horses never win a race, so to win one with a horse named after Sebastien is fantastic.

“He will go further, but these are obviously two nice horses. I think we’ll step him up and maybe go a mile and a quarter. I think he will be better on turf.”

When told about Giewont’s Mauritian owners supporting Ukrainian refugees, Baker added: “Oh, that’s brilliant. I will talk to my team and maybe we will do the same. It is a very nice thing to do.”

Hollie Doyle gained the first victory since her wedding to fellow jockey Tom Marquand when guiding the Ilka Gansera-Leveque-trained Miss Bella Brand (7-2) to success in the seven-furlong Play Coral Racing-Super-Series For Free Fillies’ Handicap.

Miss Bella Brand/Hollie Doyle/Lingfield
Hollie Doyle rode her first winner after marriage to Tom Marquand as Miss Bella Brand took the fillies’ handicap (Simon Milham/PA)

Back up in trip, the four-year-old broke handily and settled well in midfield before swooping in the last furlong to gain a third career victory for the Newmarket handler.

“I spoke to Ilka beforehand and she said the step back to seven furlongs around here would suit and she took to it,” said Doyle.

“She pinged the gates and landed in front. I didn’t want to be, I had to wait for the pace to come to me from the outside, which it did.

“It was quite a generous gallop and she got a bit stoked up down the hill, but the further she went the better she went, really.”

Doyle and Marquand had a brief honeymoon last week after getting married in Ivington, Herefordshire, before it was back to work.

“It was good,” said Doyle. “It was nice to see all my family and friends, which doesn’t happen very often. It was really nice and we don’t get a chance to be with everyone – only at funerals unfortunately, and weddings, so we have to make the most of it.

“We had a three days on honeymoon in Oman, just before Dubai World Cup night, which was nice. Luckily it was all organised for us!”

Alrehb followed up his handicap success at Wolverhampton last month in good style, with James Doyle’s mount overcoming a poor draw in the seven-furlong AWC Mile Handicap.

The 5-6 favourite stayed on nicely to score by a neck, reeling in Gobi Sunset.

“It didn’t work out particularly from that draw, but we just wanted to make sure he relaxed nicely,” said Doyle of the Kevin Philippart de Foy-trained winner.

“He was three wide which is never ideal, but he relaxed well, which is definitely a positive. Trip wise, on grass over seven furlongs will be perfect for the time being.

“He has done well from a tricky draw on a tricky track, as he is a big-striding fella.”

The Newmarket-based Frenchman added: “It is obviously not the ideal draw on this track from stall nine. He showed a very willing attitude to go and get them in front.

“He won here over a mile and we knew he would finish his race well. He could head to Haydock over seven furlongs at the back end of April.”

John Reddington/Lingfield
John Reddington steered Courtside to success in the All Weather Championships Mile Amateur Jockeys’ Handicap for trainer Sean Curran (Simon Milham/PA)

It was a red-letter day for John Reddington, who gained the better of a nose victory and survived a stewards’ inquiry as the Lee Power-owned Courtside (10-1) came close to favourite English Spirit in the final furling of the All Weather Championships Mile Amateur Jockeys’ Handicap Stakes.

It was the Irishman’s second success of his 10-year riding career and first in Britain. Formerly with John Butler, it was the seven-year-old gelding’s first run for Sean Curran.

Reddington said: “He gave me a great ride. He travelled lovely. They have done a great job with him.

“My first winner was at Navan on a horse of my own. I’ve been mostly been in Ireland, riding in bumpers.

“I didn’t have to do a lot on him. Sean gave me a few little instructions and I’ve done as I’m told for once.”

Smart Connection/Lingfield
The Alice Haynes-trained Smart Connection won the Betway Handicap Stakes under Kieren O’Neill (Simon Milham/PA)

Smart Connection (4-1) got the better of another close finish in the 10-furlong Betway Handicap for trainer Alice Haynes.

Having touched off Doonbeg Farmer and Forge Valley Lad by a short head and half a length, winning jockey Kieren O’Neill said: “We tried him over an extended mile at Wolverhampton last year. He was getting the trip and then he wasn’t, and now this year he is stronger and better, and getting it.”

Bakersboy was beaten a length at Wolverhampton on Tuesday evening, but just a few hours later Josephine Gordon made no mistake on the Phil McEntee-trained four-year-old in the Betway Novice Stakes.

Gordon was given an easy lead and with Scampi picking up late and odds-on Alzawar trailing, McEntee’s plan worked to perfection.

After the three-quarters of a length success, he said: “We saw it was a four-horse race and Archie Watson’s is probably a nicer horse (Alazwar), but we kind of decided the best horse wasn’t necessarily going to win this race.

“Archie’s has had one run, he looked a big, raw horse who ran in bumpers, while our horse has had so many runs – it is 15 today – and I haven’t had him long, as I bought him at the February sales.

“He was rated in the 90s last year and he had dropped to a handy mark. Potentially, the cheekiest ride was going to nick it and Josie has given him a peach. I’m chuffed to bits.”

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