Minnie’s Mystery wins the Jersey Derby

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It was not an easy race to win as Off Minor, ridden by Tony Proctor, challenged her all the way and at one stage Minnie’s Mystery could have lost it when she wandered slightly off course.However, following a tense ten minutes after the race, when owners and jockey were awaiting the stewards’ decision over possible interference, the result stood – and Minnie’s Mystery had gained perfect revenge over Off Minor, who had beaten her by the same distance in last year’s Derby.UK raider Giko was a length and a half further back in third.

In bright sunshine and on a course which was in superb condition eight runners went to post for this, the most prestigious race in the Jersey racing calendar.

Previous dual Derby winner in 2000 and 2001, Compassionate, and last year’s winner Off Minor were in the field along with the favourite Minnie’s Mystery, who was runner-up in 2002.

Early runningCrossways, Out On A Promise and Warrior’s Path broke well and made the early running.

After three furlongs Crossways under Howard Ephgrave led by a length but the field was still very tightly grouped.

Out on to the final circuit Crossways injected some more pace and the race began in earnest as Warrior’s Path, Compassionate, and Giko began to close up, with Minnie’s Mystery going well in mid-field.

As the field straightened up for home Out On A Promise ridden by Vince Slattery and Crossways shared the lead as Warrior’s Patch began to fade.

Giko and Compassionate were also still right there, and as they came inside the final two furlongs Off Minor also began to run on well along with Giko.

However, Minnie’s Mystery came storming through to challenge Off Minor and these two, first and second in the race last year, fought out a driving finish before Bradshaw drove his mount home.Immediately after the race a steward’s inquiry was announced looking into ‘possible interference caused to the second by the winner’.

Eventually the stewards announced that the placings remained unaltered, and owners Tony, Rita, Wayne, and Stacey Le Brocq were able to celebrate yet another Jersey Derby victory.The afternoon had begun with the Grosnez Conditional Novice Maiden Hurdle over two miles, and five runners went to post.

Joan Le Brocq’s No More Pressure was made a firm favourite before the race, but it was Susejebha who cut out the early running with Gordon Shenkin aboard.

Golden Lyric was close up in second with the others content to bide their time in behind.

As they went out into the country for the final time the pace picked up, and with No More Pressure jumping sketchily, favourite backers feared the worst.

On the far side Golden Lyric, under Ephgrave, outjumped the fading Susejebha at the third last, and with No More Pressure ‘treading water’, it was Regal Ali ridden by Ross Studholme who began to motor as they swung into the home straight.

Last Eclipse, who had trailed the field for much of the race also began to run on well, but Regal Ali owned by ‘Honest Nev’ Ahier had built an unassailable lead and jumped the last clear, and strode on to win by 20 lengths from Golden Lyric, with Last Eclipse under Adam Jones finishing third, five lengths back.The next race was the Grolsch Handicap Sprint over five furlongs 100 yards.

Seven runners lined up for this with Johayro and UK raider The Gay Fox vying for favouritism.Johayro, ridden by Vince Smith, set off at the head of affairs and quickly opened up a lead of two lengths over Arry Martin and Little Bluebell.

This was a strong pace and as the field turned for home Johayro still led but all seven were still in with chances as they spread across the track.

Inside the last furlong Studholme pushed Unveil into the lead as The Gay Fox and Johayro began their challenges.

Unveil ran on gamely to win by four lengths from The Gay Fox under Proctor, with Johayro finishing a further two lengths away in third.

The penultimate race of the afternoon was The Blackthorn Handicap for three-year-olds and upwards, over one mile 100 yards.

Leonora Truce trained by Le Brocq was made favourite.

Catcando, under Vince Smith, set the early pace with Leonora Truce and Hush Money close up.

Over on the far side the pace increased and the other six runners quickly dropped Mellors as Catcando and Leonora Truce set sail for home.

At the distance Catcando began to falter as Time To Wyn under Ray McGhin began to finish strongly along with Hush Money ridden by Bradshaw, and Leonora Truce with Slattery aboard challenging on the stands rails.

At the post Time To Wyn just got up in a driving finish to win by a length from Leonora Truce with Hush Money only a head away in third.The final race of the day was The Dandara Handicap and ten runners lined up for this ten furlong race.

Vrubel was a weak favourite drifting in the market from an early evens out to 2-1, but Palala River and Reliably Won were popular with punters.

Aqua Tiger took up the lead going out on the far side, virtually pulling Bradshaw’s arms out of their sockets, with Casa Rosa close up in second.

Palala River and Vrubel were chasing the front pair.

On the far side Palala River under Studholme, and Piccata began to pick up the pace and these two led as they swung into the home straight.

Aqua Tiger, Vrubel, and the enigmatic Snow Lark were also running on well.

As they came inside the final furlong Palala River stormed clear from the fast finishing Countrywide Pride under David Evans to win by three lengths, with Reliably Won coming out of the pack to finish the same distance away in third.

This completed an excellent jockey/trainer treble for Studholme and Alison Malzard who were also successful with Regal Ali and Unveil.

The next meeting of the season is the Jersey Race Club Ladies day meeting on Sunday 10 August, first race at 2.30 pm.

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