Fri, 06 Dec 2019
EMMA Lavelle enjoyed the most memorable weekend of her 20-year training career when De Rasher Counter captured the £250,000 Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury on Saturday, 24 hours after her stable star Paisley Park made a winning return to action at the track.
De Rasher Counter, owned by a syndicate of five who include Paisley Park’s owner Andrew Gemmell, delivered the trainer’s biggest victory over fences with a six-lengths triumph under emerging Welsh riding talent Ben Jones.
Twenty-year-old Jones only turned conditional three months ago, but belied his lack of big race experience by taking the 12-1 chance into the lead four out and driving his mount to a breakthrough triumph from The Conditional and a fast-finishing Elegant Escape, last year’s runner-up.
On Friday, Lavelle had saddled champion staying hurdler Paisley Park to land the Ladbrokes Long Distance Hurdle on the opening day of the two-day Ladbrokes Winter Carnival.
The Marlborough trainer said: “I am so proud that we have been able to get these horses right for the big day.
“It is close to home and it is so special for everybody.
“We could have taken this horse to Cheltenham last year, but mentally we didn’t think he was ready for it and the owners were prepared to wait, with this as the target, so it is just magical when it comes off.
“I really can’t believe it. How has this happened?”
Since 2016 Lavelle has trained at stables in Ogbourne Maizey, Wiltshire whose previous occupants included Bob Turnell, trainer of 1967 and 1975 winners Rondetto and April Seventh, when the Ladbrokes Trophy was known as the Hennessy Gold Cup.
“It’s a grown-up training place,” said Lavelle. “It’s enabled us to nurture the horses a bit better.
“It does have an incredibly rich history as a training establishment.
“We could not have had De Rasher Counter in better shape going into this, but we could not say whether he was good enough until he got out there.
“He quite patently showed that he was.”
Jones, the son of Ffos Las clerk of the course and former amateur Dai Jones who is from Carmarthen in West Wales, has made an impression since he came out of the amateur ranks, also winning a valuable handicap hurdle at Ascot and riding a Hereford treble this season.
He said: “Jumping two out I thought it would take a good horse to beat us.
“This is massive. I’m very grateful for the trust everyone has shown in me.”