Rose in full bloom at Newbury

Venetia Williams completed a fine training performance as Pepite Rose ran out an effortless winner of the EBF/Thoroughbred Breeders´ Association Mares´ Novices´ Chase Finale at Newbury this afternoon.

Venetia Williams completed a fine training performance as Pepite Rose ran out an effortless winner of the EBF/Thoroughbred Breeders´ Association Mares´ Novices´ Chase Finale at Newbury this afternoon.

Unseen over fences until February 29, she had three quick runs to enable her to qualify for this final and the five-year-old looked a cut above her rivals.

Aidan Coleman was motionless on the 13-8 favourite and a huge leap at the last sealed the deal.

She was value for a good deal more than the nine-length winning margin over How's Business.

"We had to get three quick runs into her to get her handicapped for this," said Williams.

"I persuaded the owner to buy her and told her she would win over hurdles, but that was proving rather difficult so I sent her over fences and the improvement has been remarkable.

"I haven't seen a horse jump the last here in such spectacular fashion for some time.

"We'll go for a glass of champagne with the owners in the Royal Box and formulate a plan. She could go to Aintree but I wouldn't be keen on the Topham as she's only five. Today was the plan, though.

"I don't think we'll find out her true distance until she takes on better horses," she told Racing UK.

The money came late for Alan King's Tante Sissi and it proved correct in the E B F Ultima Business Solutions Mares' "National Hunt" Novices' Hurdle Finale.

Backed from 7-1 into 9-2 favouritism just before the off, the five-year-old travelled sweetly throughout for Robert Thornton.

The raced lost something of its interest when Kentford Grey Lady, second to Quevega at Cheltenham last week, was ruled out just an hour before the race due to the quick ground.

Barry Geraghty tracked the winner on Heather Royal, looking to give Nicky Henderson yet another big winner, and he moved through the race just as easily.

After jumping the last the pair got close together and Tante Sissi did appear to hang into her rival, causing them to drift across the track, but while an inquiry was called the placings remained unaltered.

Despite keeping the race, Thornton was given a four-day ban (April 7, 8, 9 and 15) for careless riding, although he will not miss any of Aintree.

King said: "They did drift right but I thought four days was a bit harsh as he had his stick in his right hand. Two days would have been about right.

"This was the plan today and I haven't really looked beyond this. I think she'll improve again with a summer on her back.

"If she runs again (this season) she'll tell me, she could go to that race at Cheltenham. She'll strengthen again and we'll target all the good mares' races next season."

Ikorodu Road (4-1) gave the small stable of Matt Sheppard another good win when outstaying his rivals in the Ultima Business Solutions Handicap Chase.

Having landed the Grimthorpe at Doncaster from Grand National fancy Junior last time out, the nine-year-old was a game winner.

Favourite Mon Parrain travelled supremely well through the race, as is his wont, but not for the first time seemed to empty as soon as Ruby Walsh asked him for his effort.

On Borrowed Wings took over at halfway and was still in front at the second-last but could not see off the determined effort of the winner while Ouzbeck stayed on from a mile back to finish second, beaten four and a half lengths.

Sheppard said: "He didn't start out the season impressively but he's really got his act together now. The further he goes, the better he goes.

"Charlie Poste gets on well with him as he really needs quite a bit of driving and he never gives up.

"He has been beaten a few short-heads in the past but he now looks very determined, he won quite comfortably today and broke the track record. Fast ground will never stop him.

"I've never been more confident this horse was going to win in my life. Just the way he's been since he won at Doncaster, I've been so happy with him.

"Hopefully he'll go to the Scottish Grand National next - he needs four miles."

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