WYE Valley trainer Venetia Williams is in the pink after two wins in six days for Pink Legend, nearly 400 miles apart.
First up for the nine-year-old mare was victory almost on the doorstep of the King’s Caple yard at Cheltenham.
Then it was the long journey to Scotland for the Perth Festival, where the Charlie Deutsch mount saw off the challenge of local 2023 Grand National-winning trainer Lucinda Russell and her Wye Valley-raised partner – eight-time champion jockey Peter Scudamore – and their horse Haute Estime, alongside Irish favourite Bride’s Hill.
The double meant more than £31,000 in prize money and helped the yard top the £1m mark in winnings for the 2022-23 season just before its close.
Pink Legend gave upwards of a stone winning the two-mile Mares Handicap Chase at Cheltenham, beating Royale Margaux by 2 1/4L.
Williams then said before Perth: “Obviously it’s a very quick turnaround from Cheltenham last week, but it’s one of the few mares-only races and Pink Legend was second in it last year.
“I think Gavin Cromwell’s Brides Hill will be tough to beat though.”
She needn’t have had any worries on the Irish front however, as the 11/10 BetVictor Fair Maid Of Perth Mares’ Chase favourite fell at the first jumping awkwardly at the back of the field.
And Pink Legend at 2-1 second favourite then made all the running in the three-mile race, pushing for home from three out and running clear to win by 7 1/2L from Maid O’Malley, with Haute Estime third another 3 1/4L back and the Wyeside horse’s stablemate Kapga De Lily, ridden by Lucy Turner, fourth.
A delighted Venetia posted: “Pink Legend does the double! Six days after winning at Cheltenham over 2m, she wins the Listed mares chase at Perth over 3m!”
And with the new season now underway, it didn’t take long for her yard to post its first winner, Stanley Stanley winning the Mares’ Handicap Chase by 5 1/2L over three miles at Ffos Las under Shane Quinlan.
And Venetia’s not the only local trainer who has tasted new jumps season success already, with Tom Symonds sending out Hystery Bere from his Hentland yard near Ross to win on the opening day at Warwick under jockey Ben Poste, in the horse’s chasing debut.
The 6-1 Lady Gibbings-owned six-year-old held off 5/4 favourite Herbiers by 3L to land the two-mile Novice Handicap Chase after four good showings over hurdles last season.
And the horse’s owner said: “That was a thrill to watch. He was good in his first year for us but we couldn’t quite make him out in his second year.
“Tom said we should go chasing, and naturally I was nervous, but it worked out perfectly. Ben rode him beautifully and he really likes his jumping – he’s a gorgeous horse.
“Tom is a super trainer, he really understands his horses. I’ve been involved in the sport for many years and it gets more and more difficult, but the feeling of a winner just gets even better.”
Meanwhile, change is afoot for the Scudamore dynasty at their Eccleswall Court yard at nearby Bromsash.
A post from Peter’s son Michael says they will now be centring their efforts on Lucinda Russell’s yards in Scotland, with the local yard used as “a satellite/pre-training” base in future.
“Each season we look to improve the yard in every way we can and therefore we are excited to say we will be combining forces with Lucinda Russell and everyone at Kinross,” he said. “Lucinda’s yards Arlery and Kilduff will become our main base with Eccleswall Court becoming a satellite/pre-training run by Tom Scudamore.
“We hope to expand both operations by competing both in the North and South and believe this is the best step forward for all.
“We are looking forward to our new chapter ahead as both a team and family. Thank you for all your support and we look positively ahead to the coming season.”