Hampshire trainer denied Fontwell hat-trick by champion

Emma Lavelle

Emma Lavelle

Khalidi romps to victory under Frankie Dettori.   Picture by:  Malcolm Wells

Khalidi a game winner of Cocked Hat Stakes

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Emma Lavelle narrowly missed out on a Fontwell hat-trick yesterday.

The Hampshire handler saddled Kind Of Easy and Red Rock to success at the West Sussex course.

But she was denied a treble on the card by seven-time National Hunt champion trainer Paul Nicholls.

Lavelle could only watch as Fox Appeal was overhauled in the last 50 yards by Nicholls’ Black Thunder in the 32Red Beginners’ Chase.

Her charge, who rose to a career-high mark of 149 over hurdles last season, had been sent off the 7/4-favourite.

But Black Thunder – a six-year-old son of Malinas – powered home late under jockey Daryl Jacob to ensure he made a winning start over the larger obstacles at 11/4.

Jacob admitted the pair were quite evenly matched.

But he was delighted to see his mount, who was fifth in the Lanzarote Hurdle at Kempton in January, claim victory.

‘He was a decent hurdler, like Fox Appeal, and has done it nicely,’ said Jacob.

‘He has always been a gutsy horse and you’ve got to be impressed with the way he’s taken to fences.’

Lavelle was not downbeat, though, after watching Kind Of Easy survive a scare to win the Christopher Annand 50th Birthday Handicap Chase at 5/2.

The trainer, who is based just north of Andover in Hatherden, said: ‘He’s got the ability but he doesn’t always want to make his life easy.

‘Eighty per cent of the race he was great but he saw the ditch and threw himself through it.’

Red Rock then completed her double in the 32RedBingo.com Handicap Chase at 9/4.

Easy Beesy won the £32 Bonus At 32Red.com Conditional Jockeys’ Novices’ Handicap Hurdle by a whopping 27 lengths at 7/1.

Shantou Magic justified 9/4-favouritism to win the 32Red.com Novices’ Hurdle.

Bally Legend took the 32Red Casino Handicap Hurdle at 20/1.

And the bumper was won by 4/1-debutante Rouquine Sauvage.

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