Harry Fry is adamant there is more to come from Lady Of Lamanver after her victory in the Southern Cranes & Access Mares’ Handicap Hurdle at Fontwell.
The seven-year-old daughter of Lucarno, who was sent off the 5/4 favourite, defied a 587-day absence to score impressively by seven lengths.
Lady Of Lamanver was ridden prominently in the hands of Noel Fehily, who was completing a double on the day after success on Anthony Honeyball’s Tacenda.
The pair scooted clear of the Seamus Mullins-trained Kentford Heiress up the hill to clinch the 2m 5f feature contest at the West Sussex venue.
The mare was first past the post in her previous start at Newbury in April 2016 before the result was overturned after a stewards’ inquiry. Fry revealed that made Lady Of Lamanver’s success all the sweeter.
He said: ‘The owners have been very patient with her. She actually won her final start at Newbury but lost it in the stewards’ room.
‘Then within a week she had an injury caused from the race, which rubbed salt in the wound. So it is nice to come back almost 600 days later and get back into the winners’ enclosure.
‘She can only improve after such a long layoff, so it is onwards and upwards. Noel wasn’t afraid to kick on. She’s got a lot of experience and we were keen to make the most of it.’
As a result of her Fontwell victory, Lady Of Lamanver qualified for the Challenger Mares’ Hurdle Series final at Haydock on Saturday, March 31.
It's a race Fry knows well as he won the £50,000 contest with Secret Door last season. And the Dorset handler revealed Lady Of Lamanver could follow the same path.
Fry added: ‘It is an option for us, definitely. It's a nice option for us to have come March, so we’ll see where we’re at in the spring.
‘She’s a novice all season so we can mix and match and go from there. We hoped she would run well. She was off a competitive mark but after a long layoff, you never know.
‘It's great to have her back and even better to have her in the winners’ enclosure.’