Brilliant Bayan lands the Ladbroke
The Ladbroke Hurdle at Ascot has always been an extremely competitive and valuable handicap and that proved to be the case again today. In the end it took a brave effort from the Irish raider Bayan to take the Grade 3 contest, supplying trainer Gordon Elliott with a second win in three years in the process.
It was also an emotional victory for jockey Davy Condon, who landed the big prize on just his third ride since returning from a potentially career ending injury. Condon was made to test his fitness fully in the end, giving last season’s Coral Cup third a barnstorming ride to win by a neck.
The extremely keen Balgarry, returning from a near three year absence, had set a blistering pace from the front and had the field well strung out down the back straight. The heavily punted pair of Activial and Shelford were still in contention at this stage and Bayan, receiving a canny ride from Condon down the inside, was also beginning to stay on under pressure.
Having been switched out on the turn for home, Bayan eventually found himself in front before the last but had to dig deep to get the better of the fast finishing Pine Creek. The 4yo Activial ran a cracker to get third, with Shelford fading in to fourth.
“I’m a bit emotional at the moment, it’s great to be back – I didn’t think I’d make it back. It was my toughest injuury so far and I was in a lot of pain”, Condon said afterwards.
“I was lucky I had a good group of people around me, Gordon Elliott has been so loyal to me leaving me on the horse. Even though I’m not 100 per cent fit I rushed to get back and I’m delighted he won.
“He was just idling in front and was there a bit soon, but he stays well and I knew I had to press on early because he has real stamina.
“He was tough and responded to every call.”
Elliott, watching the race from Fairyhouse, said: “This has been the plan and he had not run over hurdles since Galway. It was great, I’m delighted – he was very tough.”
Kevin Walsh / Photo: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire
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