Ezmerelda proves the perfect tonic for a Hogmanay celebration

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December 29

Alan is hoping to end 2023 on a high, and, though his three Newbury runners tomorrow are the high-profile representatives for Barbury, Ezmerelda proved the perfect hors d’oeuvres for a week-end celebration when winning the maiden hurdle at Doncaster today.

Ezmerelda, a well-backed 5-2 chance, took control of the race at the second last flight and galloped clear for a runaway success, leaving stable jockey Tom Cannon suitably impressed.

Cannon said:”Ezmerelda ran well on her jumping debut at Newbury in what looked a hot race, and she clearly learned from that experience and did it really well today.”

Alan expected a big showing from Ezmerelda in this less-exalted company and said:”She showed just fair form on the Flat and was rather thrown in at the deep end at Newbury, where she jumped well and stayed on from the final flight. This looked the ideal race for her to build on that promising start.”

Ezmerelda is owned by one of Alan’s Barbury Lions syndicates, which include my good friend Colin Mackenzie, now enjoying retirement after being chief racing correspondent for The Daily Mail for many years, having been one of the founder members of The Racing Post staff when they set up in 1986.

Mackenzie has been a part-owner in a fistful of good horses, one of the best being The Betchworth Kid, who won seven races, including the prestigious Mallard Handicap on Town Moor at the 2008 St Leger meeting.

Only one month away from his 82nd birthday, Colin, who was instrumental in tracking down train-robber Ronnie Biggs in Brazil, said:”I was at a party last night, so did not wake up that early and, consequently, missed all the 9-2 this morning, which is a bit annoying.

“Howevet, while I had to be content with starting price, it’s great to be here to see Esmerelda win, and, of course, Doncaster has been a lucky course for me, with great memories of The Betchworth Kid.”