WELSH trainer Michael Bowen emulated his father to win the prestigious Lady Dudley Cup at Chaddesley Corbett.
Bowen rode Lotus Pond to an emphatic victory in Saturday’s race which his father Peter won in 1992/93 with Brunico.
Just four horses attempted to put their names into the record book for the illustrious contest – the smallest field since Distinctive won the race in 2000.
However, it was still a difficult task identifying potential winners with three of the contestants of equal ability.
Iberico started favourite at 6-4 while Lotus Pond and Grandturgeon were both 2-1 shots.
Squirrel Esquire (James Martin) and Grandturgeon (Alex Edwards) set the pace, while Peter Bryan was content to let others do the donkey work.
Sam Jukes’s mount Iberico was never jumping fluently and was pushed and cajoled along for most of the contest.
The pace quickened down the back straight where Iberico did well to stay in touch with the leaders.
Squirrel Esquire’s race was run climbing the hill which resulted in Grandturgeon leading into the home straight but was immediately passed by Lotus Pond who stormed clear and had a 20-length advantage as they passed the post.
Iberico claimed second place from Grandturgeon who weakened dramatically over the final two fences, and connections have now decided he deserves his retirement.
The winner has recovered from past tendon problems and seems a different horse this year.
After the big race setback Edwards recorded a double to maintain his lead in the Jockeys Championship scoring on Stoleaway (Division Two of the Conditions) and The Maestro (two-and-a-half-mile Maiden).
Santa’s Secret led for much of Division Two of the Conditions before being passed by Claire Hardwick and Royal Guardsman on the final turn.
Gerard Nock’s 11-year-old looked set for a comfortable victory but began hanging to his left approaching the penultimate and gave up his winning chance by doing the same thing between the final two fences.
He was still in contention coming to the last, but Edwards made what proved to be a race winning move threading Stoleaway between his two rivals and that reaped dividends as the partnership drew clear on the flat to add yet another winner to the Bridgnorth partnerships tally.
Punters had little to go on in the 4-5-6-year-old Maiden which attracted three runners; two of them un-raced.
The Edwards/Rowley representative The Maestro seemed the obvious choice but was pushed all the way by Nuclear after these two had drawn clear of Katanko in the final half mile.
The Maestro’s jumping got better as the race progressed and that proved crucial to the result.
The four-year-old was beginning to get the better of his rival in the home straight but Nuclear fought back as they came to the last.
The winner met it on a perfect stride whereas Nuclear hit the top and paid the penalty.
This left the favourite to come home in his own time and provide a second leg of a double for the Bridgnorth based jockey/trainer combination.
The trainer hopes of recording a treble were thwarted in the Novice Riders race earlier in the afternoon.
Aupcharlie and Michaela Tallett were strongly fancied for this event but Milo Herbert and Ballycahane poached a five-length advantage on the final bend and that proved decisive.
The combination still held a useful lead at the last where Tallett and Aupcharlie were getting into full stride.
They sprinted up the run in but in a dramatic finish Ballycahane hung on grimly to win by a neck and win his third race of the season for his jockey and Eastnor trainer Nickie Sheppard.
Arthurs Secret scored an impressive win in the Skinners sponsored Ladies Open.
Winning owner Christine Banks is aiming for the final of this contest at Stratford in June and all his subsequent races are being geared towards that target.
Arthurs Secret raced keenly throughout and had Duke Arcadio for company for most of this contest, but when that horse dropped back Johnnie Og moved up to harry the leader.
His effort was short lived and Abbi Banks’s mount kept up their relentless gallop and extended their advantage all the way to the judge.
The opposition may not have been the highest quality but Arthurs Secret can only beat those brave enough to challenge him and on this occasion did so with ease.
Earlier in the afternoon, Mrs Banks had seen her eldest daughter Phine get up near the finish to win the Members on Well Mett.
The favourite Mistercobar and Alice Stevens attempted to make every post a winning one and were on course to do so until making a mistake at the third from home.
They were soon back on an even keel but were challenged all the way down the home straight by Well Mett.
Another mistake at the second last did not help the favourites cause.
The two protagonists were in the air together at the last and they battled it out all the way up the run in before Well Mett got the verdict by a length.
Mrs Banks and her daughter Abbi had hopes of taking the three-mile Maiden with Round Robin only for that horse to weaken over the final three fences.
Rules of War led on the downhill run towards two out and held a three-length advantage at that obstacle.
The opposition made strenuous efforts to snatch victory as they raced towards the judge but the leader held on gamely to open his account in the colours of Robert Martin and Sheriffhales trainer Caroline Robinson.
There was a surprise outcome in Division One of the Conditions which went the way of the unconsidered Best Director who landed the spoils in the hands of Fred Timmis.
This was another race in which the winner went into the lead at the entrance to the home straight and defied the efforts of his challengers to pass them.