Last-gasp Bridge lands Balmoral | QIPCO British Champions day report

Sharja Bridge charges through to win the Balmoral
Sharja Bridge charges through to win the Balmoral

Roger Varian landed the concluding event on QIPCO British Champions Day following the last-gasp success of 8/1 shot Sharja Bridge in the £250,000 Balmoral Handicap over the straight mile.

The four-year-old son of Oasis Dream ran on strongly in the closing stages to collar 33/1 shot Escobar, trained by David O'Meara, to score by three-quarters of a length under a power-packed ride from James Doyle.

Newmarket handler Varian said: "I spent seven furlongs of that race swearing! I did not think we were going to get a run.

"Sharja Bridge is a talented horse and I have always thought a lot of him. He has run some good races in defeat this year.

"It was a shame that Andrea couldn't ride and I'm sure he'll be sat at home upset that he couldn't ride. However, he's had a great season.

"Well done to James Doyle who gave the horse a great ride."

Doyle was a late substitute but conjured up a clever ride, weaving his way through a pack of horses to win by three-quarters of a length from Escobar.

Doyle said: "He did well, because the plan was to get there late, but not as late as that, and we had to manoeuvre out way through some very small gaps. I had to get the Sat Nav out at halfway!

"But he showed plenty of speed on that ground and we got the gaps - I had a very brave horse. He won, so it looks like a good ride, but if I hadn't have won, it wouldn't have been such a good one..."

Escobar, trained in Yorkshire by David O'Meara, came home a three-quarter of a length second.

Adam Kirby, who rode the 33/1 chance, said: "It was a very tricky race. I thought I had got there late enough, but it was still too soon.

"Possibly we have bumped into one on the day - it opens up and you have got to go when you have got to go.

"I have ridden him a few times and I keep saying that he has a lot of class. He just needs things to go right. I thought it was going right for me today - I am just gutted!"

O'Meara added: "He is a hugely talented horse but he needs things to just drop right for him. He just got to front too early through nobody's fault."

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