Sheppard reaches career milestone on Kestrel Valley

Stan Sheppard enjoyed a day to remember as he teamed up with his dad and trainer Matt to ride out his claim aboard Kestrel Valley at Lingfield.

The 22-year-old reached the milestone moment with one of the easiest victories of his career, in division two of the Sky Sports Racing On Virgin 535 Handicap Hurdle on Monday.

Making light work of the testing conditions, 12-1 shot Kestrel Valley coasted home 27 lengths clear of recent Ayr scorer Epsom Des Mottes to gain her first success.

Sheppard said: “That’s the 75th winner – and it is good to do it on one of dad’s -so I’m delighted.

“I was very slow-burner to start with, then in my first season as a conditional I had a very good year.

“Then I was claiming three, but things slowed up a bit.

“I’m getting plenty of rides at the moment between dad, Tom Lacey and Rob Walford. Dad has given me 40 winners – so I wouldn’t be here without him.”

Sheppard, who has also spent a spell riding as a conditional for Paul Nicholls, has high hopes for the future.

He added: “The aim is to just try and stay consistent, because that has been my biggest weakness. I might ride one well, then I probably wouldn’t ride the same for a week.

“I want to keep a level of consistency going – but it seems to be all right at the moment.”

Izzie Marshall also celebrated a landmark career winner on the card – her first under Rules, by four lengths on Lawney Hill’s Shimba Hills (11-1) in the Sky Sports Racing On Sky 415 Amateur Riders’ Handicap Hurdle.

The 20-year-old said: “I’ve had a bit of success point-to-pointing – I’ve had 34 winners – but that is my first under Rules.

“It is great to do it for Lawney Hill. I go out with her son Joe – and it is brilliant for the yard, because they are a very hard-working team with a small number of horses.”

Page Fuller secured a fifth triumph aboard the Zoe Davison-trained Finnegan’s Garden – a four-and-a-quarter-length success in the Brian Sewell Will Never Retire Handicap Chase.

Davison said of the 4-1 shot: “He loves it round here. He is really a two-and-a-half miler, but in testing conditions this was just perfect. There is a similar race back here at the next meeting we will come for.

“He and Page have built up a good relationship. Although he has won with other people, they’ve just really struck a chord.”

Black Gerry was no match for subsequent Grade One winner Fiddlerontheroof last time out at Sandown – but he had little problem brushing aside odds-on favourite Young Lieutenant by four and a half lengths in the Visit attheraces.com Novices’ Hurdle.

Trainer Gary Moore said of the 3-1 shot: “That was good. He ran a nice race in a good race (first time out).

“He obviously got tired – but that run has brought him on, and it was a bit of a weaker race today.

“I think he is very nice potentially, but he is a chaser in the making. He will have a season over hurdles – and whether he goes chasing next season, we will decide later on.”

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