Rose Dobbin was delighted and relieved in equal measure after Lady London provided her with a first winner of 2019 at Perth.
Last season was pretty much a write-off for the Alnwick-based trainer, with her string laid low by a virus – which was all the more frustrating, because it came on the back of career-best figures in the previous campaign.
Dobbin made the decision to draw stumps in the spring – and as a result, Lady London was her first runner since late April as she lined up as the outsider of three runners in Monday’s Rewarding Ownership With The ROA Novices’ Handicap Chase.
Despite having been off the track since pulled up at Huntingdon on Boxing Day of last year, the 9-1 shot showed few signs of rustiness – knuckling down admirably after the final fence to see off even-money favourite Chanceiton by a neck in the hands of Conor O’Farrell.
Dobbin said: “I’m very relieved. We knew it was the right sort of race for her. I was worried about the soft ground beforehand, but in the end it’s suited us because it meant the other two couldn’t accelerate away from her.
“She has to hit the front late, and Conor has delivered her perfectly. When she’s ridden like that she looks very genuine, but she can’t be in front too long.
“I’m delighted for her, because she’s a talented mare – and I’m delighted for her owner, Carol (Jones).”
Dobbin hopes the victory is the sign of better things to come, adding: “This will be a huge boost for everyone in the yard.
“We had a few runners at the last Perth meeting of the season in April. We’d roughed most of them off by then, but we had a few runners – and after they ran badly, we decided we’d close the yard down for a while.
“We haven’t had a winner sine the beginning of December last year, so it’s been a while.
“We were all a bit speechless straight after the race – we can’t quite believe it.”