Mixture of feelings after Sophie delivers

Cambridge trainer Ross McCarroll was as relieved as he was pleased after Sophie Claire won at Thames yesterday.

Sophie Claire had won two of her previous 11 starts but had disappointed when seventh of 11 behind Bouvier over 1950 metres at Rotorua on December 27.

McCarroll had expected the Thorn Park mare to be a good chance back to the scene of her maiden win last March and after a solid fourth behind Julinsky Prince at Wanganui on November 30.

“She was a little bit disappointing at Rotorua,” said McCarroll, who races the five-year-old with Stephen Kneebone, of Cambridge.

“Mind you it was four weeks between runs and she blew afterwards. She might have needed it.”

Sophie Claire was under pressure on the home turn at Rotorua and weakened to finish almost six lengths from the winner, a complete contrast to the performance she produced yesterday.

Russianov set a solid pace and after being clear in front he was outfinished by Sophie Claire, who went on to win by two and a quarter lengths.

Sophie Claire was ridden by Rory Hutchings, who had been credited with his first Thames win two races earlier when Lion Rock Hill was promoted to first in the Grahamstown Bar & Diner 1700.