Settling on a winner for the OLBG Mare of the Month Award is becoming harder and harder for the judging panel with each passing month, but after lengthy debate the fourth prize in the series has gone to David Johnson’s homebred Swing Bowler.
Having been unbeaten in her first five runs in bumpers and over hurdles, the six-year-old daughter of Galileo out of the great racemare Lady Cricket earned black type with her third-place finish to My Tent Or Yours in the Grade 3 Betfair Hurdle at Newbury on February 9.
TBA National Hunt Committee member Nick Luck, who sits on the OLBG Mare of the Month judging panel with Stefanie Reeve of OLBG and TBA Chief Executive Louise Kemble, said: “Swing Bowler gets my vote. What she has achieved is pretty impressive by mares’ standards. Not only did she beat a good bunch at Musselburgh but her performance at Newbury was very smart in a hot running of the most competitive handicap of the season.”
Terrific performances of late from Simon Munir’s duo Ma Filleule and Utopie Des Bordes, plus graduation chase winner Alasi and the consistent Little Glenshee were all deemed worthy of consideration by the panel.
“The final decision each month is becoming really difficult as we’ve been treated to some really good performances by mares this season,” said OLBG’s Head of Media Relations Stefanie Reeve. “Alasi is a particular favourite of mine. I was taken with her win at Kempton and I’m really looking forward to seeing her line up for the OLBG Mares’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival. This is the second year we’ve sponsored the race and we’re delighted to be involved in trying to encourage more owners, breeders and trainers to race National Hunt fillies and mares.”
Previous winners of the OLBG Mare of the Month Award this season are Une Artiste (Nicky Henderson), She Ranks Me (Donald McCain) and Mischievous Milly (Oliver Sherwood), all of whom hold entries for the Grade 2 OLBG Mares’ Hurdle on the opening day of the Cheltenham Festival.
Swing Bowler’s trainer David Pipe receives a memento from OLBG while staff at his yard share in a cash prize of £1,000.