With a bold move three fences out, Stewart Strawbridge’s Kings Apollo charged to the lead in Sunday’s $40,000 Winterthur Bowl, flew over the final fences, and easily held off Upland Partners’ Mystic Strike. Blair Wyatt’s Witor, who had tracked the early pace of Class Indian, finished third, and last year’s second-place finisher, Armata Stables’ Cornhusker, finished fourth.
Making his first start since a fall in last year’s Radnor Hunt Cup, British-bred Kings Apollo won by 5 3/4 lengths and ran the 3 1/4 miles of the Winterthur Bowl in 6:23.60 on firm turf. The nine-year-old trained by Sanna Neilson had scored his first victory over timber fences at last year’s Winterthur Races.
Gerard Galligan kept Kings Apollo toward the back of the six-horse field as Jeremy Batoff’s Class Indian broke sharply under Evan Dwan and set the pace in front of Witor and Mystic Strike. Ridden by Jack Doyle, Witor tested Class Indian past the midway point but then dropped back into a stalking position. As Class Indian began to tire on the final right-handed section of the course, Galligan kicked Kings Apollo into gear.
A veteran of British steeplechase races, Kings Apollo responded generously and fanned out to the outside portion of the third fence from home and extended over the final fences as Witor and Mystic Strike gave chase. Mystic Strike, the 2017 Radnor Hunt Cup winner now trained and ridden by Mark Beecher, was unable to cut into the margin of the winner to the finish line, and Witor had no late response.