Category Archives: Reports

O’BRIEN AND EDWARDS MAKE A STRONG START AT CHADDESLEY CORBETT

With Sunday’s meetings lost due to the threat from Storm Ciara, it was definitely a case of the “lull before the storm”, because 24 hours earlier conditions had been much more amenable when the Albrighton & Woodland staged their fixture at Chaddesley Corbett.

West Midland based Alex Edwards, Tommie O’Brien, James King and Zac Baker are some of the best jockeys on the Point-to-Point circuit. Edwards has won the Areas Riders Title for the last three seasons but with such strength in depth it will be interesting to see who prevails at the end of the season.

Edwards, O’Brien and King all got their names on the scoresheet in the 2-1/2 mile Maiden which heralded the start of the West Midland season, with O’Brien coming out on top with an all the way success on Glory and Honour.

Despite his inexperience the 4-year-old son of Elusive Pimpernel led from the start and was jumping exuberantly before being joined by Maitree Express down the back straight. That horse began to weaken as they met the rising ground, but Glory and Honour continued his relentless gallop and turned back towards home with the race in his pocket.

The favourite Kinondo Kwetu finished a respectable second but could not live with the winner in the home straight and was still 20-lengths adrift as they passed the judge

Glory and Honour and Tommie O’Brien storm to an impressive victory in the 2-1/2 mile Maiden

The winner was purchased at Tattersalls last May by Tweenhills Stud Hand Anya Ingman “I liked the look of him and he was nice and quiet. I’ve been thinking about a Pointer for a few years so the aim is to sell him on to provide funds for another purchase. I rent a box about 10 minutes from Tom Lacey’s and have been able to use his gallops”. After this performance connections should be able to make a good profit.

Winning owner/trainer Anya Ingman (right) 

O’Brien did not have time to celebrate or answer questions as he sprinted to his car immediately after weighing in to make the short journey to team up with Sir Egbert in a Warwick Hurdle.

Alex Edwards and Salvatore had to work hard for their victory in the Mens Open. Pearls Legend was an early casualty but Red Devil Star had taken the lead before his departure and continued to dictate the pace before being passed by Ballyboker Breeze on the final circuit.

Salvatore was sent in pursuit at the 14th and crept into contention and these two horses had pulled well clear of their rivals on the final turn.

Ballyboker Breeze (right) and Salvatore between the final two fences

They were inseparable at the second last but Salvatore asserted on the run to the final obstacle and maintained his advantage on the flat.

Salvatore and Alex Edwards are clear at the last

Hidden Charmer caused an upset in the Ladies Open. Itstimeforapint led for the first circuit before Hannah Lewis sent the favourite Tb Broke Her into the lead with a mile to run.

They led up the final hill but could not shake off the attentions of Hidden Charmer who came through to dispute the lead at the penultimate. Tb Broke Her’s error at this obstacle tipped the scales in favour of Josephine Banks mount but the favourite showed tenacity to battle back approaching the last but could not claw back the deficit on the run in.

Hidden Charmer holds a narrow lead at the last. A delighted Josephine Banks in the winners enclosure

The winner was purchased at Ascot Sales last May by the legendary Pat Tollit and her colours have a long and successful association with the course at Chaddesley Corbett.

Clive Bennett’s Miss Seagreen started a warm favourite for the Intermediate but had to settle for second place behind the Don Constable owned and Joe O’Shea trained Mr Snuffles.

Huw Edwards sent his mount into the lead at the 13th as the leader Easythingsarebest began to beat a retreat, but Sam Jukes and Miss Seagreen covered this move and they had a healthy advantage over the opposition in the final half mile.

Having got first run Mr Snuffles always was a stride or so clear but Miss Seagreen was fighting back before a last fence blunder put paid to her chances.

Mr Snuffles and Huw Edwards clears the last ahead of Miss Seagreen

Both the winning owner and trainer enjoy a battle with the bookmakers and this time they came out on top with Constable commenting. “Huw carried out the trainer’s instructions to the letter. We fancied him today and had a good bet”.

Don Constable (2nd left) can’t resist a smile after Mr Snuffles had landed the Intermediate

The Bookmakers recovered their losses in the Novice Riders, as some punters were prepared to put significant sums on the odds-on favourite Don Bersy. Normally there would be nothing risky with this policy but on this occasion, they got their fingers burnt.

Ryan Potters geldings form was far superior to his rivals but that counted for nothing as Don Bersy who had shown some quirks at the start in the past, dug in his toes as the flag dropped.

Minerfortyniner had also been reluctant to line up but did set off on level terms and disputed the lead with Brave Encounter until that horse weakened in the final mile.

Ben Sutton and Minerfortyniner led Sea Beat on the home turn but Doc Carver’s progress caught the eye and these two had a tremendous battle over the final two fences with Doc Carver and Rebecca Pugh hanging on grimly for a half-length success.

Doc Carver  and Rebecca Pugh head Minerfortyniner at the last. The winning jockey receiving The Three Counties Equine Hospitals Novice Riders Award from Sam Lutton Hughes

The Herbert family enjoyed great success with Arthur Moore cast off Ballycahane before he was sent to the Sales to be replaced by Organised Solution who came from the same source.

The 6-year-old has run two good races this season, finishing fourth at Larkhill and second at Bangor and looked to have a solid chance in the 3-mile Maiden.

Along with the well fancied Lilith these two set the pace from the start and it was one which many of the other runners could not match.

It was clear Milo Herbert and Organised Solution were gaining the upper hand as they bypassed the third from home and that assumption proved correct as the leader turned for home with a healthy advantage.

Organised Solution and Milo Herbert after their victory in the 3-mile Maiden

Lilith tried her best but was always fighting a losing battle although she was still in second spot when she was claimed by the final obstacle. That left Rose Iland to inherit second place and herald a welcome return to the winner’s enclosure for owner Jim Collett.

Don Bersy’s stablemate Family Man was strong fancied for the Restricted, but after being in contention on the home turn he faded out of contention with the Welsh raider Getaway Flyer and Jodie Hughes proving too strong for Frank and Honest over the final two fences.

Graeme McPherson bypassed Chaddesley and took the Cotswold qualified Lord Scoundrel over to contest a Cottenham Ladies Open and that proved an inspired choice with the ex-Gigginstown runner scoring under Lilly Pinchin.

The 11-year-old had been a prolific winner for his previous yard but had not run since being purchased by his current connections at Goffs in September 2018. Despite that long absence they justified market support at the expense of recent Higham winner Knockoutloaded, with Alexandra Knights mount unable to respond when passed by the favourite at the third from home.

Last weekend turned out to be a good one for the Tom Lacey stable winning under Rules with Sebastapol at Musselburgh on Saturday and The Dorking Cock at Carlisle two days later, while his wife Sophie scored two wins during Sundays South Dorset Point-to-Point at Milbourne St Andrew under Tommie O’Brien.

Maiden runner from this stable are bound to start at short odds but past experience has proved they will invariably end up on the winning side.

The second half of the short Maiden went to the Tom Lacey owned Velasco, who was receiving a lot of weight from most of the field. Although helpful that concession just confirmed what was obvious to everybody who saw this performance and that was, they were head and shoulders above his rivals in terms of ability.

This success was also a major milestone in the career of O’Brien who was recording his 100th  career success with 63 of those coming in Point-to-Points in England and Ireland plus 37 victories under Rules.

O’Brien’s double was completed on Lagonda in Division I of the 3-mile Maiden. Trea Newell’s home bred mare had finished third in a Barbury Maiden in December, and like her stablemate just needed to be pushed out to win in impressive fashion.

Supporters of the favourite Lip Service were left cursing their luck after the Fergal O’Brien owned and Sally Randall trained runner pitched on landing over the last in the Novice Riders and ejected Katie Sinclair from the saddle.

This combination had dominated the race from the start and were in an unassailable lead at the time, but the drama was not over because markers were placed in the last fence requiring the two remaining runners to take avoiding action.

Dan’s Wee Man and Georgina Davies were out on their feet at the finish and were passed on the run in by the Scott Malson ridden and Jason Warner owned Mister Dick. This resulted in the Brookthorpe based trainer providing the 29-year-old jockey with his first winner after three years on the Point-to-Point circuit.

Scott Malson in Jason Warners colours after his victory on Mister Dix at Milbourne

Things have not gone Summer Sounds way during the early weeks of the season and it seemed this was going to continue in the Novice Riders race at Horseheath on Saturday afternoon.

Summer Sounds was some way adrift as they turned into the home straight but Luke Scott was confident his mount would stay the trip so the pairing renewed their effort on the climb to the post.

Summer Sounds just has his head in front on his way to victory at Horseheath

They were on level terms with Back Bar at the last, but Luke Scott somehow managed to maintain the partnership despite a slipping saddle until bailing out just after they passed the judge.

With the rider less horse galloping off into the distance it took some time for the rider to be reunited with all his tack but under the watchful eye of the stewards he was able to weigh in successfully.

Summer Sounds is eventually caught

RESULTS

2-1/2 MILE MAIDEN

1ST       GLORY AND HONOUR                     T O’BRIEN                  7-2

2ND      KINONDO KWETU

3RD      TROOPER JONES

RESTRICTED

1ST       GETAWAY FLYER                             MISS J HUGHES      7-1

2ND      FRANK AND HONEST

3RD      TABOO

MENS OPEN

1ST       SALVATORE                                      A EDWARDS              8-11 FAV

2ND      BALLYBOKER BREEZE

(ONLY 2 FINISHED)

LADIES OPEN

1ST       HIDDEN CHARMER                          MISS J BANKS         5-1

2ND      Tb BROKE HER                                  MISS H LEWIS       

3RD      ITSTIMEFORAPINT

INTERMEDIATE

1ST       MR SNUFFLES                                  H EDWARDS             5-1

2ND      MISS SEAGREEN

3RD      RISKY GOLD

NOVICE RIDERS

1ST       DOC CARVER                                     MISS R PUGH            5-2

2ND      MINERFORTYNINER

3RD      SEA BEAT

3-MILE MAIDEN

1ST       ORGANISED SOLUTION                M HERBERT               3-1

2ND      ROSE ILAND

3RD      PASCHALS DREAM

WEST MIDLAND SEASON FINALLY GETS UNDERWAY AT CHADDESLEY CORBETT

The loss of the Harkaway Club meeting just after Christmas resulted in a delayed start to the West Midland season which finally gets underway at Chaddesley Corbett on Saturday afternoon. Local owners, trainers and jockeys will be keen to chalk up points, as some bid to retain individual Championships, while others are attempting to win for the first time.

The meeting starts with a 2-1/2 mile Maiden at noon and that could see a clash between two stables who traditionally do well in these types of events. Fran Nimmo and Charlie Poste’s Ettington stable use these races as a shop window for their horses, as does Bridgnorth trainer Phil Rowley.

Falloway Dubreau made his debut for Nimmo last year and was prominent for a long way before finishing second at Buckfastleigh last March so the stable has some reliable form to go on, but that cannot be said of their two newcomers Kenyan Cowboy and Kinondo Kwetu. Their fitness and ability have to be taken on trust and time will tell whether their lack of experience is detrimental.

Jason Warner’s Ahead of the Game has shown some ability but will probably have to settle for a minor placing, while Glory and Honour is making its racecourse debut. Saquon represents Tom Weston’s Hindlip yard. He has been entered at several meetings already this season and it should be a pointer to his chances if he makes the line-up.

Phil Rowley always does well at this venue and should strike with My Bobby Dazzler. He looked very novicey when beaten on his debut twelve months ago but showed much better form when chasing home the Fran Nimmo trained Fedelta at Larkhill. She has a valuable insight into her horse’s chances in this race as she will be aware of where Fedelta comes in the stables pecking order.

Sheriffhales based Caroline Robinson may have to temporarily hand over her secretarial duties at this meeting if her Cheltenham hope The Dellercheckout runs in the Ladies Open. Nothing is certain but on known form this should be a cake walk for the 7-year-old who is undefeated to two races this season. He will have to concede weight to his rivals but it is difficult seeing anything else getting within striking distance.

In his absence the race has a much more open look about it with Hidden Charmer, His Excellency, Itstimeforapint and Ni Sin E Mo Ainm all showing similar levels of form. Tb Broke Her proved consistent last season has Hannah Lewis’s assistance so they make the short list.

The Dellercheckout got the better of Don Bersy at Barbury and that was the latter’s only defeat in three outings. His latest success came at Thorpe Lodge with Sam Brown guiding him to victory in the Novice Riders and the Herefordshire trained gelding is taken to add to his score at this meeting.

Don Bersy is a relentless galloper but tardiness at the start has caused problems in the past but he will be difficult to beat if getting off on an equal footing with his rivals. Ballykan has finished runner up twice this season but cannot seem to get his head in front. Doc Carver looks a danger if he makes the journey up from Wales, while Drumhart carries the colours of well-known Worcestershire owner Pat Tollit.

With question marks against several rivals Kaki de La Pree gets the chance to atone for his defeat at Bangor. He  proved at Ffos Las that he likes to come off a strong pace and that is bound to be the case if Don Bersy makes the running.

The 2-1/2 mile Restricted should go the way of Don Bersy’s stablemate Family Man. After a workmanlike success at Barbury he was narrowly beaten at Cocklebarrow after losing ground at the start.

On paper there is not much between all fourteen entries which brings Chief Sittingbull who was beaten a length at Bangor and Taboo who ploughed through the mud to win at Ffos Las onto the short list.

Sam Jukes Dymock stables has been in fine form in recent weeks and R Bren ran a big race until weakening in the closing stages at Larkhill and this course is more likely to play to her strengths. Christine Banks Round Robin was back to his normal consistence self at Bangor and might sneak into a place while Jack Wallace’s John B’s may also figure in the shakeup.

The Intermediate provides a chance for Miss Seagreen to return to the winners enclosure. She was well beaten by Chameron at Larkhill but as always, was putting in her best work at the finish. Jukes will need to keep her much closer to the leaders on this course because the downhill run into the home straight plays into the hands of the pace setters rather than the chasing pack who often struggle to make up the deficit.

Buffalo Sabre finished behind Miss Seagreen at Larkhill and also at Bitterley but cannot be left completely out of the equation. Easythingsarebest could be fancied on his best form, a remark that also applies to the Pip Hooley trained Emtidaad.

Magheral Express pulled up at Buckfastleigh but had run well up until that point, while Stay out of Court may be found out by the lack of a recent outing. Risky Gold held on in a tight finish at Cocklebarrow and will be difficult to catch if given too much rope.

Big Georgie (James Ridley – Kinnersley) and Chasforgold (Sam Jukes – Dymock) are two local favourites who always give a good account of themselves but they look up against it in the Men’s Open, with Ballyboker Breeze and Salvatore the two main protagonists.

The former is a model of consistency and has struck up a good partnership with Zac Baker, while Salvatore finished just behind Shantou Flyer and Green Winter at Larkhill and race fitness just tips the scales in his favour.

Dragonfruit, Falloway Dubreau, Lilith and Wykham will be vying for favouritism in the 3-mile Maiden, and all are potential winners but whether it will be at this meeting remains to be seen.

Mark Wall returned to the saddle after a couple of years absence to partner I’m Fine at Cocklebarrow. He is bound to have benefitted from that experience and there would be some very emotional scenes in the winners enclosure if he prevailed as he carries the colours of the “This One’s for you Kev Partnership”, run in the memory of Wall’s great friend Kevin Malpass who died suddenly during the summer.

It may not be on this occasion however, as Organised Solution stepped up on his performance at Larkhill to get within a length of the winner Goldenbrave at Bangor and a repeat of that performance would carry him to victory.

HEYTHROP CLASSIC GOES TO THE SMITH MAXWELLS

Even the most hardened racegoer must have been tempted to use the heated picnic tent as incessant rain tested the stamina of all participants during Sunday’s Heythrop Point-to-Point at Cocklebarrow.

Having fallen throughout the meeting the wet weather finally relented as the large crowd were making their way home. The course did well to cope in the circumstances but the tented village and car parks quickly turned into a muddy morass.

These testing conditions suited West Midland trained runners who took four races including the two principal contests.

The Smith Maxwell family have always been staunch supporters of the sport and the West Midlands Area in particular and most of their extended family and friends were on hand to greet Sausalito Sunrise after that horse’s success in The Lord Ashton of Hyde Trophy.

The Well Road and Warden Hill set the pace but both began to beat a retreat with three quarters of a mile to run and this was where both Sausalito Sunrise and the Mary Vesty trained Marten made their bid for glory.

John Smith Maxwell kicked again approaching four out and that move proved decisive as they quickly began to draw clear of their weakening rival. The partnership had the race in their pocket approaching two out and had little difficulty staying clear of their remaining rivals as they raced towards the judge.

Sausalito Sunrise and John Smith Maxwell are spring heeled at the last on their way to victory in the first of this seasons Point-to-Point Classic Races

The 12-year-old carries the colours of Worcestershire based Katherine Smith Maxwell but is trained in Somerset by her daughter Alex Dunn, who said afterwards “We came her 2 years ago and liked the course and the way the meeting was run so promised if we had a nice horse we would come back. It is lovely to win one of the Point-to-Point Classic Races, as I would not be where I am today without the sport. I have no major plans for him”.

An indication of the conditions as the mud splashed victors return to the winners enclosure

The trainer’s brother and owner’s son John who guided the horse to victory described conditions “as bottomless – but it is wet enough for horses to go through it. This is definitely my best win in Point-to-Points”.

Part of the winning connections

Mrs Smith Maxwell’s sister Christine Banks and her daughter Josephine had hopes of taking the Skinners sponsored Ladies Open with Diamond King with the 12-year-old odds extended as the Sally Randall trained Barney Dwan came in for significant support just before the off.

At the halfway point the leader Sonneofpresenting was challenged by the favourite and these two had a significant advantage over Diamond King who was 20-lengths adrift and showing no signs of reducing the deficit.

Hannah Lewis and Barney Dwan maintained their advantage down the back straight but could not shake off Sarah Rippons mount, however with half a mile to run the favourite began to ease clear and turned back towards home with the race at his mercy. A slight mistake at the last was the only blemish on an otherwise faultless round.

Not foot perfect as they clear the last, but Barney Dwan gallops on to victory in the Lyon Trophy

Questioned as to why the horse had taken the Pointing route winning trainer Sally Randall explained “He lacks a little bit of size to make a chaser but has massive ability, and we wanted to see if we could get his “mojo” back. He has been flying at home. He came from the Rooney’s but his new owners Matt and Sally Burford love their Pointing so we should have lots of fun with him. He has improved massively for the change in scenery since we moved and our new gallop is sensational”.

Hannah Lewis is smiling after Barney Dwan had outclassed his rivals

Randall’s partner Fergal O’Brien used to occupy the top yard at Grange Hill stables in Naunton prior to his move to Ravenswell, but its new occupant Willy Twiston Davies sent out his first winner in his own name after Panic and Run ploughed through the mud to land the closing 3-mile Maiden.

With the mist hindering visibility on the far side of the course Spivey Cove and Doncesar de Pretot could be seen making the best of their way home but the leader fell at the 16th which hampered the favourite who then parted company with his rider.

Cranbrook Causeway was left in the lead at this point but were passed by Finn Lambert and Panic and Run who came home unchallenged to provide Lambert with his very first winner.

Panic and Run and Finn Lambert gallop through the worsening conditions to land the 3-mile Maiden

Panic and Run has been plying his trade under Rules with Oliver Sherwood, Henry Daly and most recently with the current owner’s father Nigel. Not many runners got into the race and the two departures helped the winners cause so it will be interesting to see what he can achieve when upped in grade.

After spending last season with Sally Alner, 17-year-old Liam Harrison made the move to Fergal O’Brien’s who has provided the young rider with winning opportunities under Rules and continues to gain experience between the flags.

Risky Gold was brought down when making progress at Larkhill recently but gained compensation with a hard-fought victory in the Restricted. The 7-year-old was produced with impeccable timing by Harrison to take the lead off the home turn but was chased all the way up the home straight by the long-time leader Tinnehinch, Gold Time, Schiap Hill and the improving Family Man.

Risky Gold and Liam Harrison on their way to landing the Restricted, with Tinnehinch (blue sleeves) just beating Family Man (white colours) for second place

All five horses were in with a chance at the last but in a blanket finish Risky Gold gained the verdict by a neck from Tinnehinch with the fast finishing Family Man a head away in third.

This was another winner to come from a stable based in Naunton. Owner/trainer Linda Delahook explained how the horse came into her care “I am very lucky to have him, as he is on loan from Chris Coley, who thought he would benefit from the Pointing experience. He is the only horse I have, but I have some who are out of training and resting. I think we will continue Pointing for the time being and he will probably go to Chaddesley or Larkhill next”.

Earlier in the afternoon Harrison had taken the Members on Chris and Fran Marriott’s Pomme de Nuit, but it could so easily have been a winner for the Naunton stable of Max Comley. James King and Pauls Hill had taken the lead at the 10th and they opened up a clear lead down the back straight and were still well clear when the rider was blundered out of the saddle at the 3rd from home.

First leg of a double for Harrison as Pomme de Nuit is accompanied by a loose horse at the last

Pomme De Nuit got the better of Cadeau George in the closing stages and that provided an appropriate winner for Chris Marriott who is retiring after 35 years as the meetings secretary and also added another chapter to the Marriott’s successful “Apple” dynasty. The favourite Cheltenham de Vaige ran too freely on the way to the start and may have lost his chance in the preliminaries.

The first fence in the home straight became something of a bogey fence for King as it robbed him of another potential victory in the 2-1/2 mile Maiden later in the afternoon.

Two newcomers Complete Unknown (Gearoid Costelloe) and On the Platform (Fran Nimmo) were back to the exclusion of most of the other runners. The former departed earlier in the race while On the Platform was coming through to win his race when he parted company with his jockey at the same obstacle and that allowed long-time leader The Golden Rebel to claim the race at the expense of Smoking Pigeon.

Nick Phillips is Clerk of the Course at Cocklebarrow, whilst the booking of Paige Topley who had ridden Darius des Bois in the past should have been a pointer to Azure Fly’s chances in the Novice Riders.

Anybody making that judgement was rewarded as these two horses had the race to themselves in the home straight with Azure Fly’s relentless gallop landing the spoils for The Kilkenny Racing Partnership which has Phillips at its head.

Paige Topley and Azure Fly on their way to victory in the Novice Riders

While Family Man finished a fast finishing second in the Restricted, that horses connections did get some compensation when stablemate Don Bersy regained the winning thread under Sam Brown in Novice Riders at Thorpe Lodge. The partnership easily justified their odds-on favouritism with a comprehensive defeat of Distime.

Two horses qualified with the Croome & West Warwickshire made the long journey over the Higham in Suffolk.

The Nick Pearce trained Workbench provided Murray Dodd with his first winner after the jockey sent his mount into a race winning lead at the 12th.

Alexandra Knight and Knockoutloaded had finished second to Ravished at Cottenham a few weeks ago and showed that effort was no fluke by taking the Skinners sponsored Ladies Open. Top Smart was challenging when he departed at the second from home and the leader then had to show a battling spirit to hold off the fast finishing Brackloon High.

The Mares Maiden at Chipley Park went the way of the Beaufort qualified Minella Beag with Will Biddick steering her to victory for Ed Walker.

Cocklebarrow Results

Members
1st       Pomme de Nuit                    L Harrison                 14-1
2nd      Cadeau George
3rd       Sentimentaljourney

Restricted
1st       Risky Gold                           L Harrison                 5-1
2nd      Tinnehinch
3rd       Family Man

Novice Riders
1st       Azure Fly                            Miss P Topley             3-1
2nd      Darius de Bois
3rd       Cheltenham Mati

Ladies Open
1st       Barney Dwan                       Miss H Lewis              Evens
2nd      Sonneofpresenting
3rd       Diamond King

Mens Open
1st       Sausalito Sunrise                   J Smith Maxwell         3-1
2nd      The Dapper Fox
3rd       Fixe Le Kap

2-1/2 mile Maiden
1st       The Golden Rebel                 S Lee                       10-1
2nd      Smoking Pigeon
3rd       Worth Knowing

3- mile Maiden
1st       Panic and Run                      F Lambert                 5-2
2nd      Cranbrook Causeway
(only 2 finished)

 

SUCCESSFUL WEEKEND FOR WEST MIDLAND STABLES

After a relatively quiet period, West Midland stables hit top form over the weekend with James Ridley and Sam Jukes both recording doubles; the former sending out Chase Me to land the Royal Artillery Conditions at Larkhill on Saturday afternoon, before Big Georgie took the South Wold Men’s Open 24 hours later with the Kinnersley trainer in the saddle.

Monsieur Gibraltar and Caid du Berlais set the standards in our sport but you also need suitable opponents to provide competitive racing so Sam Jukes and Clive Bennett’s willingness to take on these two Rose Loxton trained hot pots is to be applauded.

Unfortunately, those endeavours went un-rewarded with Chasforgold finishing runner up to Monsieur Gibraltar at Larkhill, while Marcle Ridge chased home Caid du Berlais at Buckfastleigh.

However, the Dymock stable was able to put those disappointments behind them as Gotttagottagetaway opened his account in the Modbury Harriers Maiden while stablemate Shometheway followed up her recent Ffos Las victory in the Intermediate later in the afternoon.

Bookmakers do not make many mistakes, so it was surprising to see Chase Me drift out to 9-2 in the face of sustained support for Coco Live in the R.A. Conditions.

Chase Me and Merrion Square set a searching gallop throughout and dictated the pace until tackled by Coco Live and Minim Mouse at the 4th from home.

The favourite held a two-length advantage over Merrion Square at the second from home with Chase Me a similar margin back in third, but Zac Baker now proved his worth as he began a sustained challenge on Ridley’s runner.

Zac Baker and Chase Me (blue) storm through to join Coco Live at the last

The jockey secured the vital inside berth on the final bend before producing his mount at the last and outstaying his rival on the flat.

Chase Me is well clear as they race towards the judge

“That exceeded expectations” stated the trainer later “it’s the type of course he has not won on before so we did not know what to expect but Zac has given him a brilliant ride. We have been a bit slow getting off the mark and I thought he had blown up when he was passed by a couple of rivals with half a mile to run”.

Questioned on future objectives Ridley suggested Hunter Chases later in the season as he believes he would be better on good ground.

Winning connections receive their prizes

The winning jockey stated “He felt a million dollars and we went a good gallop and the others probably felt we had gone off to fast. He was getting into full stride 3 out and would have found more if needed. If you keep kicking, he keeps responding”.

This was the second leg of a double for Baker who had taken the Maiden earlier in the afternoon on the Fred Hutsby trainer Byzantium Lad who was left well clear by the last fence departure of Famous Clermont.

Start of a good weekend for James King as Byzantium King wins at Larkhill

Just four rivals were prepared to take on the hot favourite Monsieur Gibraltar in the Mixed Open, with Bonds Quest and Chasforgold alternating in the lead before both horses were put firmly in their place when Angus Cheleda brought the favourite through to challenge with half a mile to run. Clive Bennetts gelding eventually won the battle for the runners up spot.

Chasforgold claims second place in the Mixed Open at Larkhill

R Bren was fancied for the Restricted but after leading to the 12th she dropped back quickly approaching three out and was allowed to come home in her own time, while the Max Comley trained Madame Hannah put in a respectable performance behind the favourite Grand Knight in the Flat Race.

MEMBERS

1st      Fleur du Pommier (GB)           A Edwards                 4/5 fav

OPEN MAIDEN

1st      Byzantium Lad                      Z Baker                    6/4 fav

2nd     College Field

3rd      O’Faolains Lad

NOVICE RIDER CONDITIONS

1st      Storm Lantern                      Miss J. Harbison          9-4

2nd     Mahlers Star

3rd      Spanish Arch

CONDITION

1st      Chase Me                            Z Baker                    9/2

2nd     Coco Live

3rd      Merrion Square

MIXED OPEN

1st      Monsieur Gibraltar                 A. Cheleda                1-5 fav

2         Chasforgold

3         Apple’s Queen

RESTRICTED

1st      Miss Massey                        P. York                     4-1

2nd     Hard Ground

3rd      Arcal Fifty

FLAT RACE

1st      Grand Knight                       P. Bryan                    4-6 fav

2nd     Madame Hannah

3rd      Aunt Lily

Big Georgie has been a wonderful servant to the Ridley stable and the 13-year-old showed he had lost none of his courage and tenacity in the Mixed Open at Revesby Park. Ridley made much of the running until they were passed by their solitary rival Thyne for Gold but the jockey conjured up a renewed effort from his mount approaching the last that carried them to a narrow victory.

Big Georgie and James Ridley (far side) land the odds at Revesby Park

The Lincolnshire venue saw the successful return to the winner’s enclosure of Angela Slatter’s Waterloo Warrior who landed the Conditions under Tommie O’Brien. The jockey was seen at his best getting Waterloo Warrior home by a short head at the expense of Some King Lama. O’Brien went on to complete a double on the Oliver Plimott trained Raggamuffin in the Flat Race.

Although it is early in the season and the West Midlands season has yet to begin, two of our jockeys are setting the pace in the Riders Championship with Alex Edwards on 9 winners, James King has 5, while Tommie O’Brien is just beginning to get into full stride.

Edwards rode a double during the Sir W.W. Wynn’s meeting at Bangor-on-Dee after guiding Fleur de Pommier to victory at Larkhill the previous day.

Edwards successes were provided by Goldenbrave’s victory in the Open Maiden for his boss Phil Rowley, the partnership having a length and a quarter to spare over the Nicky Sheppard trained Organised Solution. Edwards had a successful outside ride on Crest for Ray Owen in the Confined, but his hopes of a treble on Optimised were dashed when they were beaten by the Jo Priest trained Alfstar in the Mixed Open.

Chief Sittingbull and Sarah Bowen were a length behind Alright Chief in the Intermediate, while the evergreen Round Robin finished a well beaten second in the Restricted.

Frost caused a 35-minute delay at Buckfastleigh and that combined with a divided Maiden meant it was past four o’clock before the runners for the Intermediate were sent on their way.

James King continued his successful association with the Fran Nimmo/Charlie Post yard by steering Freezing Point to victory in Division II of the short Maiden. The partnership were always in the leading group before powering home in the closing stages.

Freezing Point and James King storm up the hill to land Division II of the Maiden

Will Biddick teamed up with Ed Walkers Berkeley qualified mare Gio’s Girl in the Restricted but an early mistake proved costly. The champion literally had to pick the mare up off the floor at the second but he gradually nursed her back into contention. They were putting in their best work at the finish but the damage had been done earlier in the race.

Gio’s Girl (far side) paid for her early mistake in the Restricted but was catching Five Gold Bars at the finish

Having finished runner up to an odds-on favourite from Rose Loxton’s yard the previous day, Sam Jukes had to settle for a similar position on Marcle Ridge in the Mixed Open.

The partnership was quickly into their stride but were unable to put any appreciable distance between themselves and their rivals and the odds-on favourite began to loom up ominously at the end of the back straight.

Marcle Ridge leads the field in the Mixed Open but had to give best to Caid du Berlais in the home straight

Marcle Ridge managed to stay in contention until they meet the rising ground and was not given a hard race once his chance was gone against multiple Hunter Chase and Point-to-Point winner Caid Du Berlais.

Rye Cross lost touch with the leaders and was wisely pulled after a circuit in the Veteran Conditions but after those disappointments things improved dramatically with the Dymock stable taking the final two races with Gottagottagetaway (Maiden) and Shometheway (Intermediate).

The former carries the colours of Jukes’s farrier Daniel “Sprog” Garlick, who was unseated from the gelding when they made their debut at Larkhill recently. With the owner in Ireland, Jukes took the ride on the 8-year-old who had failed to complete on three previous outings.

The jockeys experience bore fruit as the partnership tracked the leaders before making a forward move halfway down the back straight. It was difficult to see the colours in the evening haze but as they turned back towards home Paschals Dream and Gottagottagetaway had opened up a clear advantage.

Gottagottagetaway storms clear up the final hill to land his first win

The Cotswold Vale Farmers qualified gelding began to assert as they met the rising ground approaching the last, which they negotiated with an unassailable lead. The 8-year-old began to tire in the heavy ground and Jukes was able to nurse the winner home.

Shometheway had scored in similar conditions at Ffos Las and was sent off favourite for the Intermediate. In contention for most of the way the 7-year-old drew clear up the hill to provide a perfect end to the day for connections with their home bred mare who is a full sister to Marcle Ridge and a half-sister to Nicky Henderson’s exciting hurdler Shiskin.

Shometheway scores her second win of the season in the Intermediate

The West Midlands could have several representatives in the Cheltenham Foxhunters on the 13th March with Don Poli and Hazel Hill both showing their well-being following successes the previous weekend.

Don Poli who races under a Croome & West Warwickshire certificate booked his place with a victory at Alnwick Point-to-Point on Saturday afternoon.

The 11-year-old already has two Cheltenham wins to his credit and was purchased by current owner Darren Yates just two days before his run in last season’s Grand National. He said later “It’s all systems go for the Foxhunter and I’m delighted to see him back enjoying himself. 
We thought we were in a bit of trouble when Killer Crow came to challenge at the last but Don took one look at him and off, he went.”

Winning rider Tristan Durrell said: ”He was off the bridle two out but stuck his neck out and battled. The course rode softer and more testing than last time.”

Last year’s Foxhunters winner Hazel Hill made a winning return at Sherriff Hutton under a confident ride from regular partner Alex Edwards. The Philip Rowley-trained 12-year-old drew clear from Rocklander to score by 15-lengths.

Hazel Hill remains on track for the Cheltenham Foxhunters after an impressive victory in Yorkshire

Caroline Robinson ambition to have a runner in the race she won as a jockey back in 1983 were enhanced after TheDellercheckout victory in the Ladies’ Open under her daughter Immy. Successful at Barbury Castle in December the winner easily saw off the challenges of last year’s winner Haymount and the well fancied Irish Anthem.

TheDellercheckout hits the bulls eye in the Ladies Open

Two West Midland based jockeys also made the long journey up to Northumberland and both saw their efforts rewarded.

Tommie O’Brien teamed up with the Ollie Pimlott trained Classic Lady in the Open Maiden where she showed improved form compared with her previous effort over the course. “She struck into herself on that occasion,” said Ollie so “We changed tactics here and didn’t make as much use of her”.

Tommie O’Brien and Classic Lady

James King partnered the Fran Nimmo trained Ripper Roo in the 2-1/2 mile Maiden and the pair came with a well-timed run to draw clear of the well fancied Commandingpresence at the finish. The winning rider was confident that “better ground and going right-handed will bring about further improvement”

James King and Ripper Roo score a smooth victory in the Maiden

Photos: – Graham and David Fisher and Pete Mansell

FRUSTRATING DAY AT LARKHILL

After a great start to the season, winners proved elusive for West Midland stables over the Christmas period and that trend continued as the first meeting of the New Year took place at Larkhill on Sunday morning.

The pattern for the day was set during the opening race and did not relent as our runners kept missing the target.

Despite having a runner (and winner) at Plumpton Leading National Hunt Trainer Paul Nicholls preferred to spend his time in the more relaxing atmosphere of a Wiltshire Point-to-Point, and it was in his capacity as an owner that Nicholls was on hand to greet Chameron after the 7-year-old who he co-owns with John Bolton and Harry Cobden outclassed his rivals in Division I of the Conditions.

Angus Cheleda’s mount took the lead approaching the second from home which proved decisive and allowed them to open up a race-winning lead. Miss Seagreen and Sam Jukes who had won at the previous meeting were still in 6th place at that point but as always, she was putting in her best work at the finish and closed the gap on her rival all the way up the run in.

Chameron clears the last from El Bandit, Miss Seagreen is not in the picture but she finished strongly to secure second place on the flat

Winning trainer Rose Loxton and Nicholls looked on course for a quick double as Captain Bucks seemed to be getting the better of the argument with Wick Green as they approached the final obstacle in Division II of the Conditions.

Natalie Parker’s mount was quicker away but Wick Green fought back gallantly to defy his 3 lb penalty and headed the leader in the final strides to gain a head verdict for  owner/trainer Peter Mason, while the Cotswold qualified Marten who had won at Dunsmore took third place on the flat.

Captain Bucks (blue and white) leads at the last but could not withstand Wick Greens challenge on the flat

The Loxton/Nicholls bandwagon got back on track when Virak beat previous course winner Southfield Theatre in the Ladies Open. The formbook suggested it was a two-horse race although Alice Stevens was a significant booking for Emma Alvis’s Big Casino in the Skinners sponsored contest and these three horses dominated the race from flag fall.

Southfield Theatre adopted his customary front running tactics and was still dictating the pace as they came back into view at the far end of the course. Big Casino began to drop out of contention at this point and the two market leaders had the race to themselves during the final half mile.

Lilly Bradstock’s mount was much quicker over the fences but Virak’s speed helped him regain the initiative on the flat, but the former still held a narrow lead as they came around the final bend.

Natalie Parker sent Virak to the front approaching the last but the runner up fought back gallantly to reduce the deficit to a length as they passed the judge, while Big Casino was secure in third place when he departed at the final obstacle.

Virak (yellow colours) proved too strong for Southfield Theatre in the Ladies Open

This was another success for Nicholls who owns the winner in partnership with Ledbury Businessman Clive Hitchings whose colours have been familiar features on the West Midlands circuit for several decades.

The two Divisions of the Maiden saw contrasting fortunes for two of the area’s leading riders with James King prevailing over Alex Edwards in the first while Edwards was able to turn the tables on his rival in Division II.

The market was particularly strong in Division I with Fedelta, Kynance Cove, Wykham and Butter Hill Boris all receiving support, while Phil Rowley’s runner My Bobby Dazzler seemed to have few friends.

Military Mischief led for much of this contest before Wykham fought his way into contention but was passed by Fedelta while My Bobby Dazzler was brought with a steady run that took him from 5th to 2nd on the approach to the final bend.

James King had kept a bit up his sleeve and was able to kick again in the home straight and that carried him to a decisive victory.

Fedelta and James King score an impressive win in the Maiden

The winner was carrying Trevor Hemmings famous yellow and green quartered colours while My Bobby Dazzler put in a vastly improved performance from the last time he was seen on a racecourse.

Having won the previous race, Fran Nimmo’s runner Red Buccaneer was all the rage in Division II, but the 5-year-old unraced son of Black Sam Bellamy had to settle for second spot behind Stan Rawlins and Harriet Waights mare Fleur du Pommier who finally won a race at the seventh time of asking.

Edwards’s mount led at the second from home from Nicky Sheppard and Milo Herbert’s newcomer Organised Solution with Red Buccaneer back in third, but the latter was unable to take advantage as the winner began to wander on the flat.

Alex Edwards (red and green) hold Red Bucaneers challenge on the flat

On the ratings at least the Connollys Red Mills sponsored Mens Open looked a shoe in for the favourite Shantou Flyer who had carried David Maxwell into second place in last season’s Cheltenham Foxhunters. With the owner/rider guiding Cat Tiger to victory at Plumpton Angus Cheleda came in for the ride on the Rose Loxton trained gelding.

King of Clothe, Salvatore and Green Winter were always to the fore but Shantou Flyer began a forward move coming up the hill and hit the front momentarily at the 5th from home.

Green Winter hit a flat spot at the next obstacle and dropped back about 8-lengths behind Shantou Flyer and Salvatore who were battling for supremacy.

There was little between the leaders at the last, but Shantou Flyer started to get the better of Alex Edwards’s mount on the flat. Zac Baker and Green Winter then hit full stride and made up a significant amount of ground on the run in but were still a length and a half adrift at the post.

Shantou Flyer (brown and red) is level with Salvatore (blue) at the last, with Green Winter some way behind in 3rd but in the end the winner was all out to hold their challenges on the flat

The Restricted went the way of Nick Phillips on Teeton Surprise, although some of the gloss of this victory was taken off with the news that Luke Harveys runner Raised with Praise had paid the ultimate price after falling when disputing the lead at the penultimate.

Albi Tufnell and Risky Gold were still a few lengths behind in third when they were brought down but it is doubtful, they would have been able to reel the leader in.

Tufnell gained compensation 35 minutes later when he took the Novice Riders on My Murphy.

Mary Vesty’s Darius des Bois had pulled up at Ffos Las while My Murphy had refused behind Wishing and Hoping at the same venue, although in their defence conditions were really testing that day.

Paige Topley sent Vesty’s runner to the front passing the judge for the first time and her tactics on Darius des Bois were causing problems for their rivals and this partnership held a clear lead as they came back into view.

Front runners seemed to have difficulty getting home in the soft ground and that proved the case in this race as the chasing pack began to close with half a mile to run.

My Murphy was noted making steady progress and he had the leader in his sights as they negotiated the penultimate. Tufnell allowed the 14-year-old veteran to stride clear on the home bend and soon had the race in safe keeping.

My Murphy and Albi Tufnell prove too strong for Darius des Bois in the Novice Riders

Pictures: – Graham Fisher and Pete Mansell

Results

Conditions – Division I
1st     Chameron                         A Cheleda                  5-1
2nd    Miss Seagreen
3rd    El Bandit

Conditions – Division II
1st     Wick Green                        P Mason                    8-1
2nd    Captain Bucks
3rd    Marten

Ladies Open
1st     Virak                             Miss N Parker               4-5 fav
2nd    Southfield Theatre
3rd    Ange des Malberaux

Maiden – Division I
1st     Fedelta                            J King                      100-30
2nd    My Bobby Dazzler
3rd    Butter Hill Boris

Maiden – Division II
1st     Fleur du Pommier                  A Edwards                  12-1
2nd    Red Buccaneer
3rd    Bawnmore

Mens Open
1st     Shantou Flyer                      A Cheleda                  4-5 fav
2nd    Green Winter
3rd    Salvatore

Restricted
1st     Teeton Surprise                   N Phillips                   12-1
2nd    Drakes Well
3rd    Caliente

Novice Riders
1st     My Murphy                        A Tufnell                   7-1
2nd    Darius des Bois
3rd    Thereyarsee

Maiden
1st     Thechaseison               M McIntyre                  2-1
2nd    The Whiskey Man
3rd    Baignard

HAZEL HILL & SHANTOU FLYER COULD RENEW RIVALRY AT CHADDESLEY

The Harkaway Club will be serving up their traditional post-Christmas treat for Point-to-Point enthusiasts at next Friday’s meeting at Chaddesley Corbett.

This is the first of five fixtures to take place at the Worcestershire venue and it also heralds the beginning of a thirteen-meeting programme that takes place in the West Midlands over the next 6 months.

The 2019/2020 season is still in its infancy but the Mens Open has the potential to be a real cracker as the entries include last year’s Cheltenham Foxhunters winner Hazel Hill and Bridgnorth trainer Phil Rowley used this race as a stepping stone to festival glory last March.

The 11-year-olds place in the history books is assured but Diana Williams gelding will have to be at his best to see off the challenge of David Maxwell’s Shantou Flyer who finished 4-lengths behind him in the Cheltenham Centrepiece.

Big Casino chased home Earth Leader at Larkhill and the latter is being touted as a potential winner of the big race at Prestbury Park, so Big Casino’s proximity to the two major contenders will provide another piece in the jigsaw for form students to digest.

Bishops Road presence shows the race has strength in depth, while others who could feature include Facile Bien, Navanman, Port Melon and Waterloo Warrior.

Bishops Road has an alternative engagement in the Ladies Open and his rating puts him on a par with Thomas Campbell and Virak. Bishops Road had his colours lowered by Don Bersy at Dunsmore while Thomas Campbell got up near the finish to land a Ladies Open at Wadebridge. Vedettariat managed just one outing last year, but was in good form prior to that and could prove difficult to beat if back to his best.

The likely favourite Ravished scored an impressive win on his seasonal debut at Cottenham but was unable to peg back Southfield Theatre at Larkhill. This course is not dissimilar to Cottenham and that has to be in his favour.

Bridgnorth trainer Phil Rowley has made a flying start to the season and the stable should add to their tally in the Goff’s sponsored 2-1/2 mile Maiden.

My Bobby Dazzler was beaten a long way on his racecourse debut last year but will have benefitted from that experience, while Goldenbrave finished 4th in two Irish Point-to-Points. The trainer does not fire many duds in these types of races and the horse should give supporters a good run for their money.

Commanding Presence and Kynance Cove both come from stables who do well in these types of races, while those searching for something at longer odds may side with Organised Solution. His form in Ireland is nothing to shout about but connections have done well with horses from the same source in the past.

Goldenbrave and Organised Solution both have alternative engagements in the 3-mile Maiden, so their chosen objectives must provide them with their best chance of success.

Jason Warner’s Best to Come started a hot favourite for a Barbury Maiden prior to Christmas and had opened up a 25-length advantage before falling at the 10th. He took some liberties with his fences that day but must go close with a clear round.

Diva Du Maquis also ran well at Barbury and was still in contention until blundering Dave Mansell out of the saddle at the 11th. She had jumped well up to that point and Mansell’s Hasfield stable has a good record over this course.

Droitwich trainer Max Young has his stable in fine form so keep an eye out for Final Sting and Windy Writer although at 9 years of age the latter has yet to break his duck.

A 3 lb penalty is unlikely to stop recent Ffos Las winner Kaki De La Pree who has a choice of engagements in the Jockey Club and Retraining of Racehorses Veteran Conditions or the Novice Riders.

The manner of his success in Wales suggest that he and Alexandra Ingram may well have found races to which they are particularly suited and they are expected to add to their winning tally.

They share top billing in the Novice Riders with Port Melon while others to note include Darius Des Bois, Just a Par, Call Me Vic, Doc Carver and Little Windmill who finished second recently and both horse and jockey will have benefitted from that experience.

With 30 entries the Veteran Conditions may well require division on the day and if that proves necessary Lotus Pond and Vedettariat may provide the answer if they are kept apart in the balloting process.

Drumhart jumping needs to improve on the evidence of his recent effort at Barbury, while this course may not play to Magheral Express’s strengths. James Ridley’s Kinnersley stable is still searching for its first winner of the season and with Pearls Legend finishing down the field at Cottenham it is difficult seeing him providing the breakthrough.

The meeting opens at 10-30 a.m. with the 2-1/2 mile Restricted. Past experience has proved an early start is necessary as a combination of divisions on the day and fading light could pose problems at the end of the day and being pro-active rather than re-active means they can easily be overcome.

West Country challenger Sylvies Dance has the top rating in this race but may be hampered by the lack of a run but the same cannot be said of Voie Dans Voie who has already run twice this season.

Chief Sittingbull represents the Bowens Worcestershire stable but his only success was a course success over a solitary rival last May. Round Robin took several years to break his duck although he did so at the end of last season but it is difficult making a case for him in this race. R Bren joined Dymock trainer Sam Jukes halfway through last season and although he may figure in the shake up, victory might prove elusive.

The Max Young trained Taboo made all the running when winning at Ffos Las and seems to have turned over a new leaf since joining his Droitwich yard. Ryan Potter nominated Family Man for a 2-1/2 mile Restricted after his recent Maiden success and the manner of his victory a couple of weeks ago suggests he has the speed to cut down his rivals in the closing stages.

 

 

THE DELLERCHECKOUT SCORES AT BARBURY

The Dellercheckout’s connections are dreaming of Cheltenham after the 6-year-olds success in the Mixed Open during the International meeting at Barbury Racecourse on Sunday afternoon.

Immy Robinson’s mount was settled in mid-field as Dunsmore winner Don Bersy set a strong pace and still held a 3-length advantage negotiating the 14th, but Optimised and Tossapenny were both on the leader’s heels, while Robinson was poised to deliver her challenge.

2 out and it is impossible to split The Dellercheckout (red cap) and Don Bersy (blue and white), Optimised (left) and Tossapenny in the Rucker colours are chasing them home

She did so around the final bend producing the Albrighton & Woodland qualified gelding to head her rival before Don Bersy fought back to get on level terms at the final obstacle, but Robinson’s mount proved the stronger on the run to the line.

The last and the situation remains the same before The Dellercheckout (red cap) forged clear on the flat

The Dellercheckout was purchased for £260,000 after winning an Irish Point-to-Point as a 4-year-old but subsequent performances led to him being purchased by Sheriffhales trainer Caroline Robinson for a tenth of that cost at Goffs in May this year.

“I thought he looked a nice horse as he walked round. Immy did not want to be in front too soon so kept him in company for most of the race. It has always been my dream to have a runner in the Cheltenham Foxhunters (a race she won herself as a rider on Eliogarty in 1986), but I realise these can be shattered so we will take it step by step and see where it takes us. He does everything so easily at home”.

Don Bersy’s trainer Ryan Potter had to settle for another runners up spot when Sam Brown and Little Windmill were beaten by Trojan Star in Division I of the Novice Riders.

The front running Summer Sounds set a strong pace but paid the penalty by weakening out of contention over the final three fences, whereas Little Windmill made a couple of minor mistakes but still seemed to be travelling easily behind the leaders on the final turn.

Trojan Star swept around the outside approaching 2 out to put the issue beyond doubt although Little Windmill did stay on doggedly to claim second spot.

Sam Brown and Little Windmill clear the last

Potter’s perseverance finally paid off in the final race on the card after Family Man and Bradley Gibbs had taken the Open Maiden.

Jason Warner’s Best to Come was the subject of heavy support and the jockey’s tactics were obvious as they shot into an early lead.

Best to Come clears the 9th with a clear lead but fell at the next obstacle

Moorcroft was finding it difficult to contain the 6-year-old son of Stowaway exuberance but despite a couple of early errors they held a 20-length advantage for most of the first circuit before making one error to many and falling at the 10th.

The race then took on a different perspective as the remaining runners adopted a more tactical approach.

The runner up Clever Des Assence held the advantage around the final bend but Bradley Gibbs was oozing confidence and produced his mount with a tremendous turn of foot that took them through to dispute the lead at the penultimate.

Gibbs’s mount had the race in his pocket approaching the last which he popped over to win by a comfortable 2 lengths with The Minkle back in third.

Top picture – Family Man (extreme left) takes the long route to claim the lead – before scooting clear of his rivals on the flat

“We fancied him at Dunsmore but he had a slight issue that day but has been brilliant at home and this is a great end to a frustrating day. We got the horse by chance. We brought Little Windmill at Goffs September Sales and needed a companion for him on the way home. I never looked at the horse but put in the minimum bid for Family Man and got him. I think he has enough speed for the 2-1/2 mile Restricted. He was patiently ridden because he has so much speed and Bradley came around the outer in search of better ground.”

Winning connections in the paddock – Emma Yardley (left) and Ryan Potter (right) pick up the silverware

“I came and walked the course early and with the jockeys reporting the ground as good I phoned Emma up and told her to bring the horse. Later reports said the ground was soft but it was too late then because she was already on her way. He is not easy to train but likes a routine and we got here 30 minutes before the race because he can get worked up. I hope to take out a full licence next summer”.

Phil Rowley got the day off to a bright start with Raffle Ticket winning the Irish Thoroughbred Marketing Flat Race under Alex Edwards.

The horse’s reputation had obviously preceded it as the 5-year-old headed the market. Vain King led around the final bend but Alex Edwards produced Raffle Ticket with perfect timing to hit the front in the final furlong and prevail by 2-lengths from the Irish challenger Fix the Bill who took the runners up spot on the flat.

An impressive debut for the Phil Rowley trained Raffle Ticket in the Flat Race

The horse’s owner Lady Cathcart runs the winner under a West Norfolk certificate and she explained afterwards “He was brought unbroken as a 3-year-old and we were going to run him last year but Phil suggested it would be better not to as he was too big and weak. The patience has paid off”.

Connections pose for photo’s after the horses success 

When West Midland trained horses aren’t winning their jockeys are and James King was successful on One True King in the Goffs sponsored 2-1/2 mile Maiden. This race was run in the worst of the afternoons weather but the winner was never in danger of defeat after taking the lead soon after the start.

He had a clear advantage over Ahead of the Game and was left well clear when that horse pulled up approaching the second from home which left the Young O’Leary and the Sophie Lacey trained and Ledbury qualified Lagonda to take the minor honours.

One True King scores for the Irish at Barbury

The winner was one of several Irish runners throughout the afternoon and they must have been impressed by the generosity of the English bookmakers.

Zac Baker got his name on the scoresheet when Lady Sally proved too strong for her rivals in the Mares and Fillies Maiden.

Edabean and Bryon Moorcroft carrying the Jason Warner colours had been prominent from the start and led the runners down the back straight where Diva Du Maquis unseated Dave Mansell when still in contention.

The favourite So Socksy led on the final bend but was quickly swallowed up by Baker’s mount who stayed on well to land the spoils for Lambourn trainer Mark Grant.

Division II of the Novice Riders went to another West Midland trainer Sally Randall although she herself was absent saddling Tequila Blaze from Fergal O’Brien’s yard at Carlisle.

Call Me Vic races under a V.W.H. certificate and the race turned out to be a match between Albi Tufnell’s mount and Ben Bromley on the Rowley trained Ballykan in the closing stages.

There was little between the two runners until Ballykan made a mistake at the penultimate and a more serious error at the last which finally ended his chances with the winner cementing his authority in the closing stages.

Albi Tufnell and Call Me Vic (nearside) and Ballykan touch down together at the last

Postscript from meeting: – Jockeys Valet Dave Sunderland passed away yesterday after the Barbury meeting.

Results

Flat Race

1st    Raffle Ticket            A Edwards              6-4 fav
2nd   Fix the Bill
3rd    Vain Girl

2-1/2 mile Maiden

1st    One True King          J King                        5-1
2nd   Young O’Leary
3rd    Lagonda

Mares and Fillies Maiden

1st    Lady Sally              Z Baker                 5-2
2nd   So Socksy
3rd    Janeslittlevoice

Conditions

1st    Horizontal Speed        C Marshall              14-1
2nd   Western Diva
3rd    The Dapper Fox

Mixed Open

1st    The Dellercheckout      Miss I Robinson         10-1
2nd   Don Bersy
3rd    Inchcolm

Novice Riders – Division I

1st    Trojan Star             K Tompkins             7-1
2nd   Little Windmill
3rd    Drumhart

Novice Riders – Division II

1st    Call Me Vic             A Tufnell                Evens
2nd   Ballykan
3rd    Ueueteotl

Open Maiden

1st    Family Man             B Gibbs                 4-1
2nd   Clever des Assence
3rd    The Minkle

West Midland trainer Nick Pearce’s long journey to Alnwick on Sunday proved worthwhile as the former Grade 1 winning chaser ploughed through the soft ground to gain his first victory for four years in the hands of Tristan Durrell.

Pearce combines his role assisting trainer Dan Skelton with preparing two Point-to-Pointers Don Poli and Workbench.

Current owner Darren Yates brought Don Poli at the Aintree Sales in April and two days later the horse finished last in the Randox Health Grand National.

Following this success, the Croome and West Warwickshire qualified gelding needs to win another Open to meet the qualification criteria for both the Cheltenham and Aintree Foxhunters.

 

 

 

 

WEST MIDLANDS STABLES DOMINATE AT FFOS LAS

The sport is indebted to connections who drive long distances in an attempt to win prize money that will barely covers their travel costs, but many are prepared to do so judging by the results from Ffos Las and Wadebridge.

It is a long trek from the West Midlands to Ffos Las and even further to Wadebridge but those that undertook those endeavours were rewarded as they searched for and achieved success.

Ffos Las provided rich pickings for the Area with four successes at the Carmarthenshire meeting, while the Jo Priest trained and James Jeavon’s ridden Phoenix Park proved too strong for the opposition in Division II of the Cornwall Hunt Club Maiden.

A pre-race assessment of the Mixed Open at Ffos Las indicated a competitive race with Wishing and Hoping facing opposition from 11 rivals who included Aqua Dude, Midnight Folie, My Murphy and Rye Cross.

Phil Rowley’s Dudley Cup winner jumped into the lead at the 2nd and proceeded to put all his rivals firmly in their place. Alex Edward’s mount was three lengths clear of Rye Cross passing the judge for the first time and continued to extend his lead as the opposition started falling out of contention.

WISHING AND HOPING (RIGHT) ENJOYING HIMSELF AT HALFWAY IN THE MIXED OPEN

Wishing and Hoping gained lengths at every jump but Aqua Dude and Midnight Folie were still in with a fighting chance as they turned for home although their pursuit was in vain as Alex Edwards kicked on again as they straightened up for the judge.

The opposition (with the exception of My Murphy) pulled up at regular intervals in the home straight and when Albi Tufnell’s mount declined to jump the last, the favourite was left to finish alone.

THE WINNER CLEARS THE LAST AND LEAVES HIS RIVALS TRAILING IN HIS WAKE

Most people agreed it was the best performance they had seen in Point-to-Points for several years with the Morville trained gelding destroying the opposition and putting in a performance that brightened a dull winters day.

PETER AND TRISH ANDREWS, MICHAELA TALLETT AND ALEX EDWARDS

“He tanked along and was enjoying himself” stated the jockey and was “certainly much better than the opposition on this ground”.

Droitwich trainer Max Young has transformed Taboo since she joined his stable after a 25-race losing sequence in Ireland. She finished third at Cottenham in the middle of November and her fitness proved an advantage when she took the Jockey Club sponsored Mares Maiden under Kai Lenihan.

Despite the testing conditions enterprising tactics proved beneficial with Taboo leading from the start and gradually extending her advantage down the back straight.

She put in an exemplary round of the jumping which could not be said for some of her rivals, although joint favourite Nerual flattered briefly in the home straight, but Taboo’s fitness than came into play and she forged further clear over the remaining fences.

TABOO CLEARS THE LAST TO CLAIM HER FIRST WIN

“She ran plenty of times in Ireland and I am still finding out about her. I have no idea what ground she wants, but she seemed to cope with this. She was sourced by Tommy Dowling and was a cheap purchase so we will keep her going and see where we end up in the Mares Series” explained the trainer afterwards.

MAX YOUNG AND KAI LENIHAN AFTER TABOO’S SUCCESS

Clive Bennett and Sam Jukes are still basking in the owner’s 100th winner at Larkhill last weekend and Showmetheway fulfilled last season’s promise by staying on dourly to land the Restricted.

Jukes was keen to get the mare out of the blocks and she figured prominently over the first couple of fences but was then settled just behind the leaders as Dr Kananga and Dramatic Pause vied for the lead.

These two horses were still in front as they turned back towards home, but Jukes had kept something in reserve and retook the lead from the hard-driven Dr Kananga at the next.

The mare began to hit full stride and with conditions taking their toll on the opposition she came to the last with an unassailable lead and Jukes was able to nurse her home in the stamina sapping conditions.

SHOMETHEWAY IS DRIVEN UP THE RUN IN – WHILE THE SECOND PLACE HORSE JUMPS THE LAST

The mare was on her toes in the paddock and did her best to demolish the paddock railings. “She is always like that in the preliminaries. She’s a sister to Marcle Ridge”, commented Bennett afterward “and it was worth the long journey to get down here”.

A FAMILAR SIGHT – SAM JUKES AND CLIVE BENNETT IN THE WINNERS ENCLOSURE

You would never have guessed it after the manner of their victory but 17-year-old Alexandra Ingram was having her first ride on Tom Symonds Ledbury qualified Kaki de La Pree in the Conditions at Ffos Las and was rewarded with a fairy tale success.

A Level Student Ingram was content to bide her time for the first circuit but began to make up ground steadily as they went out onto their final circuit and continued to catch the eye as they sat in the leaders slipstream all the way down the back straight.

Beggars Bush and Immy Robinson still held the lead at the final open ditch with Lisheen Prince and Captain McGinley in close attendance. The shouts from the supporters of these two fancied horses were cut short as they wilted in the soft ground, but Ingram’s mount had already taken command and was still full of running at the finish.

ONE FOR THE SCRAPBOOK – A FIRST WINNER FOR 17-YEAR-OLD ALEXANDRA INGRAM

The Cottenham Maiden form is proving invaluable during the early weeks of the season, with Taboo (3rd) winning at Ffos Las while the horse that finished in front of her Phoenix Park travelled all the way down to Wadebridge to open his account.

The 7-year-old finished strongly on his seasonal debut and was required to do so again at the Cornwall Hunt Club meeting. James Jeavon’s mount looked beaten approaching two out but rallied strongly in the closing stages to get the better of Mustmeetforapint and reward connections for their 7-hour round trip from trainer Jo Priests Holdfast Stables near Upton-on-Severn.

Members

1st       Frelia                                 B Gibbs                   1-2 fav
2nd      Travertine

Mares and Fillies

1st       Taboo                               K Lenihan                7-4
2nd      Nerual
3rd       A Mill from Milan

Horse and Gelding Maiden

1st       The Galloping Bear              D Andrews              5-1
2nd       The Go Tou Man
3rd       Letter Exit

Mixed Open

1st       Wishing and Hoping             A Edwards               11-10
(Finished Alone)

Restricted

1st       Shometheway                     S Jukes                    7-2
2nd      Dr Kananga
3rd       Iusetaluvheronce

Conditions

1st       Kaki de La Pree                   Miss A Ingram           6-1
2nd      Dan’s Wee Man
(Only two finished)

Flat Race

1st       Wilcox and Co                   B Gibbs                   7-2
2nd      After the Fox
3rd       Dromore Mountain

 

 

 

ONE HUNDREDTH WINNER FOR CLIVE BENNETT AT LARKHILL

Some owners struggle for just one winner in their lifetime so one hundred successes is a major milestone and one that few achieve.

Clive Bennett ended last season on 99 winners but struck with his first runner of the new campaign when Miss Seagreen outstayed her rivals to land the Hursley Hambledon Restricted at Larkhill on Sunday afternoon.

Trainer/Jockey Sam Jukes has played a major part in helping the Dymock based owner achieve this formidable total with half of their successes being recorded over the last five years so it was fitting that he should steer the mare to victory.

Public Relations provided Bennett with his first winner at Maisemore Park back in 1987, and 32 years later his stable is still firing in the winners, and he has broadened his support for the sport by becoming one of the Area’s major sponsors.

Bennetts home bred mare had the best credentials in the Restricted although there was plenty of support for Phil Rowley’s runner Share A Bear. Both horses settled behind Magna Sam who pulled his way to the front passing the crowd for the first time.

He extended his advantage racing out into the country and was well clear at the far end of the course. Sam Jukes sent the favourite in pursuit as they came back into view but Tommie O’Brien and Magna Sam were proving difficult to peg back.

With their remaining rivals dropping away the race developed into a straight fight between the two leaders and momentarily it looked as though O’Brien’s enterprising tactics were paying off, but Miss Seagreen scooted around the final bend and soon had Magna Sam in her sights.

Miss Seagreen (pink) is ready to pounce on Magna Sam at the last

He started off up the run in with a narrow advantage but as she had done last year the mare stormed clear on the flat to provide connections with cause for celebration.

Sam Jukes is in the drive position as Miss Seagreen starts to catch the leader on the flat

“She is a fifth-generation home bred” stated the owner afterwards who always enjoys his successes but this one must have been particularly sweet “she is much stronger this year and I am thrilled”. Asked how many horses he has Bennett replied “too many”.

20 runners faced the starter in the Conditions and with course specialist Coco Live and Three Faces West setting a strong pace the field started to fragment after seven fences.

This pair maintained their advantage until half a mile from home where the strong pace began to take its toll on Three Faces West, but Coco Live then faced an even stiffer challenge as Salvatore loomed up around the final bend.

Salvatore during the early stages of the Conditions

Coco Live was a sitting duck as they approached the last and had nothing left to offer when passed by the winner on the flat.

Salvatore’s trainer Phil Rowley commented later “He is a lovely young horse, but I was not sure if he was fit enough. We have not had much luck here but it is wonderful ground and he is a progressive sort that travels and jumps well. He could have run in a Conditions Race at Ffos Llas next week but would have had to carry a 6lb penalty so we came her instead and it was well worth the 6-hour round trip”.

The first of the Tattersalls Cheltenham four and five year old Maidens went to West Midland jockey James King and his association with Fran Nimmo’s stable could prove beneficial to both parties this season.

Given the stables reputation in these type of events Pass Rusher was virtually ignored in the market but put his rivals to the sword by storming clear after the last to record a 5-length success over Butter Hill Boris.

Pass Rusher and James King swoop late to land the 2-1/2 mile Maiden

The Immy Robinson ridden and Joe O’Shea trained Ravished were hot favourites for the Ladies Open on the strength of their performance at Cottenham, but the Cambridgeshire course and Larkhill are as different as chalk and cheese.

Southfield Theatre, Facile Ben and Beggars Velvet set the pace with Robinson content to bide her time before moving into a challenging position with four to jump.

Southfield Theatre  clears the last ahead of the favourite Ravished in the Ladies

Southfield Theatre led round the final bend and put in another magnificent jump at the last and had sufficient reserves to hold the favourites challenge on the flat.

There was another close finish in the Men’s Open. Emma Alvis’s runner Big Casino was prominent during the early stages of this contest but was passed by Will Biddicks mount Lets Get at It at the 6th who led until passed by Ballynagour who shot into a clear lead with a mile to run.

Earth Leader is well clear of Big Casino at the last, but the runner up was much closer as they passed the judge

That effort was short-lived because he soon weakened, which allowed Earth Leader to lead at the last. Big Casino who had lost a prominent position at the top of the hill suddenly began to pass tiring rivals but still had a significant amount of ground to make up approaching the last, but continued to do so all the way to the post.

Photos: – Courtesy of Graham Fisher

We apologise for the lack of presentation photos but a memory card malfunction has prevented their publication

MAIDEN

1ST      PASS RUSHER                    J KING                              20-1
2ND     BUTTER HILL BORIS
3RD      SANSGINI

LADIES OPEN

1ST      SOUTHFIELD THEATRE      MISS L BRADSTOCK           4-1
2ND     RAVISHED
3RD      STAGE ONE

MENS OPEN

1ST      EARTH LEADER                 A CHELEDA                      7-4
2ND     BIG CASINO
3RD      CALL ME VIC

RESTRICTED

1ST      MISS SEAGREEN                 S JUKES                             EVENS
2ND     MAGNA SAM

CONDITIONS

1ST      SALVATORE                      A EDWARDS                     9-4
2ND     COCO LIVE
3RD      THREE FACES WEST

OPEN MAIDEN

1ST      RAISED WITH PRAISE         D EDWARDS                     6-1
2ND     ON PAROLE
3RD      HAPPY LARRY

 

WEST MIDLAND HORSES STRIKE AT DUNSMORE AND COTTENHAM

The Dunsmore Club meeting proved a happy hunting ground for West Midland stables and their supporters who enjoyed an opening day hattrick at the new venue.

Don Bersy’s success in the Mixed Open was another feather in the cap of jockey Bradley Gibbs’s. The 6-year-old has proved quirky at the start in the past and once again showed a reluctance to jump off on level terms with his rivals.

The partnership lost about a dozen lengths and were last as they set off down the back straight but by the end of it, they had stormed into the lead, and we setting such a strong pace that with the exception of the favourite Bishops Road nobody else got a look in.

Don Bersy extended his lead on the final circuit but his earlier antics looked to have taken their toll as Zac Baker and Bishops Road began to reduce their advantage turning back towards home.

Having jumped immaculately up to that point Don Bersy’s mistake at the third from home left the door open for his rival, but Gibbs took a long look round on the final bend and asked his mount for one final effort.

It was the right tactic at the right time because the partnership extended their lead between the final two fences and scored a hard-fought victory in the fastest time of the day.

Over the last and Don Bersy (pale colours) is clear of Bishops Road before staying on well up the final hill

Winning trainer Ryan Potter said after the Ledbury qualified geldings success “Bradley is crucial to this horse. He knows all his quirks and reacts to them. That was some performance as Bradley was putting up 5 lb overweight, but it was worth it. He was better at the start than normal but still lost about a dozen lengths. The horse gets himself fit at home. We are in for a busy season, I am a farrier by trade and along with my partner Emma we have 16 Pointers in this year”.

All bar one of the ten entries lined up for the Conditions and this race provided the most exciting finish of the day, with a short head separating the first two home.

The favourite Summer Sounds was an early casualty, when the horse became unbalanced around the first turn and Alice Stevens excited the side door.

With a circuit to go Evan David moved the West Midland raider Marten up to dispute the lead with Hello George and these two had the race to themselves for the remainder of the contest.

They were in-separable over the final half mile and had a titanic battle all the way up the home straight with neither jockey or horses prepared to concede defeat.

Marten (left) and Hello George battle out the finish of the Conditions

The general consensus was that Marten had prevailed but it took some time before the judge announced his verdict with Evan David’s mount gaining the verdict.

David is an accomplished rider on the Welsh circuit but now works for Cotswold trainer Ben Pauling, which is where the 7-year-old has spent much of his career. He is owned by Lord Vestey and trained by his daughter Mary at her father’s Stowell Park home. She stated she was “both delighted and surprised. He has not won for three years and we have been trying to sweeten him up.”

Winning connections from the left – Tom David, Mary Vesty and jockey Evan David celebrate their success

Following two local successes earlier in the afternoon, the bookies were taking no chances with Waterloo Warrior in the Intermediate. The 7-year-old won twice for connections last year and now had the assistance of reigning National Champion Will Biddick.

Biddick had the Jake Slatter trained gelding at the rear of the field for the first couple of circuits but started to take closer order on the final one and soon started to put pressure on chief market rival Robin Why Not.

Both horses were flat to the boards at the fourth from home, but Biddick was oozing confidence as the odds-on favourite drew clear in the home straight.

Waterloo Warrior and Will Biddick at the last

Toddington based Slatter was pleased with this performance “He was highly regarded under Rules but failed to get his head in front, but has done that easily today and seems to have benefitted from being in a small yard”.

Waterloo Warrior easing down at the finish

“He is the only horse the family (Mum Angela and Dad Ian) have at the moment, although we have a 3-year-old for the new year. We have no gallops and he gets trained in a field around the farm. I might try and win a Men’s Open before Christmas and then go Hunter Chasing”.

(1) All smiles from the winning trainer on the right – while his Mum Angela picks up the prize (2)

Dunsmore Results

4-5-6 Maiden
1st       Macca’s Stowaway               M Woodward           6-1
2nd      Janeslittlevoice
3rd       Shantolie

Conditions
1st      Marten                              E David                    10-1
2nd      Hello George
3rd       Wood Pigeon

Restricted
1st       The Roestone                     T Chanin                  Evens
2nd      Mr Jaggers
3rd       Second Chapter

Mixed Open
1st       Don Bersey                        B Gibbs                   7-4
2nd      Bishops Road
3rd       Ballyhowne

Intermediate
1st       Waterloo Warrior              W Biddick                4-5 fav
2nd       Robin Why Not
3rd       Druid Spitfire

Open Maiden
1st       Iusetaluyuherone                 B Moorcroft             10-11 fav
2nd      Ticklebellylane
3rd       Family Man

Champion Trainer in 2017/2018 Phil Rowley made a good start to the season with a double at Cottenham where Alex Edwards had the distinction of riding the first winner of the new season on Undisputed because the first race at Dunsmore was delayed for 10 minutes due to the local road accident.

The winner was not winning out of turn having finished in the runners up spot on three occasions last year but benefitted from the departure of the favourite Hawkhurst at the 5th. Edwards’s mount had half a length to spare over Nick Pearce’s Croome & West Warwickshire qualified Workbench, while other local runners Allbarone and Pearls Legend both finished down the field.

Rowley took the Mens Open but not with the horse excepted to prevail as Now Ben and Alex Edwards were pipped at the post by Ben Bromley on Vivaldi Collonges.

The Martin Weston trained and Christine Banks owned Arthurs Secret was taken on and challenged by Ravished and Immy Robinson and that tactic proved successful with the winner scooting around the Cambridgeshire circuit in a very quick time.

Max Comley was out of luck with Cloudy Joker earlier in the afternoon and had to settle for third place with Maximus Maridius in the Restricted, while Phoenix Park and Taboo did better than expected in the Open Maiden.