Category Archives: Reports

ROUND ROBIN WINS AT LAST

The West Midland season ended on a high note with four impressive front running performances sealing victory for their connections at Chaddesley Corbett on Monday afternoon.

The last race of our season provided the most popular winner of the day and probably the season when Round Robin finally broke his duck in the Maiden. The 8-year-old made his racecourse debut back in 2016 and has been placed 18 times in the intervening period. The horse has tested the patience of owner/trainer Christine Banks who has persisted while others may have given up hope.

Abi Banks took her mother’s gelding to the front from the drop of the flag but they were shadowed by Jack Savage on Dover the Moon until the latter began to beat a retreat on the final turn.

The final two fences have seen Round Robin succumb to rivals numerous times in the past but this was his day and instead of capitulating he began to distance himself from his rivals in the home straight.

Round Robin and Abi Banks clear the last to finally open their account after many years of trying

James King and Felton Bellevue did reduce the deficit on the run in but Round Robin clung on gallantly to secure his first success in the colours of his Worcestershire based owner.

Ballyboker Breeze started at very short odds for the Ladies Open, but Jo Priest’s runner eventually had to settle for second place behind his market rival Tb Broke Her.

Hannah Lewis was keen to make the running but she must have been surprised to approach the first with a 10-length advantage and it could be argued this made the difference between victory and defeat.

Tb Broke Her set a searching gallop before easing down along the back straight which allowed her rivals to get back into contention. Although the lead was reduced, they still had a 5-length advantage as they went out onto their final circuit.

Ballyboker Breeze made a mistake at the 12th and this coincided with the moment that Hannah decided to quicken the pace so the gap had increased when they reached the 14th.

The first two were well clear of their rivals on the climb into the home straight and with Tb Broke piling on the pressure the 14 lb weight concession took its toll and the mare was able to extended her advantage over the final two fences.

Hannah Lewis and Tb Broke Her made every fence a winning one in the Ladies Open

“She’s a super star and seemed to enjoy being out in front” said trainer Sam Jukes afterwards, while owner Will Gaskins commented “That is the highlight of the season for me, she is so genuine and has only been in work for 2 weeks after being side-lined following her run at Cheltenham. Hannah gave her a super ride”.

Will and Diana Gaskins with Hannah Lewis after his mares success in the Ladies

Miss Lewis combines her Point-to-Point rides with training several horses at Holdfast Stables near Upton on Severn. The runner up Ballyboker Breeze is based at the same facility, so no doubt this race will be discussed at length over the coming days.

Having scored 10 points with two second places on Jeans Lady and Ballyboker Breeze Alice Stevens looked to have snatched the Ladies Title from Josephine Banks grasp but Well Mett short headed Hawkstone Spirit to claim third place and claim 3 points and share the Title for the first time in its long history.

Four horses lined up for the Men’s Conditions, but as has been proved so many times in the past you don’t need a lot of runners to provide exciting finishes. With Alex Edwards suspended Noel George took the ride on Phil Rowley’s Knight Batchelor and this pairing were vying for favouritism with Sam Jukes’ mount Stone.

These two horses set a moderate pace which allowed Gallox Bridge and Get Rhythm to stay in touch until the pace quickened at the 12th and these two quickly dropped out of contention.

Knight Batchelor and Stone battled for the lead until the former made a mistake at the 13th which allowed Jukes’ mount to establish gain a small advantage which the favourite struggled to claw back over the final four fences.

 

Stone (pink) holds a narrow lead at the 17th but has gone further clear at the last

The pace quickened as they turned for home with both jockeys asking their mounts for maximum effort, they responded courageously with Stone more efficient fencing proving crucial over the final two fences.

This win provided the second leg of a double for Dymock trainer Sam Jukes, while owner Clive Bennett is now within shouting distance of recording a century of winners between the flags.

Seven runners were due to line up for the Restricted but Gogetthat proved difficult at the start and was subsequently withdrawn while Black Frost departed at the first, and Charlie Dando had to pull up Brass in Pocket after encountering saddlery problems at the 5th.

Jeans Lady and R Bren were vying for the lead from halfway but could never shake off the attentions of Master Hide. The race changed dramatically on the home turn where Jeans Lady and R Bren looked set to fight out the finish.

Master Hide and James Jeavons storm clear of Jeans Lady and R Bren in the Restricted

Master Hide got a good run through on the inside and that proved a race winning manoeuvre as James Jeavon’s mount hit the front at the 17th and held their renewed challenges on the flat.

Ballina Lady’s past record indicates she has trouble staying 3-miles so the opposition were not unduly worried when Lilly Pinchin had established a 20-length lead by the 3rd and were a fence clear with a circuit to go.

The mare showed no signs of stopping down the back straight and her rivals realised too late that the situation was irredeemable.

Ballina Lady was slowing when she made a mistake at the last, but this made little difference as she scooted home a distance clear of the opposition.

Stow on the Wold based Seanin McPherson trains the winner for her husband Graeme with the latter praising Lilly Pinchin for her judgement of pace.

Asked if it was the plan to make the running McPherson commented “Yes – but I did not expect her to be so far in front at halfway. I don’t think she stays 3 miles so I said to Lilly you should be OK if you can hang on until the top of the hill”.

The horse is normally ridden by Callum McBride but he has recently had an operation on his jaw so Lilly has been the beneficiary”.

The meeting started well for favourite backers when Summer Sounds and Luke Scott lead throughout the Conditions. Carrig Dubh ran his usual honest race in an effort to provide Brooke Gardener-Wollen with her first success but they had to give best to Fran Nimmo’s runner in the home straight.

 

Summer Sounds and Luke Scott claim the Conditions 

One of the Area’s unsung heroes – Our Banner Man Neville Hackett receives a small token of appreciation for Area Secs Nickie Sheppard and Sam Lutton Hughes

Brooke Gardener-Wollen receives the Hanley Mill sponsored Novice Riders Award from sponsor Belinda Palfrey

Photo’s – Graham Fisher, Tim Sage and Pete Mansell

RESULTS

CONDITIONS

1ST              SUMMER SOUNDS                     L SCOTT                      6-4

2ND             CARRIG DUBH

3RD             BALLYCAHANE

RESTRICTED

1ST              MASTER HIDE                                                 J JEAVONS                                      12-1

2ND             JEANS LADY

3RD             R BREN

LADIES OPEN

1ST              Tb BROKE HER                                               MISS H LEWIS                             11-4

2ND             BALLYBOKER BREEZE

3RD             WELL METT

MENS CONDITIONS

1ST              STONE                                                                 S JUKES                                           EVENS

2ND             KNIGHT BACHELOR

3RD             GET RHYTHM

MARES MAIDEN

1ST              BALLINA LADY                                               MISS L PINCHIN                         3-1

2ND             CUP OF GOLD

3RD             THE KITCHENMECANIC

OPEN MAIDEN

1ST              ROUND ROBIN                                                MISS A BANKS                             9-2

2ND             FELTON BELLEVUE

3RD             DOVER THE MOON

Thanks to fellow PRO’s for their reports from

BERKS AND BUCKS DRAGHOUDS AT KINGSTON BLOUNT

It was a red-letter day, too, for Justin Brotherton, who rode his first-ever winner, on Accord in the Novice Riders’ Race, sponsored by Mark Goggin, over the shorter distance of two miles and five furlongs.

Accord had finished runner-up to Gabrial The Great in a Men’s Open over the same distance here last time after the winner had opened up a long lead, and the pattern looked as if it was going to be repeated when the smooth-jumping favourite went clear with a circuit to race.

However, Justin never let Gabrial The Great out of his sights, closed on the leader three out, and after he hit the front at the penultimate fence, the result was never in doubt. He went on to score by 20 lengths, with Breezy Kin running on from the rear to be a further ten lengths back in third.

The winner is owned and trained by professional trainer David Bridgwater, who admitted, “He’s my only horse for pointing and only my second-ever runner. In fact, I think that when I came here two weeks ago, it was the first time I’d ever been to a Point-to-Point! He lost his way under Rules,” said David when asked about the switch. “We thought we’d try something different, but we’ll probably go back to Rules racing now. Justin’s always wanted to ride a winner – that’ll make his life!” smiled David, who trains a string of about 30 at Icomb, Gloucestershire, and is best-known for Gold Cup-placed The Giant Bolster. “I just let him get on with it and he rode Accord slightly differently to last time. The horse jumps well and I thought he’d win.”

Justin, who works for David and is the son of Worcestershire trainer Roy, breathed a sigh of relief as he said, “It’s been a long time coming and it’s a great feeling. My ambition was to run well on my first ride back and win on my second! I learnt from last time not to let Gabrial The Great get away.”

Justin, 33, who had been placed four times from 14 starts between 2015 on 2017 on his only previous mount, Gold Duster, who he owned himself, explained the reasons for his absence from the saddle. “I moved house and changed jobs, but I always wanted to have another one to ride. Bridgy’s only had him in for seven weeks, he’s put a lot of work in, and I’ve learnt loads from him.”

The Pangbourne Asphalt Restricted was taken in fine style by James King and Waterloo Warrior, following up a Bredwardine Maiden success last Saturday.

Left in front sooner than the jockey would have liked, after Bluebell Sally fell at the final open ditch, he maintained his advantage and – despite a couple of slow jumps – was unchallenged to beat Sandygate by 20 lengths, with Mister Buddy a further two-and-a-quarter lengths back in third.

“His class got him home,” said winning trainer Jake Slatter of the seven-year-old, who was placed on multiple occasions for Colin Tizzard under Rules. “I was worried when he was left in front, but having the loose horse for company helped, and he travelled well, although he does like to have a look at his fences.”

Asked how he came by Waterloo Warrior, owned by his mother Angie, Jake – who trains at Toddington, near Cheltenham – explained, “A friend of Mum’s recommended him. I don’t think I’ve done a lot with him but he’ll have a good summer, with some fun rides and hunting to sharpen him up.” Jake admitted that it has been an up-and-down season, with two wins each for Waterloo Warrior and You’re The Man offset by the loss of stable star Bally River Boy.

Winning rider James King was moving on to 15 (including Hunter Chases) for the season and admitted to having a frustrating weekend. “I’ve had four seconds from six rides this weekend before this, so it was good to get off the mark. Waterloo Warrior still thought he was racing under Rules last time and today I didn’t know what to do when the leader fell, and tried to take a pull but wasn’t able to – however, his class got him home.” James currently works for Will Biddick in Somerset but is moving to Olly Murphy’s Stratford yard in the summer and hopes that a central base will give him more opportunities.

WEST SOMERSET VALE AT COTHELSTONE

Josh Newman secured his other winner on outsider Second Chapter for trainer Max Young in the first of the Maidens.

Max, who hails from Worcestershire, only acquired the four-year-old Arcadio gelding a month ago from Ireland and had done little with him bar feed him up, a point which was not missed by Spillers Feed Rep, Kay Scriven, who was there to congratulate her client.

The trainer is certainly developing a knack for acquiring Irish cast-offs via Tommy Dowling and turning them around quickly, having done similar with Aero Majestic at Kingston St Mary on Easter Monday.

A half-brother to Palmers Hill, who won in eye-catching fashion for JP McManus and Jonjo O’Neill at Cheltenham in November, he could now head to the Point-to-Point Sales at Ascot next week and could prove interesting.

Uppertown Hawk is a horse who has shown a liking for this course, and his sub-six-minute time showed he was in no mood for indicating otherwise. He had tried the same tactics under regular pilot Sam Jukes here last time but had bumped into an in-form Jack Snipe and had to settle for second-best.

Market rival Moscow Prices was another with course form and tried to throw down a challenge under Lucy Mager, but the telling early pace had probably been his undoing, and Uppertown Hawk held on by a little over two lengths. Sam, who also trains the horse for Clive Bennett, felt the fresh ground on the inside of the course was quicker, and kept his fast-ground-loving horse as tight to the rails as possible.

 

 

 

BATTLE FOR AWARDS WILL BE DECIDED AT CHADDESLEY ON MONDAY

After 11 meetings over 6 months the destiny of several Area Championships has still not been decided and this provides added interest when the Albrighton & Woodland (South) stage the final West Midland fixture at Chaddesley Corbett on Monday afternoon.

Early arrivals will be able to see the Hound Parade at 1 pm, while Hazel Hill the winner of this year’s Foxhunters Chase at the Cheltenham Festival and the Timico Final at the same venue a month later will be parading in the paddock at 1-30 pm.

The prestigious Dairy Products West Midlands Open Race Championship has been in Wishing and Hoping’s grip for a month or so, but victory for Diamond King in the Ladies Open will snatch the prize from his grasp.

The former has two victories to his credit but does not hold an entry at this meeting so that is the best he can achieve, while Diamond King has one victory and a third place so another success would tip the scales in the Worcestershire trained geldings’ favour.

The same race could also have a significant impact to the outcome of the Leading Horse Award. You’re the Man is the current leader but will do well to gain any points in the Mens Conditions.

There are numerous permutations but if his principal opponent Ballyboker Breeze finished second in the Ladies and You’re the Man failed to score any points it would end up in a tie, while success would see Jo Priests gelding pip his rival at the post.

There are 7 points separating Josephine Banks and Alice Stevens in the battle for the Ladies Title and with Banks partnering Diamond King and Stevens riding Ballyboker Breeze, this race will play a significant part in deciding the outcome of who becomes the Areas Leading Lady Rider.

Diamond King and Ballyboker Breeze both have to concede weight to their rivals and this complicates things even further.

Big Man Doe is an interesting contender and his chances have to be respected but like Celtic Silver both have alternative engagements over the weekend.

King Willie has shown a good level of form between the flags, but may just lack that vital turn of foot in the closing stages. Vasco du Mee ran no sort of race at Edgcote last weekend, while Well Mett could spring a surprise as he has done in the past.

Tb Broke Her has not been out since finishing fourth at Cheltenham but she is still in contention for the Mares Award and victory will provide crucial points towards that target.

Her best performance was at Monmouth Showground earlier in the season and if she is in that sort of form her rivals will struggle to catch her.

Two other contenders for the Mares title are competing in the Restricted earlier in the afternoon including Tb Broke Her’s stablemate R Bren. Sam Jukes has enjoyed another successful campaign and will be keen to finish off the West Midland season with a winner.

Jeans Lady still has a chance of winning the Mares Award but she has gone off the boil since winning at Paxford in April and others are preferred.

Behomebymidnight, Brass in Pocket and Diplomatico could cause a surprise, while Chief Sittingbull jumped well and easily outpointed a more fancied rival over course and distance a couple of week ago, whether he can repeat that feat in a bigger field is debateable.

Charles Brown jumping was a cause for concern earlier in the season but he got his act together at Dingley, but the old problems resurfaced at Edgcote last weekend, so you are taking a chance that he can go around without a mishap.

Waterloo Warrior nearly threw away a winning opportunity at Bredwardine but buckled down to quicken into the lead on the flat, so James King will need to keep his wits about him if the partnership hope to follow up in the Restricted.

The meeting opens with the Club Conditions where the experienced Mister Dix and Son of Suzie pit their wits against the likes of Aupcharlie and recent Bredwardine winner Galbally King.

Ballycahane, Carrig Dubh, Drumhart and Summer Sounds look a cut above the rest in this contest. Ballycahane has struggled to give weight to rivals for most of the season, while Summer Sounds was pulled up on his last outing, a blip on an otherwise progressive campaign and he is bound to go close if you forgive him that in digression.

Drumhart won over course and distance 12 months ago comes from a stable in form and just gets the nod.

Summer Sounds also has an alternative engagement in the Mens Conditions which has attracted 21 entries. These include Big Casino who finished 3rd over 4 miles at Cold Harbour, the improving Chase Me who has won his last 3 races, Hawkhurst and Gina Andrews who are always to be feared in these type of contests, Phil Rowleys Knight Bachelor who had his stamina limitations exposed when placed third at Knightwick, the Welsh Challenger Spencer Moon who is also entered at Lower Machen and the aforementioned You’re the Man.

Stone is rated a few pounds behind his rivals in this contest but there was much to like about his first run for 12 months behind Ballyboker Breeze at the last meeting and there is nothing of that quality in this race.

The 8 entries for the Mares Maiden are a moderate bunch and you could probably pick the winner out with a pin. Italian Symphony has been placed several times but this race could be right up her street and gives her a good chance of opening her account.

The Kitchenmecanic had reasonable form in Irish Point-to-Points but has subsequently joined Emma Moseley’s stable in Pembrokeshire. She has an alternative option at Lower Machen which is much closer to home.

The Open Maiden brings the curtain down on the West Midland season at 4-55 pm. Most of the runners have had plenty of chances already this year and have failed to trouble the judge, which is an indication of their ability.

It has been impossible to subdue Amadoue who needs to conserve his energy to stand any chance of seeing out the 3-mile trip, while Barefacedcheek and Beech Hill seem to lack the pace to get into contention.

Catwalk Frank and Dover the Moon always find one or two too good in the closing stages, while it will be interesting to see what Second Chapter is capable of following his recent move to Max Youngs yard at Droitwich.

Round Robin always gives you a good run for your money, but his supporters must be running out of patience as he has been placed 18 times from 24 appearances between the flags.

He generally forces the pace but his jumping has not been his strong point this year and a rethink in tactics may be required before he is successful.

Loodeen has got his act together over the last month but unfortunately has come up against some above average performers.

Crowbar from Ryan Potters Ross on Wye stable and Ready for War from Fran Nimmo’s Stratford on Avon yard look the pick of the bunch.

Neither of them have racecourse experience but are bound to have been schooled well by their respective connections.

Nimmo had a winner in a similar event last weekend and the yard do not fire many blanks so hopefully our season ends with a winner.

 

 

WATERLOO WARRIOR BATTLES BACK TO CLAIM VICTORY AT BREDWARDINE

The emergence of new talent is vital for any sport so it was good to see two young West Midland based trainers James Ridley and Jake Slatter advertising their skills during Saturdays Golden Valley meeting at Bredwardine and showing that hard work, patience and dedication does have its rewards.

Slatter’s talent has been self-evident this season with his handling of You’re the Man’s whose season did not get off to an auspicious start but has improved greatly in his subsequent runs.

The Toddington trainer proved he is “no one hit wonder” by striking at the first time of asking with Waterloo Warrior who had shown useful form under Rules for Colin Tizzard.

Jake Slatter

That was sufficient for the 7-year-old to be installed as favourite in the 6 strong field with James King content to let others cut out the donkey work during the early stages of the contest.

Benim and Sam Burton went to the front at the 6th and continued to set the pace until King and Waterloo Warrior moved into contention down the back straight.

Burton’s mount held a narrow lead around the final bend but weakened dramatically between the final two fences which left Charlie Dando and Loodeen to throw down their challenge approaching the last.

Off up the run in and Charlie Dando and Loodeen just have their head in front but moments later and Waterloo Warrior begins to fight back

The latter had a slender advantage at the final obstacle and looked set to consolidate his lead on the flat but Waterloo Warrior stuck his head out and rallied gamely with  these two brave horses battling it out up the run in before King’s mount eased clear in the closing stages to prevail by three quarters of a length.

The winner is owned by the trainer’s mother Angela who said afterwards “The horse didn’t like the dirt cover crossing or the last fence when he was in front but thankfully, he rallied close to the line.

She also revealed how the horse came into their care “We lost Bally River Boy at home during Cheltenham Festival week. We had a friend staying who was good friends with Garth and Anne Broome from Brocade Racing and they thought Waterloo Warrior might enjoy a change of scenery and the drop into Point-to-Pointing. The horse is 17.2 but is sensible to ride and Jake has done a brilliant job sweetening him up”.

James Ridley has been and still is still a very accomplished race rider but is now making a name for himself in the training ranks and the Kinnersley handler saddled Green Winter to win the Mens Open while Cashmoll was successful in the Mares and Fillies Maiden.

Four horses lined up for the Men’s Open but it turned out to be a real cracker with the favourite Now Ben attempting to concede 3 lbs to the ultra-consistent Green Winter.

Zac Baker set the pace but Alex Edwards was playing a waiting game until sending Now Ben to the front at the 9th and they dictated the second half of the race.

There was not much between the two horses down the back straight but Green Winter looked in trouble as Now Ben eased clear after the 17th. Zac Baker never gave up hope and was rewarded for his persistence when his mount began to reel in the leader approaching the last.

Now Ben and Alex Edwards are clear at the last, but Green Winter stamina then comes into play

Now Ben started up the run in with a 3-length advantage but Green Winter was now getting into full stride and managed to get his head in front just before the line to prevail by a short head.

The Ridley yard have been involved with several close finishes during the course of the season, some had fallen in their favour – others haven’t. This time they had cause for celebration.

James Ridley (nearside) is enjoying a very successful season

Green Winter has been a wonderful servant to Sarah Oliver and is a credit to the owner, the hard-working trainer and his partner Jess Short and all the other staff at their Worcestershire yard.

This was the 10th winner of the season for Ridley (a target set at the start of the season) and they added another to their tally when Cashmoll took the Jockey Club sponsored Mares and Fillies Maiden.

Katie Price’s Seb’s Sister took an early lead but was proving somewhat erratic. Bredwardine has a very sharp bend at the end of the home straight, a feature which has to be overcome but it proved too much for Seb’s Sister’s which left Fleury in the lead until Cashmoll took closer order with a circuit to go.

Zac Baker’s mount held a 3-length advantage at the 16th but was harried by Quite Remarkable over the final three fences and confirmed her superiority with a comfortable success.

The winner was purchased privately by Michael and Sarah Oliver after three runs in Ireland. She had shaped well when third to Showmetheway at Brampton Bryan and was giving Red Nika something to think about when falling at the last at Woodford.

Cashmoll – with owner Sarah Oliver, Jess Short, Zac Baker, Heather Ridley-Gaines and James Ridley

“We are still learning about her” stated the trainer afterwards “We probably made too much use of her at Brampton and she seems better coming from off the pace”.

Beni Light and Ben Jones adopted their customary front running tactics in the Restricted and Byron Moorcroft’s efforts to stay in touch on Diplomatico meant they had nothing left in reserve when they were passed by Charlie Dando and Brass in Pocket who claimed second place on the run in.

Beni Light leads Draft Pick at one of the early fences

Jones went onto to complete a double after Midnight Folie’s win in the Conditions where Lorna Brooke and King Willie faded in the last couple of furlongs after their earlier efforts to match strides with the favourite.

The Conditions field at halfway

It was a long journey up the Motorway for several local stables but the journey back would have flown by for Abbie Meyers and her partner Paddy Berkins, who are near neighbours of Jake Slatter at Toddington.

Vaillant Creek has been a good servant to his current yard and finally rewarded connections for their patience by claiming victory in the 9-year-old and upwards conditions race at Knutsford Races.

Admittedly his path was eased with the departure of The Clock O’Leary after which the Gloucestershire trained gelding had little difficulty coming home well clear of Royal Deal.

This was a first win and a first training success for Meyers and also a milestone first winner for 23-year-olds Berkins who works for Martin Keighley at Condicote.

Rendcomb trainer Max Comley suffered a couple of setbacks with Remarkable Man and Calvins Girl pulling up in the Conditions and Maiden Races, but gained compensation when Cloudy Joker prevailed in the Mixed Open.

Issy Marshalls mount had just failed to last home at Cold Harbour but adopting his customary front running role he proved too strong for Fair Exchange during the final half mile.

Later in the afternoon Caroline Robinson saddled the Albrighton & Woodland qualified Rules of War who just lasted home from Love Around in the Restricted.

Local representation was thin on the ground at Edgcote where Black Jack Rover and You’re the Man renewed their rivalry in the PPORA Novice Riders Final.

Supporters of the favourite soon knew their fate when Harry Homer pulled his mount up after a couple of fences while You’re the Man soon hit the front but like several horses at previous meetings ran out on the bend at the end of the home straight.

There was one local success following You Know the Story’s success in the Restricted. Gina Andrews set out to make all on Martin and Jane Wanless’s North Cotswold qualified mare. This kept her out of any trouble which is more than can be said of Velvet Cloud who fell at the fourth from home when in close contention while Tom Strawson was just beginning to make his move on Charles Brown when they were brought down at the same obstacle.

CHIEF SITTINGBULL AND SARAH BOWEN TRIUMPH AT CHADDESLEY

It is becoming increasingly difficult for smaller stables to be competitive as the sport has tilted away from them over the last decade. It requires a great deal of time, effort and commitment to try and match the exploits of the bigger yards, who have facilities their smaller rivals can only dream of.

For most of the time, it seems the small family establishments are tilting at windmills so it was refreshing to see Chief Sittingbull proving that it can be done by getting the better of his solitary opponent and odds on favourite Lilith in the 2-1/2 mile Maiden.

The 6-year-old had run under rules for Tony Carroll earlier in the year but is now in the care of the Worcestershire based Bowen family, with the family matriarch Sue responsible for the training while her daughter Sarah undertakes the jockey’s duties.

Sarah was keen to make use of her mounts experience against the Phil Rowley runner Lilith who was making her racecourse debut but was in receipt of a 21 lb allowance.

Despite the odds stacked against him Chief Sittingbull was more competent than his rival at the early obstacles and that put the favourite at an immediate disadvantage.

Bowen’s mount was 2-lengths clear on the final bend and it was immediately obvious that Lilith was struggling to stay in contention and Bowen only had to push her mount out with hands and heels to confirm their superiority on the flat.

Chief Sittingbull is well clear at the last – Sarah and Sue pick up the trophy

Having been out of luck in the second race, Rowley and jockey Alex Edwards teamed up to take the 3-mile Maiden with The Odissey.

The 4-runner race was immediately reduced to 3 when Mahler Hill departed at the 1st, and the race became a match when Dover the Moon went at halfway. Round Robin had adopted his customary front running tactics prior to that but a mistake at the open ditch soon put him on the back foot.

The Odissey began to drew clear climbing the final hill and increased his advantage in the closing stages which meant that Round Robin was placed for the 18th time.

Things have really turned around for Laverton trainer Emma Alvis in recent weeks and her winning run continued following Rye Cross’s success in the Mixed Open. Diamond King was installed as favourite and that support looked justified when he came through to dispute and then take the lead at halfway.

Phine Banks’s mount was then passed by Tjongejonge on the climb to the home turn and the outsider of the field was still in front approaching the penultimate.

Rye Cross (pink) still has ground to make up on Tjongjonge at the penultimate

Another shock result looked on the cards as James Martins mount led Rye Cross who had passed the weakening Diamond King early in the home straight but Sam Jukes produced Rye Cross to challenge at the last before inching away from his rival on the flat.

Still behind at the last but Sam Jukes got his mount up to win on the run in – yet another winner for Emma Alvis

The Dymock based rider then teamed up with Stone in the 10-year-old and over Conditions, where they faced a formidable rival in Ballyboker Breeze. These two had a significant advantage over their rivals down the back straight with Stone maintaining a 2-length gap until Zac Baker produced his mount to grab the lead between the final two fences.

Ballyboker Breeze’s connections in the winners enclosure

The 11-year-old was adding to his already impressive tally since he joined Jo Priests Holdfast stables near Upton on Severn at the start of the season.

Lucy Turner was content to let others cut out the donkey work during the first half of the Restricted but she moved Hott Lips closer to the action down the back straight.

Rules of War held a narrow advantage climbing the final hill but Lucy timed her run to perfection with her mount joining the leader at the last before going clear on the flat.

Lucy Turner (nearside) times her run to perfection on Hott Lips

This was another family affair with the winner carrying the colours Stratford on Avon based Richard Evans. The home bred mare is trained by his son Sam and was following up her success at Barbury earlier in the season.

A second career win for Hott LIps 

Novice Riders races are always extremely popular and competitive but bookmakers were having difficulty separating the two main protagonists Black Jack Rover and You’re the Man. Sam Canning set out to make all the running on You’re the Man but Harry Homer never let the winner out of his sights and came through to dispute the lead at the fourth from home.

You’re the Man made a valiant attempt to get back on terms in the straight but Black Jack Rover proved far too strong for his rival as they raced towards the judge.

RESTRICTED

1ST        HOTT LIPS                                MISS L TURNER              6-4

2ND       RULES OF WAR

3RD        DANNY’S STAR

2-1/2 MILE MAIDEN

1ST        CHIEF SITTINGBULL                   MISS S BOWEN               2-1

2ND       LILITH

NOVICE RIDERS

1ST        BLACK JACK ROVER                   H HOMER                      5-4

2ND       YOU’RE THE MAN

3RD        OUR SOX

MIXED OPEN

1ST        RYE CROSS                                S JUKES                        2-1

2ND       TJONGEJONGE

3RD        DIAMOND KING

CONDITIONS

1ST        BALLYBOKER BREEZE                             Z BAKER                       4-5

2ND       STONE

3RD        PORT MELON

3-MILE MAIDEN

1ST        THE ODISSEY                                         A EDWARDS                   1-3

2ND       ROUND ROBIN

 

 

 

 

 

 

CASTLE CHEETAH SCORES SURPRISE WIN AT COLD HARBOUR

Racing has the capacity to test the patience of all its participants due to its unpredictability as one minute the cards fall in your favour and the next, they don’t.

No matter how hard you try the winners prove elusive, but then for no apparent reason the tide turns and you can’t do anything wrong.

Emma Alvis has been the subject of this phenomenon recently as her Laverton yard struggled for success earlier in the season but since Jeans Lady scored at Paxford on Easter Monday she has sent out four winners from her last five runners.

Big Casino had been one of those successes and he made a quick reappearance in the 4-mile Open for the Crudwell Cup during the Radnor and West Herefordshire Point-to-Point at Cold Harbour on Sunday afternoon.

After harrying Mighty Leader for much of the contest, he began to beat a retreat over the final four fences which led the trainer to reflect “that the race came too soon after last week’s victory”.

Mighty Leader leads Ballyrath (blue) and Big Casino (red sleeves) at halfway in the Crudwell Cup

Having won the race on three previous occasions Zac Baker was exuding confidence on Green Winter but the favourite had to be niggled along to stay in touch going out onto the second circuit.

They began to make smooth progress down the back straight but still had work to do as Ballyrath and Huw Edwards applied pressure from the front. The partnership was poised to challenge when a mistake at the second from home halted their progress.

Ballyrath (blue) holds Green Winters challenge on the run in

This cost Green Winter ground at a crucial stage of the contest and he was always struggling to get back into contention from that point which allowed Ballyrath and Hugh Edwards to win by a length and three quarters with Big Casino 15-lengths back in third.

Having been out of luck in the big race Green Winters trainer James Ridley and jockey Zac Baker had the chance of redemption with Draft Pick in the 2-1/2 mile Restricted.

Master Hide and James Jeavons made the running for the first half of the contest, but Draft Pick was always in his shadow and took over pace making duties halfway down the back straight.

Alice Stevens and Castle Cheetah defied their odds as outsiders in the 6 strong field when they moved into a challenging position around the final bend. The favourite was still in command at the penultimate but had no response when Castle Cheetah swept past and surged into a clear lead on the flat.

Castle Cheetah (red crossbelts) prevails over Draft Pick (checked sleeves) and Get Rio in the Restricted

The 11-year-old runs in the colours of the Two Meadows Partnership which includes Alvis and North Cotswold stalwart Mike Rollett, who recalled afterwards that the last time these colours had been carried to victory was back in 1999.

Winning connections in the paddock

Emma’s initial response was “I was not expecting that. He was well at home and I know he jumps and stays and Alice really got him jumping. He broke a blood vessel at Siddington but I thought he might run into a place here”.

All concerned commended Alvis for her hard work with all the horses she has in her care, most of which she rides out at some time during the day. She later explained “The horses had niggling little problems earlier in the season but now everything seems to have fallen into place and they are finding their form”.

Winning trainer Emma Alvis and Alice Stevens at the presentation area

Max Young enjoyed a good start to the season but things have not progressed as expected since then but the show got back on the road following King Willie’s success in the Confined.

Julia Oakey’s 11-year-old was sent to the front from the start and although he was joined on a couple of occasions by at least one of his rivals, he was never passed and his jumping proved far better than the opposition.

Zac Baker and Buffalo Sabre moved into a challenging position racing through the poplars but that effort proved short lived and it was left to Phine Banks mount Thoonavola to throw down a big challenge over the final two fences.

King Willie and Lorna Brooke storm home in the Confined

The latter ran his best race for a long time and finished so strongly that he got to within three quarters of a length of the winner at the post, but unfortunately collapsed 50 yards after the line – a sad loss to his sporting connections.

The winning trainer later commented “He seem to enjoy being out in front and was very sharp at his fences”.

That victory provided the second leg of a double for Lorna Brooke which had been initiated earlier in the afternoon when her mother’s River Purple had made all the running in the two runner Members.

Rendcomb trainer Max Comley has made a big impression in a short time and one of his horses came close to causing a major surprise in the Ladies Open.

Cloudy Joker had been off the course for almost three years and started the outsider of the party, while 3 times winner Cheltenam de Vaige came in for heavy support.

Hannah Lewis’s mount looked the probable winner as they moved up smoothly along the back straight, while Midnight King was still in contention when falling at the third from home.

Cloudy Joker (grey) just fails to last home in the Ladies. The winner Chu Chu Percy is on the left

Cloudy Joker straightened up for the judge with a useful advantage but his long absence began to tell as he jumped right over the final two fences and was unable to withstand the strong late thrust by Alice Stevens on Chu Chu Percy.

Phil Rowley introduced racecourse debutant My Bobby Dazzler in the 3-mile Maiden, but he proved no match for the Welsh Raider Beni Light who had finished behind Fran Nimmo’s Switch Hitter at Maisemore.

That horse was subsequently sold for a huge sum at Tattersalls Cheltenham Sales and Beni Light advertised that horses’ credentials with a pillar to post victory.

Beni Light scorched home in the Maiden

Ben Jones’s mount was 10-lengths clear of their rivals after the first and then went further and further clear. They passed the line before the two remaining runners had negotiated the third from home, but My Bobby Dazzler had a good educational run and there will be better to come in the future.

Bradley Gibbs teamed up with Thomas Crown to take the 2-1/2 Mile Maiden. Tom Faulkner’s 5-year-old assumed command as the runners emerged from the poplar trees, and although they were pushed all the way up the home straight by Calvins Gal, they were able to keep that rival at bay over the final two fences.

West Midland qualified horses enjoyed a successful day at the Fernie’s Dingley meeting.

Pantxoa who had been distracted and refused in the North Cotswold Members regained the winning thread in the Novice Riders race at the Leicestershire course.

Jacob Pritchard Webb’s mount likes to race up with the pace and was given an enterprising ride by his young jockey who had sufficient reserves to see off the challenge of the favourite Minella Friend to prevail by a neck.

Martin and Jane Wanless train a majority of their horses but You Know the Story is the exception and is currently based with Tom and Gina Ellis. False Getaway began to weaken on the home turn and the Wanless’s youngster came through to pick up the pieces in the closing stages.

The Jack Wallace trained and Worcestershire qualified Charles Brown had fallen two out when looking as though they would open his account at Thorpe Lodge in April.

The 6-year-old had failed to compete in four previous outings so was nursed round for a majority of this contest but began to make up ground after the third from home, then came through to lead off the home turn and went on to score easily.

Local representation was thin on the ground for Mondays meeting but Jason Warner and Byron Moorcroft combined to take the Banwen Restricted at Llwyn Ddu with French Piece who was sent off the even money favourite.

Max Young had a busy but winning weekend, with Aero Majestic who had led for such a long way in the Restricted at Knightwick 7 days previously captured a similar event during the Cattistock meeting at Littlewindsor.

 

 

WHEATLAND MEETING PROVIDES OPPORTUNITY TO GAIN POINTS FOR AREA AWARDS

Just two meetings remain for West Midlands partnerships to enhance their prospects of winning one of the Areas prestigious Championships which are presented during the Annual Awards Evening at Cheltenham Racecourse on the 29th June.

It is good to see so many people and horses still in contention and any points accrued during Saturday’s Wheatland meeting at Chaddesley Corbett are liable to prove crucial at this stage of the season.

Drumhart and You’re the Man are both involved in the battle to become the Leading Horse and both hold entries in the Novice Riders event. Pat Tollit’s runner has been a model of consistency throughout the season and won over the course at the last meeting, while the Jake Slatter trained, You’re the Man had his limitations exposed at Paxford and this venue may not play to his strengths.

Black Jack Rover, Gabrial the Great and Storm Lantern all have their supporters, while Vaillant Creek and Son of Suzie are consistent at their level, but will they be able to raise their game.

Phil Rowley and Alex Edwards face major challenges in their bids to retain their respective National Championships and Rowley will do well to overhaul Alan Hill and Tom Ellis as the season draws to a close.

Edwards is better placed in his quest to retain the Riders Championships as he started the weekend with a narrow lead over main Title rival Will Biddick.

The Bridgnorth based duo will be hoping to add to their tally with Lilith in the 2-1/2 mile Open Maiden. The 4-year-old lacks racecourse experience and his standing in the stables pecking order is unknown but as one of his stablemates was beaten at Cold Harbour a question mark has to be placed over his chances.

The opposition includes Pass Rusher who hails from Fran Nimmo’s and Charlie Poste yard near Stratford on Avon. They purchased the youngster in Ireland last spring and turned down a substantial profit when the horse was reoffered for sale 5 months later. It remains to be seen if victory in this contest helps potential clients meet their evaluation.

Rowley has a second string to his bow in the shape of The Odissey but he has an alternative engagement in the 3-mile Maiden later in the afternoon.

The locally trained Chief Sittingbull has been running on the flat but had some experience over hurdles prior to that, while Courtly Love and Signed and Sealed might run into a place.

The Mixed Open is a good standard for this stage of the season with entries including Ballyboker Breeze who finished in the runners up spot in The Lady Dudley Cup. He has to shoulder an 8 lb penalty for successes earlier in the year and that may limit his chances. That same remark also applies to Diamond King who won the Ladies Open on the same card, but in a much slower time.

Rowley and Edwards rely on Knight Bachelor who had his stamina limitations exposed at Knightwick and will be much more comfortable over this shorter trip. Port Melon has won a couple of races in the North West, but faces his biggest test of the year.

Bishops Road caused a major upset at Cheltenham last Friday but prior to that you would not have given much for his chances as stamina has always been his strong point but that theory was blown out of the water at Prestbury Park.

Apple of Our Eye has been running under Rules for Charlie Longsden but comes from a long list of winners bred by Chris and Fran Marriott, while Chasforgold came back to form at Woodford and could be another winner for Emma Alvis.

Ballyboker Breeze and Drumhart both have easier engagements in the 10-year-old and over Conditions and if one of them runs that puts the opposition at a major disadvantage. Stone is an interesting runner as he has not been seen out since the Ledbury meeting in 2018. At his age he cannot avoid to give any fitness advantage away too younger rivals.

As stated previously The Odissey looks to hold a favourites chance in the 3-mile Maiden. He looks a progressive sort, but the same cannot be said about Round Robin who has been placed 15 times already in his career and will need all of the cards to fall into place for him to be successful.

Fran Nimmo’s Pinot Noir and Jack Wallace’s Mahler Hill do not have racecourse experience, but given his connections the former looks an obvious choice but Mahler Hill receives a stone from his rival and that could be the deciding factor.

BIG CASINO BEATS MORE FANCIED RIVALS AT KNIGHTWICK

Emma Alvis has saddled 17 runners in Point-to-Points this season and prior to last Monday none of them had won but during the last week things have turned around with Jeans Lady scoring at Paxford, Chasforgold tasting victory at Woodford on Saturday afternoon and less than 24 hours later Big Casino obliged in the Mixed Open at Knightwick.

A small but select field faced the starter including the 13-year-old who was having his first run for 15 months, but Zac Baker sent him to the front from the start of this 3-1/2 mile contest and they defied all efforts to catch them.

Garde Ville and the favourite Knight Bachelor moved into contention at the final open ditch but Alvis’s runner maintained his advantage at the third from home. Alex Edwards asked his mount for an effort approaching the penultimate and did get a response but Big Casino was reluctant to give up his lead and drew clear again approaching the last, with Garde Ville claiming the runners up spot in the final strides.

Big Casino and Zac Baker lead Knight Batchelor and Garde Ville at the last

The winner draws clear on the flat

The winner had good form under Rules for Nigel Twiston Davis, but now races in the colours of the trainer’s father Bertie.

This was the second leg of a double for Baker who is based with the horse’s previous trainer at Naunton, because earlier in the afternoon he had guided Chase Me to victory in the Restricted.

This became a two-horse race from a long way out with Aero Majestic doing his best to run the finish out of his rival.

Another winner for Baker on Chase Me in the Restricted

That proved unsuccessful as Chase Me passed the leader on the home bend but the runner up found hidden reserves to re-challenge approaching the 18th, but that effort was short lived and Chase Me stayed on readily to supplement his Bonvilston success

Winning owners Heather Ridley-Gaines and Helen Wood

The 8-year-old has helped propel Kinnersley trainer James Ridley to a record-breaking season. He said later “I thought they had gone off too fast when they were so far clear. Zac said he was looking round for company in the home straight and he probably made it look harder work than it was”.

When they were based in Worcestershire Mike and Zoe Hammond were strong supporters of local Point-to-Points, but the family has recently moved to East Anglia. That meant a long journey over from their Downham Market base but that was rewarded when Ronava fought back well in the closing stages of the Veteran and Novice Riders race.

Ronava led for the first circuit, but Lucy Hammond was then content to play second fiddle to Gabrial the Great who went on at halfway where the favourite Summer Sounds was already labouring.

Ronava re-passes Gabrial the Great at the last – Lucy Hammond makes a brilliant recovery – which earned her the Hanley Mills Novice Riders Award

Thomas Murray’s mount led turning back towards the judge but Lucy Hammond never gave up trying and seized their chance as the leader began to falter between the final two fences. They repassed the runner up approaching the last before storming clear on the run. Lucy in currently studying at the Royal Agricultural University in Cirencester.

“He came from our normal source in Ireland who has provided us with numerous winners in the past. It took us just over 3 hours to get here, but we wanted a flat track because he has not won over further than 2-1/2 miles in Ireland. He will probably go to Dr Richard Newland after the season for our son Charlie to ride under Rules” the winner owner and riders father Mike said later.

Charlie Dando and Carrig Dubh scored an impressive win in the Confined. Thoonavolla led until parting company with Abi Banks at the 10th and that allowed Wychwoods Brook to take charge.

Dandos mount began to close on the leader around the final bend and they had already gained control of the race when the runner up made a mistake which effectively ended his chances.

Carrig Dubh and Charlie Dando land the Confined

The jockey explained afterwards “He had a soft palate operation before the season. I thought I had him spot on for Didmarton but he ran disappointingly. He had the hood on but seemed to lose interested when passed at Bitterley so we took it off today. He picked the winner up nicely. He won’t run in a hood again”.

There has been much debate in Point-to-Pointing circles regarding weight allowances for young horses and the perceived threat from some stables regarding their monopolisation of certain types of races.

Results at this meeting gave hope to those smaller yards that are willing to take on the bigger battalions.

Fran Nimmo’s Feodora started an odds-on favourite for the Mares Race despite Robert Chugg’s home bred filly never having jumped a fence in public. The trainers record in these types of races is such that some punters are willing to make a leap of faith on their chances.

That policy has worked numerous times in the past, but on this occasion the cards fell in the bookies favour.

Cousin Rita was still in contention when she fell at the 9th, but prior to and after that Tinctoria and Lorna Brook made the running. During the early stages of the race Feodora’s jumping left much to be desired as she lost 5-lengths at some fences and more at others, but to her credit she was able to make up the lost ground on the flat.

Feodora was on level terms entering the home straight but a succession of mistakes over the last three fences finally put paid to her chances and given the ground she gave away at each obstacle she did well to get within three and a half lengths of the winner at the post.

Despite all the errors Feodora (left) was still in with a chance at the last, but jumping is the name of the game

Representatives from the Rowley yard (Flamboyant Joyaux) and Lacey stable (Flywork) clashed in the 3-mile Maiden, with the former installed as favourite after an eye catching run at Bangor, while the Lacey runner was making its racecourse debut.

Looden led for much of the journey with Flywork following in his hoof prints before Flamboyant Joyaux took over with a circuit to jump. Alex Edwards had the leader jumping beautifully down the back straight, and Flywork was the first to crack as he lost touch after the final open ditch.

Flamboyant Joyaux lands the odds under Alex Edwards in the last

Looden and Charlie Dando harried the leader all the way up the home straight but the favourite popped over the last to claim the prize for owner/trainer Phil Rowley.

Photo’s – Graham Fisher and Pete Mansell

Confined

1st                     Carrig Dubh                C Dando                                  5-4

2nd                   Wychwoods Brook

3rd                    Kyles Faith

Restricted

1st                     Chase Me                     Z Baker                                    5-4

2nd                   Aero Majestic

3rd                    Silver Louna

Veteran and Novice Riders

1st                     Ronava                        Miss L Hammond                    7-1

2nd                   Gabrial the Great

3rd                    Drumhart

Mixed Open

1st                     Big Casino                   Z Baker                                    7-2

2nd                   Garde Ville

3rd                    Knight Bachelor

Mares Maiden

1st                     Tinctoria                      Miss L Brooke                         3-1

2nd                   Feodora

(only two finished)

Open Maiden

1st                     Flamboyant Joyaux                  A Edwards                   8-11

2nd                   Loodeen

DOUBLES FOR JUKES AND O’BRIEN AT WOODFORD

This meeting illustrates the myriad of challenges facing Point-to-Point organising committees. Last weekend high temperatures resulted in capacity crowds, but that meant watering was required to produce good ground for this weeks meeting.

Having made all those efforts, they must be scratching their heads to find a reason why only 31 horses chose to participate, while the remnants of Storm Hannah impacted on attendance figures.

Alex Edwards has a clear lead in this year’s West Midlands Area Riders Championship so unless things change dramatically during the final weeks of the season, Sam Jukes, Tommie O’Brien and Zac Baker are left battling it out for minor honours.

All three added to their tally during Saturdays Berkeley Point-to-Point at Woodford, with Gloucestershire based Jukes and Herefordshire’s O’Brien both riding doubles to narrow the gap on Baker whose solitary win enabled him to retain second place in this year’s title race.

Jukes struck first after R Bren’s success in the Members. The 6-year-old mare got no further than the third fence on her previous outing, but prior to that had won a Maiden at Kingston Blount for Hillesley owner Peter Ponting and his son Joe.

She was subsequently purchased by Will Gaskins, who currently shares the ownership with his wife Diana and Lucy Houldey, who is Roger Guilding’s sister.

She was then placed in the care of their near neighbour Sam Jukes and the trainer/jockey had his mount anchored at the back of the field when they were impeded after Court in Flight unseated his rider at the third.

R Bren and Sam Jukes (nearside) and Model Cloud are inseperable at the last

Geoff Barfoot Saunt and Get Rhythm took over at the 7th and were still in front as they turned back towards home. They began beat a retreat soon afterwards, and there was little between R Bren and Model Cloud over the next couple of fences. R Bren put in a better jump at the final obstacle which allowed the mare to assert on the flat.

All smiles for winning connections after the mares success

Clive Bennett has been involved in Point-to-Point racing for 32 years but you get the impression that his horses recent run of form has been frustrating, with five second places since his last winner on 24th March.

That cycle was finally broken after Chasforgold and Sam Jukes came with a withering late run to snatch the spoils off the favourite Robin des People in the closing stages of the Mixed Open.

The season has also proved frustrating for Laverton trainer Emma Alvis who sent out her first winner of the season when Jeans Lady scored at Paxford on Monday afternoon. As often happens, once the dam has been broken further successes quickly follow and this proved the case with Chasforgold’s unexpected success.

The leader Robin des People is out of the picture as Brackloon High and Chasforgold jump the last, but Clive Bennetts runner finished strongly to win by a neck

The 10-year-olds form has been below par so far this season and despite it being a 5-runner field, the bookmakers seemed to have written off his chances.

With More for Luck unseating Connor Baker at halfway the 4 remaining runners alternated in the lead until Sarazen Bridge and Robin des People started to apply the pressure turning back towards home.

A good week for trainer Emma Alvis with Chasforgolds success at Woodford

The favourite began to draw clear at the 15th, but both Brackloon High and Chasforgold were now getting into full stride. Robin des People was still holding his advantage approaching the penultimate, but Brackloon High and Chasforgold stamina then came into play.

Chasforgold closed rapidly on the run in and the three horses were inseparable as they flashed past the post. The finish at Woodford is head on to the crowds so it is extremely difficult to accurately predict who has won.

Jukes had no doubts and rode into the winner’s enclosure with his confidence rewarded as the partnership were pronounced the winners by a neck with half a length between second and third.

Bennett was understandably delighted with this success. “The horse has not been running well this year, so this is a major surprise” while winning trainer Emma Alvis noted “he always seems to win on good ground”.

The Restricted produced a surprise result which were mainly due to the enterprising tactics employed by Zac Baker.

Bonanza Sam and Peter Mason started favourites on the strength of an impressive win in a 2-1/2 Maiden at the Monmouth whereas Stay Out of Court is more battle hardened although he has been difficult to win with.

Baker kicked his mount into the lead at the first and remained at the head of affairs for the remainder of the race, with these tactics aimed at exploiting any weaknesses in his rival’s stamina.

A bold front running display by Zac Baker and Stay out of Court proved successful in the Restricted

Stay Out of Court continued in front as they turned for home but Bonanza Sam and Master Hide both moved into challenging positions with the favourite poised to strike.

However, when Bonanza Sam was asked for his effort, the cupboard was bare and he began to slip out of contention and that allowed Stay Out of Court to score a clear-cut success for Westbury on Severn owner Alan Wintle and trainer Jane Broad.

Stay out of Court and the Wintle clan in the winners enclosure

Tommie O’Brien and Sophie Lacey’s Woolhope stable always strike fear into bookmakers’ hearts when they have runners in Maiden races, and did so again with Red Nika in the Open Maiden.

The 6 runner race became a match during the final half mile with O’Brien exuding confidence on Red Nika while Zac Baker had not given up hope on the James Ridley trained Cashmoll.

Red Nika seemed to be going better than his rival all the way up the home straight and began to ease clear between the final two fences, but Cashmoll fought back approaching the final obstacle and was just behind when he crumpled on landing at the last.

Red Nika just leads at the last from the partially hidden Cashmoll

The first leg of the O’Brien double was provided by the Welsh trained runner Dino Boy in the 2-1/2 mile Maiden. The winner looked to be struggling at one point, but once he hit the front, he was able to put clear water between himself and his rivals.

There was another winner for the Principality in the Novice Riders. The unconsidered outsider Orange Nassau harried William Money throughout the contest, until Tom Britten accepted the inevitable when their chance was gone.

Earlier in the afternoon, Britten had finished in the runners up spot on Toowoomba who was no match for his solitary rival and odds on favourite Spanish Fleet in the Conditions.

Pointingwm and all its readers will wish to pass on their congratulations to 6 time Champion Will Biddick who broke Richard Burtons previous record of 414 winners between the flags on Saturday afternoon. 

Photo’s – Graham Fisher and Pete Mansell

Members

1st       R Bren                     S Jukes                              10-11 fav

2nd      Model Cloud

3rd      Get Rhythm

2-1/2 mile Maiden

1st       Dino Boy                            T O’Brien                  6-4

2nd      Vics Vinnie

3rd      Signed and Sealed

Conditions

1st       Spanish Fleet                       D Cherriman             1-5 fav

2nd      Toowoomba

(only 2 finished)

Restricted

1st       Stay out of Court                           Z Baker                    5-4

2nd      Bonanza Sam

3rd      Prove Me Wrong

Mixed Open

1st       Chasforgold                        S Jukes                    9-1

2nd      Robin des People

3rd      Brackloon High

Novice Riders

1st       William Money                    J Tudor                    4-6

2nd      Orange Nassau

3rd      Premier Portrait

Open Maiden

1st       Red Nika                            T O’Brien                  8-15 fav

2nd      Mothers Rest

3rd      Here Comes Molly

INCREASE IN ENTRIES AT KNIGHTWICK

This new course created a favourable impression last year and the organisers must have despaired at the low entry after all their efforts, but a lot of hard work has gone on behind the scenes following recommendations after last year’s inaugural event and this has seen a significant increase in entries.

Garde Ville won the 3-1/2 mile Mixed Open last year and returns to the scene of that success in an attempt to claim the prize for a second time. He outclassed Big Georgie that day but has to give 3lb to his rival this weekend so that might even things up.

There are no doubt’s regarding How About It’s stamina as he went close to winning the Lord Ashton on Hyde Cup earlier in the year. John Smith Maxwell’s needs to time his run to perfection to stand a chance of prevailing but can land the spoils if he does so.

Knight Bachelor is an interesting contender. He had been off the course for some considerable time prior to winning over 2-1/2 miles at Brampton Bryan and it is interesting that Phil Rowley has no qualms about him staying a mile further on this occasion – who are we to disagree with him.

Rowley also has a couple of entries in the Mares Maiden, Blossoming Forth and I Will Follow Her. The latter does have racecourse experience having finished runner up to Equus Gold at the start of the season but the winner has not done anything to advertise that form since.

Blossoming Forth would not have to be a world beater to make a successful debut and it is not often that connections miss their target in these types of races.

Feodora carries the colours of Worcester breeder Robert Chugg. He has been associated with many useful performers in the past so it would not be a major surprise if he made a successful debut for trainer Fran Nimmo.

Herefordshire based Sophie Lacey had a winner at last year’s fixture and she has an interesting contender for the Open Maiden which closes proceedings at 4-55 pm.

Flywork cost connections a substantial sum at the Sales and will be hard to beat if his efforts reach the stables normal standards. Despite his age, he will have received plenty of schooling and it will take a good one to lower his colours.

Flamboyant Joyaux went down to a narrow defeat on his racecourse debut but that was fine effort and shows he will not flinch when it comes to a battle – these two look a cut above their rivals.

Carrig Dubh and Charlie Dando get the vote in the Confined. They were no match for Hawkhurst and Fly West at Bitterley but there is nothing of that quality in this race and he should prove too good for Beneficial Joe and Winter Breeze.

The Restricted provides the perfect opportunity for Silver Louna to regain the winning thread. She has the best form although Chase Me finally came good down in Wales last weekend and it may be an indication of his chances if connections opt for a quick turnaround.

Summer Sounds has the choice of several engagements over the weekend and the Veteran and Novice Riders looks one of the easier options. Premier Portrait and Gabrial the Great would have been the choice in the past but their form has not come up to standard so far this season, while Crowded Room may struggle for pace in the closing stages.

 

SOME USEFUL MAIDENS ENTERED AT WOODFORD

Berkeley Castle has been the scene of many battles throughout its long history, but nowadays the only ones that take place are in the adjoining water meadows at Woodford racecourse where the local Point-to-Point has taken place since 1946.

The Members race used to be monopolised by Dick Baimbridge but since his retirement the race has become less predictable and Saturday’s race looks as though it will fall into this category.

Ed Walker is no stranger to success at this meeting and this provides a good opportunity for Foxworthy who was unsuccessful under Rules in January to make a winning return to Point-to-Points.

The opposition does not look to have any strength in depth but in Foxworthy’s absence the race really does have an open look about it.

R Bren scored a hard-fought win at Kingston Blount and was subsequently sold to current connections but unfortunately their new charge failed to read the script as he was an early casualty for new trainer Sam Jukes at Maisemore.

Both R Bren and Foxworthy have alternative engagements in the Restricted but the opposition looks much stronger in this contest with recent winners Bonanza Sam, Diplomatico and Midnight Frensi in the field while Stay out of Court finished third in this event 12 months ago.

It has taken Midnight Frensi’s connections some time to sort out his health problems but since they have done so, his performances have improved rapidly so it may be worth taking a chance with him.

Fly West went down by the narrowest of margins on his last outing so after three minor placings deserves a change of luck; whether he gets it is another matter. Brackloon High, More than Luck, Ramble On are all lumbered with 4 lb penalties, while Premier Portrait looked as though he was coming back to form at Andoversford.

23 horses have been entered for the Open Maiden including two from Phil Rowley Flamboyant Joyaux and The Odissey. Both horses finished second on their racecourse debuts so may have the edge on experience over Sophie Lacey’s newcomer Red Nika. The latter’s stable has enjoyed success at this meeting in the past and several of them have gone on to mark their mark under Rules. All three of them receive the maximum weight allowances provided to 4-year-olds so Red Nika will need to win this impressively to justify last summer’s sales price.

Cashmoll, Dino Boy and High Coppice all have recent form between the flags and may win in time, but trying to concede weight to younger rivals may be beyond them at this stage of their careers.

The 4-5-6-year-old Maiden takes place over 2-1/2 miles and does not look as though it will take much winning. They all appear evenly matched and none of them could be backed with any confidence. Not at All has shown a semblance of form between the flags, while Sheldon Cooper has changed trainers on numerous occasions over the last couple of years and has been tried on the flat and over hurdles – that does not inspire confidence.

The finish of the Conditions could be fought out by three local horses, Too Scoops, Toowoomba and Vaillant Creek. Toowoomba’s connections won this race last year and will be keen to keep the silverware.

The Novice Riders has thrown together some interesting performers at this grade. Vivaldi Collonges is the highest rated horse but he was surprisingly beaten by the supposedly inferior Drumhart at Sandon and there did not appear to be any excuses for that defeat.

Summer Sounds has won four out of his last six races and is sure to give a good account of himself, while the Welsh raider William Money and Jack Tudor will be fancied to take the prize back over the Severn Crossing.