Category Archives: Reports

FOUR TIMER FOR MEL ROWLEY AT MAISEMORE

The trials and tribulations of running a Point-to-Point in the current Covid Crisis were clearly illustrated because less than 24 hours before the scheduled start time, agreement was finally reached with the Local Authority that allowed the meeting to go ahead but resulted in further restrictions being placed on Gloucester Races at Maisemore Park on Sunday morning.

Unfortunately, the removal of the Amber Zone for owners, no bookmakers and the restriction on the numbers attending to each horse, plus the absence of participants from Wales and Tier 2 or 3 areas meant there was a price to be paid.

Local Authority Environmental Health Officers and police were present to advise on compliance with these regulations while BHA Representatives were on hand to offer support in these difficult circumstances.

Everyone involved emerged with great credit for their persistence and hard work getting this event off the ground with the odds stacked against them.

Jockeys – socially distancing – and waiting to weigh out

Area Secretary Nickie Sheppard acted as Chief Covid Steward so it was appropriate that after all her hard work she had a winner at her home meeting.

Organised Solution faced nine rivals in the PPORA Club Members Intermediate, but Milo Herbert had no doubts about the 6-year-olds fitness as he was at the head of affairs from the start.

His jumping was far from foot perfect during the first half of this contest but they were still showing their rivals the way racing down the back straight for the final time.

They recovered from another mistake at the fourth from home but that allowed Gottagottagetaway and No Limitations to force themselves into contention and there was little between the three runners approaching the final obstacle.

Milo Herbert and Organised Solution on their way to victory

Herbert’s mount held a narrow lead and sealed victory with a better jump which meant he was quicker into his stride and able to withstand their renewed efforts on the flat.

“He is open to improvement as he would not have been suited by the course and needed the run so I was very impressed” stated the trainers husband Matt in the winner’s enclosure later. “He’s potentially he is one of the best horses we have trained and will look for an Open next and then possibly Hunter Chases. Milo gave him a cracking ride”.

The rest of the afternoon belonged to Morville trainer Mel Rowley and jockey Alex Edwards who landed four winners to add to their solitary success at Bishops Court the previous afternoon.

Their first and second winners of the day were provided by The Player Queen and The Wrekin in the two divisions of the Tattersalls Cheltenham sponsored two mile five furlong Maiden, which meant that added to their previous day’s success with Kyntara the stable has won all three qualifying races run so far this season.

The Player Queen made a couple of minor errors early on but gradually warmed to her task, but looked vulnerable approaching the fourth from home.

Ask the Lady was being challenged by Same Opinion when the Yorkshire trained raider fell at this obstacle, but The Player Queen then surged to the front and proved far too strong for the opposition in the home straight.

The Player Queen (red and white) and Another Nightcap fight out the finish

In his post race interview Edwards stated his mount “was a little bit green but was confident that if he kept the revs up his mount would respond”.

Mel Rowley is now the nominated trainer at their Morville yard as these and potential future winners will aid an application if or when a N.H. licence is sort.

The Wrekin was probably the more impressive of these two racecourse debutants. Mount Ros and The Wrekin cut out the donkey work but the former began to drop out when the leader was joined by Sonic Gold and Why Annie on the final bend.

Emma Yardley’s runner and The Wrekin started to gain the upper hand between the final two fences with Sonic Gold looking to be in command as they approached the last with a narrow lead.

Sonic Gold (near side) and The Wrekin are inseperable at the last

Neither horse did anything wrong but The Wrekin was just a fraction quicker away than his rival and that proved the difference between defeat and victory.

“That was good”, was Alex Edwards post race comment “his jumping was awesome, but he would have been better suited with more pace”.

Wishing and Hoping became Rowley’s third winner of the afternoon following his success in the Mixed Open.

Edwards was determined to make the running on this potential Foxhunters candidate but was harried throughout by Victoria Sollitt on Roc D’Aspis. The Kent raider Full Irish failed to show his true form, which resulted in the first two named runners being joined by Duhallow Tornado during the final half mile.

Wishing and Hoping fly the last with Roc D’Aspis and Duhallow Tornado vying for second spot

Wishing and Hoping held a narrow lead into the home straight but Roc D’Aspis was proving a hard nut to crack. Edwards’s mount found extra between the final two fences and put in another exorbitant leap at the last which put the issue beyond doubt.

Rowley’s final winner was provided by Latitude in the first division of the Point-to-Point Flat Race.

With three quarters of a mile to run, Jo O’Shea’s Willewonga and Edwards’s mount Latitude suddenly opened up a healthy lead and matched one another stride for stride on the home turn.

Straightening up for the judge Latitude finally began to assert as Willewonga’s earlier efforts began to take their toll and Rowley’s runner went onto record an effortless win.

Latitude and Alex Edwards storm to victory

Given the stables dominance of this meeting, if bookmakers had been allowed, Luke Sam must have started a short-priced favourite for Division II of the Point-to-Point Flat Race.

Any winnings accumulated in those earlier races would probably have ended up in the bookies satchels as the 4-year-old son of Excelebration could not match the pace of the leaders half a mile from home.

The West Country challenger Salvino shot into the lead with a couple of furlongs to run where long-time leader Madame Hannah struggled to retain second place. Luke Sam suddenly began to make inroads into the lead but the winner had gone beyond recall.

Locally qualified horses dominated the finish of the second division of the Oriental Club Owner/Trainer Conditions.

Will Worthington’s Vif Argent was held up by Chris Wald but improved rapidly to join the leaders going out onto their final circuit and was still calling the shots when he blundered and lost his place at the fourth from home.

He rallied around the final bend but his effort then petered out as Workbench and Way Back Then battled for supremacy. Workbench looked all over the winner between the final two fences, but Way Back Then was not going to be denied and got his head in front again approaching the last and showed great determination to retain his advantage on the flat.

Way Back Then and Evan David at the second last

The winner has proved “fragile” according to Mary Vesty who trains the winner on her father’s estate at Stowell Park. She also added “the first-time tongue tie has proved the making of him”.

The Conditions provided the biggest field of the day but they were all put firmly in their place by a fine front running performance from Emma Alvis’s Big Casino.

Zac Baker was content to bide his time before sending his mount to the front after a mile, after which the 14-year-old got into a good rhythm and met every fence on a perfect stride.

Going down the back straight Carter McKay, The Well Road and Ucello Conti were all making their bid for glory but as hard as they tried none of them was able to get the winner out of his comfort zone.

Big Casino provides Zac Baker with his first win of the season

The 14-year-old is one of two horses trained by Emma Alvis at Laverton near Broadway and for a horse of his age to retain his enthusiasm reflects well on the trainer who thought “he would need the run”.

The Slatter family from Toddington had a frustrating afternoon with the Angela Slatter trained Waterloo Warrior narrowly beaten in Division I of the Oriental Club Race, while Jake Slatter and Jim Collett’s pair I’m Wiser Now and Rose Iland both failed in the 6-year-old and upward Maiden.

Angela Slatter commented in our seasonal preview that Waterloo Warrior had missed some preparatory work due to her breaking her arm – that and the 6 lb concession to his rivals proved crucial in the closing stages.

Admittedly Waterloo Warrior looked ring rusty at several fences but was still in contention with four to jump. Silent Man and Sioned Whittle held a narrow advantage before they were passed by Golden Tobouggan at the second from home.

Silent Man and Waterloo Warrior both made significant efforts in the closing stages but the winner had claimed a crucial advantage at a vital stage of the race which allowed Julie Wadland’s runner to claim a well-deserved success.

Jim Collett and Jake Slatter ran two horses in the older Maiden and must have been harbouring hopes of success when I’m Wiser Now and Hannah Lewis moved into a challenging position down the back straight.

That horse’s stablemate Rose Illand and Winter Holiday had been battling for the lead up to that point, but I’m Wiser Now seemed to have taken their measure when he overjumped and tipped up at the fourth from home.

Winter Holiday moved past Rose Illand on the final turn and with that horse weakening quickly over the final two fences it was left to Barley Hill to claim the runner up spot.

The winner provided a first win for 26-year-old James Ward, who only took up the challenge of race riding after a few too many drinks with his partner Page Fuller.

 LEDBURY RESULTS

ORIENTAL CLUB OWNER/TRAINERS CONDITIONS – DIVISION I
1ST       GOLDEN TOBOUGGAN                   J ANDREWS
2ND      SILENT MAN                                      MISS S WHITTLE
3RD      WATERLOO WARRIOR                     J KING

ORIENTAL CLUB OWNER/TRAINERS CONDITIONS – DIVISION II
1ST       WAY BACK THEN                              E DAVID
2ND      WORKBENCH                                    M DODD
3RD      VIF DARGENT                                    C WALD

TATTERSALLS CHELTENHAM MAIDEN – DIVISION I
1ST       THE PLAYER QUEEN                         A EDWARDS
2ND      ANOTHER NIGHTCAP                      J KING
3RD      ASK THE LADY                                  J ANDREWS

TATTERSALLS CHELTENHAM MAIDEN – DIVISION II
1ST       THE WREKIN                                      A EDWARDS
2ND      SONIC GOLD                                     B GIBBS
3RD      MISTER MORETTI                              J KING

PPORA CLUB MEMBERS INTERMEDIATE
1ST       ORGANISED SOLUTION                  M HERBERT
2ND      GOTTAGOTTAGETAWAY                  MISS H LEWIS
3RD      NO LIMITATIONS                              B GIBBS

MIXED OPEN
1ST       WISHING AND HOPING                  A EDWARDS
2ND      ROC D’ASPIS                                     MRS V SOLLITT
3RD      DUHALLOW TORNADO                   MISS G ANDREWS

CONDITIONS
1ST       BIG CASINO                                       Z BAKER
2ND      CARTER MCKAY                                J ANDREWS
3RD      THE WELL ROAD                               MISS H LEWIS

6-YEAR-OLD AND OVER MAIDEN
1ST       WINTER HOLIDAY                            J WARD
2ND      BARLEY HILL                                      P MASON
3RD      ROSE ILLAND                                    J ANDREWS

FLAT RACE – DIVISION I
1ST       LATITUDE                                           A EDWARDS
2ND      WILLEWONGA                                  H EDWARDS
3RD      ROSE ABOVE IT                                 D PRITCHARD

FLAT RACE – DIVISION II
1ST       SALVINO                                            D ANDREWS
2ND      LUKE SAM                                          A EDWARDS
3RD      HIGHWAYBAY                                   J TEAL

NO BOOKMAKERS – NO SP’S

In contrast to Maisemore, Saturdays East Devon fixture at Bishops Court was plain sailing except for a minor blip with their live streaming at the start of the meeting.

Two West Midland qualified horses made the long journey down the M5 and both scored impressively with Kyntara hacking up in the 4 & 5-year-old Maiden, while Immy Robinson and Ryans Fancy took the Print Concerns Support the NHS Restricted.

Tommie O’Brien and Alice Stevens carried the flag for locally qualified riders with the former scoring on Sparkleandshine in the PPORA Conditions while Alice Stevens and Red Indian recorded a facile win in the Ladies.

Bruelay and Tip Top Mountain had been in front for a majority of the Maiden, but Mel Rowley’s runner (a first success since taking over from her husband Phil) began to make stealthy progress down the back straight and moved up onto the heels of the leaders just before the second last.

Alex Edwards mount surged clear after jumping that obstacle and sprinted clear to score in the style of a useful animal and looks worth considerably more than connections paid for him at Tattersalls Ireland last year.

The jockey was impressed with the horse’s performance and stated “it is nice to know the horses are in good form”.

The winner received a ringing endorsement from fellow trainer Charlie Poste who identified him as a potential star of the future.

Irish import Ryans Fancy proved far too strong for his rivals in the Restricted. Like Kyntara he had made the 4 hour plus journey down from Shropshire.

Immy Robinson was content to keep a watching brief on the favourite Thechaseison before passing that rival halfway down the back straight and sweeping into a clear lead.

Approaching two out Papal Present moved into contention but his challenge soon petered out and the winner was already well clear when Phil York’s mount departed at the last.

Brought by current connections at Doncaster last May, by Caroline Robinson “because I liked the look of him and he was not big money”, while her daughter Immy stated “He started to get lite up in the paddock so my instructions were to drop out and hunt him round, but when he saw daylight he went. We had some concerns about the ground but he just skipped through it”.

Tommie O’Brien and Sparkleandshine scored an effortless win in the PPORA Conditions. They led virtually throughout and drew well clear during the final half mile to provide Alan Hill with his first winner of the season.

The trainer reported that last seasons early curtailment had been a blessing in disguise for the winner who had benefited from time in the field.

Alice Stevens and Red Indian proved far too strong for their rivals in the Ladies. Sent on soon after halfway the winner went further and further clear and won impressively despite being eased down at the finish.

 

168 ENTRIES FOR MAISEMORE

Saturday’s East Devon fixture at Bishops Court and the Ledbury meeting at Maisemore Park less than 24 hours later will provide a blue print for the sport over the next six months.

Local advice has to be integrated into National Guidelines from a variety of sources to provide strict protocols with all the action taking place behind closed doors until further notice.

Maisemore Park has done best of the weekend meetings with 168 entries against 142 for the East Devon. The entry has been so large at the Gloucestershire venue that the Tattersalls Cheltenham Maiden and Flat race have been divided, which means a minimum of 9 races.

Conditions are currently good, with rain forecast for mid-week but course drainage should ensure there are no significant changes.

22 have been entered for the Mixed Open and a vast majority of those have a rating of 100 or over.

With Wishing and Hoping, Vivaldi Collonges, Ballykan and Ucello Conti all holding entries Mel Rowley seems to have a strong hand. The former was impressive when scoring three times in 2019/20 and this is the type of race, he needs to succeed in to put himself in the picture for the Foxhunters at the Cheltenham Festival.

Jatiluwih only defeat this side of the English Channel was when he finished eight in last years Pertemps Final. Owner David Maxwell is currently side-lined and it will be interesting to see who he picks as a replacement.

Marcle Ridge carries local hopes. Fitness will be a major factor because his customary front running tactics will expose any chinks in his armour although he has run well over this course in the past.

Wick Green won two races last year, but this is a top-class field and it is difficult to see him making an impact.

Emma Alvis’s Big Casino seems to run well in whatever company he keeps so it would not be surprising to see him claim a minor placing, while the chances of the Yorkshire challenger Duhallow Tornado have to be respected.

Ravished did well for trainer Joe O’Shea last year and he likes nothing better than turning over the favourite when he has the chance.

The Oriental Club Owner/Trainer Conditions races opens proceedings at 11 am. This series was nipped in the bud by Corona Virus after just one race at Didmarton last year but that was well supported and all the indications are this one will be as well.

Despite 24 possible opponents West Midland qualified horses look well placed to see off all challengers. Workbench has the top rating but Nick Pearce’s gelding provides experience to Novice Riders based with Nick Skelton in Warwickshire, and they face some battle-hardened opponents in this contest.

Silent Man finished 4-lengths second to Tuff Nano at Cothelstone in March and would go close with a repeat performance but that cannot be guaranteed, while Julie Wadland’s Golden Tobouggan recorded three seconds when last seen out and may have to continue that sequence.

Way Back Then will need to step up on his performance at Horseheath to offer any sort of challenge to the rest of the field but Waterloo Warrior won on his debut last year and has shown a better level of form than many of his rivals.

The first Division of the 2 mile 5 furlong Maiden sets the pattern for the rest of the season in these types of events, with horses from Fran Nimmo’s Stratford yard up against runners from Mel Rowleys stable at Morville and to add additional interest we have challengers from the West Country in the shape of runners from Jill Dennis and Chris Barber’s stables.

With very little form to go on, it is prudent to suggest the selections from Nimmo (Another Nightcap or Hooky Street) or Rowley (The Player Queen) as potential winners, while it will be interesting to see how Ask the Lady runs without an obstacle in front of her.

Division II sees another clash between Nimmo and Rowley with the former represented by Mister Moretti or San Fermin, while the Rowley’s rely on The Wrekin or Tikitov.

Samblucky carries the colours of well-known owner Derek Malam so his run will be watched with interest, while Sonic Gold represents Emma Yardley’s Point-to-Point yard at Caradoc now that her partner Ryan Potter is training under Rules.

Tom Ellis could do little wrong last year and when you add Why Annie to the list of participants, the winner is very difficult to identify.

Yardley has a good chance of taking the following PPORA Club Members Intermediate with No Limitations, who on form appears to have a few pounds in hand over some of his rivals.

Organised Solution did little wrong last year but may need an outing to get him fully race fit. Any runner from Alan Hill’s stable has to be respected but Captiva Island appears to have some ground to make up on the market leaders.

Voie Dans Voie and Golden Rebel both maintain a good level of form but Mr Snuffles scored three times last season beating some useful performers along the way and may be the key to this tricky looking contest.

I’m Wiser Now has had ten outings and been placed in nine of those but all of those races have been short of 3-miles. Sally Randell has taken charge of Jim Collett’s gelding and fences could be the making of him.

The Conditions includes several horses who are taking a step down the ladder from previous careers under National Hunt Rules. Buywise and Court Minstrel both had good form in that grade but unfortunately have struggled subsequently but would not be the first ones to be rejuvenated by the drop into Point-to-Points.

Rolling Dylan is another is this category who is aiming for a revival, while those with form between the flags include The Last but One, Workbench and Perfect Pirate.

Although trained in Yorkshire, Carter McKay does have local connections because the Qatar Racing Partnership is headed by Tweenhills Stud Supremo David Redvers, who is Chairman of the organising committee for this meeting.

28 entries have been received for the 6-year-old and upward Maiden and with a safety factor of 16, division is a possibility.

A Tipple or Two and Black Aphrodisiac both had good form in the past but have a long absence to overcome so are discounted for those reasons, while Golan Warrior was placed sixth in an Irish Point-to-Point but that does not look good enough in this company.

Mythical is owned by fellow PRO Jake Exelby and trainer Alan Hill but this may not be his day. Kilmoganny and Winter Holiday have their supporters but Jim Collett’s runners should prevail. Rose Iland finished second at Chaddesley last year, while I’m Wiser Now is so far clear on the ratings, he looks a shoe in for this contest but we all know it is never that simple.

Mel Rowley has two entries in Division I of the Flat Race. Malaita and Latitude. The latter is related to a winner and could be another in the long line of winners to carry the colours of Enville owner Diana Williams, with Jo O’Shea’s Williewonga likely to provide the biggest challenge.

Seven of the ten entries for Division II have yet to see the racecourse. Talk of a Storm, Salvino and Madame Hannah are the exceptions. The latter finished runner up in a similar event at Larkhill and looks the most likely winner.

REMEMBER – THIS MEETING IS RUN BEHIND CLOSED DOORS – LIVE STREAMED

FURTHER INFORMATION IN DUE COURSE

 

 

DOUBLE FOR TOMMIE O’BRIEN AT LARKHILL

With the Corona Virus hanging over the sport like the sword of Damocles plus a morning of heavy rain failed to deter enthusiasts who showed their stoicism in difficult circumstances to support the New Forest meeting at Larkhill on Sunday afternoon.

Anybody who has visited in Larkhill in similar conditions would have agreed with the sentiments voiced by one individual who suggested “The virus would never have survived in the wind and rain at Larkhill yesterday”.

Racegoers were treated to some exciting racing which saw Sophie Lacey introduce two potential stars of the future in Kaphumor and Grizzman with the latter looking the most impressive of the pair.

As is to be expected both had been prepared immaculately at the trainers Woolhope academy, jumping like season performers and benefitting from Tommie O’Brien’s assistance.

Kaphumor set the ball rolling in Division I of the Open Maiden. Surprisingly, the 4-year-old son of Kapgarde did not start favourite, this accolade passing to Robert Waley Cohens homebred Wykham.

Six horses were in a bunch with four to jump but the contest then turned into a straight fight between Lacey and the Waley Cohens over the remaining obstacles and there was little between the two horses around the final bend.

WYKHAM (ORANGE SLEEVES) JUST LEADS KAPHUMOR AT THE LAST

Wykham held a narrow lead at the last, but with an 18 lb weight concession in his favour Kaphumor eased 2-lengths clear of his rival on the flat. “He’s so immature but has so much ability and works nicely at home” were the trainers after race comments.

O’BRIEN PROVIDES CHARLIE BROOKES WITH A DEBRIEF AFTER THE RACE

The 2-1/2 mile Maiden saw the introduction of newcomers from the Nimmo, Lacey and Treadwell stables but the latter’s Risk D’Argent was an early casualty, which meant that representatives from the two big “selling” stables were left to fight out the finish.

After Maitree Express had weakened Grizzman’s (Sophie Lacey) mistake at the second from home provided Adjournment (Fran Nimmo) with a window of opportunity but the former recovered quickly and was able to hold his rivals challenge around the final bend.

GRIZZMAN (LEFT) AND ADJOURNMENT BATTLE IT OUT AT THE LAST

He was still in front at the last and held the renewed challenge of his rival in the final 25 yards, and on these performances both horses look to have a bright futures.

After a winner at Cothelstone the previous afternoon with Lilith Bridgnorth trainer Phil Rowley had to wait until the final race of the day to gain his reward at this meeting with Vivaldi Collonges and Ben Bromley made it two from two for the season with an emphatic win in the Novice Riders.

This partnership had been successful at Cottenham and had little difficulty justifying their short odds by drawing clear of their rivals over the final three fences and consolidating the riders position at the top of the Harley Racing PPORA Novice Riders Points Series.

VIVALDI COLLONGES AND BEN BROMLEY ARE WELL CLEAR AT THE LAST

Rowley’s stable jockey Alex Edwards endured a frustrating afternoon with the well fancied Fleur de Pommier pulling up in the Oriental Club Owner/Trainer Race, while Saquan had to settle for second place in Division II of the Open Maiden.

Tom Weston’s runner had unseated his rider when the saddle slipped on his racecourse debut at Chaddesley Corbett but for a long way in this contest it looked as though he would gain compensation.

Having raced wide throughout, Saquan led at the 15th and was maintaining his advantage over O’Faolains Boy until he showed signs of inexperience by wandering off the final bend. That allowed Tom Doggrell to sneak through on the inner and with the second continuing to hang up the run in the Weston representative was 2-lengths down at the line.

While her stablemate Big Georgie was finishing second to the Navanman at Buckfastleigh, Cashmoll ran a promising race to gain the runners up spot in the Restricted.

The mare had not been out since Bredwardine last May while for the favourite Voie Dans Voie this was a fourth outing of the season. It would be disrespectful to the winner to suggest this made any difference to the result because Sarah Oliver’s runner was outpaced as the favourite forged into a clear lead between the final two fences.

CASHMOLL CLEARS THE LAST TO CLAIM SECOND PLACE IN THE RESTRICTED

The Mares Maiden at Cothelstone on Saturday had to be divided but both halves of the race went to winners with West Midlands connections.

Division I went to Martin Oliver’s newcomer Scattercash who led in the last 100 yards to score for Tom Ellis and Gina Andrews, while Division II was won far more easily by the Phil Rowley trained and Alex Edwards ridden Lilith.

One of the biggest surprises of the day was provided by Thumb Stone Blues 16-1 success in the PPORA Conditions. The Jason Warner owned gelding was taken wide by Byron Moorcroft and those tactics proved successful as the partnership led at the fourth from home and stayed on strongly to withstand the challenges of their rivals over the final half mile.

THUMB STONE BLUES AND BYRON MOORCROFT ON THEIR WAY TO SUCCESS AT COTHELSTONE

With thanks to Alun Sedgemoor at Sporting Prints

Remainder of photos provided by Graham Fisher and Pete Mansell

 

ORIENTAL CLUB CONDITIONS
1ST       PTIT ZIG                                     W BIDDICK              4-6 FAV
2ND      ORDER IN COURT
3RD      COUNTRY LEGEND

OPEN MAIDEN – DIVISION I
1ST       KAPHUMOR                                 T O’BRIEN                3-1
2ND      WYKHAM
3RD      DAWN SURPRISE

OPEN MAIDEN – DIVISION II
1ST       O’FAOLAINS LAD                          T DOGGRELL            7-1
2ND      SAQUON
3RD      COTTON ROCK

MIXED OPEN
1ST       CAPTAINS BUCK                           A CHELEDA              6-4 FAV
2ND      AZURE FLY
3RD      CLOUDY JOKER

2-1/2 MILE MAIDEN
1ST       GRIZZMAN                                  T O’BRIEN                4-6 FAV
2ND      ADJOURNMENT
3RD      MAITREE EXPRESS

RESTRICTED
1ST       VOIE DANS VOIE                          W BIDDICK              7-4 FAV
2ND      CASHMOLL
3RD      FAB VINNIE

NOVICE RIDERS CONDITIONS
1ST       VIVALDI COLLONGES                     B BROMLEY              4-6 FAV
2ND      VICTARION
3RD      SPANISH ARCH

 

 

 

VASCO DU MEE WINS FIRST RACE IN ORIENTAL CLUB SERIES

With so many race meetings enduring quagmire like conditions over the last month, the use of the prefix GOOD in going reports has become redundant and the wet weather has led to multiple cancellations.

Didmarton has not been alone in coping with these problems but the organisers deserve great credit for producing good ground in very difficult circumstances, a view shared by connections of the 93 horses who participated over 8 races.

It is safe to say the going during Saturday’s Duke of Beaufort meeting would have been the envy of many N.H. courses, but less than 24 hours later the weather resumed its battle with the sport and that led to the last-minute abandonment of the Blackmore and Sparkford Vale fixture at Charlton Hawthorne.

The Oriental Club (which was founded as a London meeting point for officers and officials who had fought, travelled or traded in India and the East) is backing an innovative new series of Owner/Trainer races which has been designed to give opportunities to those at the grassroots of Point-to-Pointing, and this new initiative got off to a good start with 15 runners lining up to try and win the first race in the series.

As soon as details of The Oriental Club race were published Worcestershire owner Christine Banks decided this provided a window of opportunity for her old favourite Vasco du Mee and that assertion proved correct with the 11-year-old storming to victory.

Order in Court and Mister Robbo were battling for the lead as they disappeared into the dip with half a mile to run, whereas Vasco du Mee was still some way behind in 5th place.

The leading pair continued to pile on the pressure but Josephine Banks’s moved her mount up into a challenging position at the third from home and they continued to make relentless progress approaching the penultimate.

Vasco du Mee swept around the outside of the field on the final bend, took the last with a 3-length advantage which he maintained all the way to the post.

Vasco du Mee (blue colours) and Josephine Banks time their run to perfection as they catch Squirrel Esquire (purple sleeves) and Order in Court (green) on the final bend

The winner was carrying first time cheek pieces but Mrs Banks did not think this made any difference to his performance “He is what he is, He has ability, it’s getting him to show it that’s the problem. As soon as I saw this series of races in the planner, I thought they were tailor made for him”.

Josephine looks pleased with the prize which has been presented by Oriental Club Secretary Matthew Rivett

The Dando family have been trying to win the Members at this meeting for half a century and Saturday saw them finally achieve their objective of seeing their family colours carried to victory.

Charlie Dando adopted aggressive tactics on According to Harry who vied for the lead with Come on You and Dancing Dave during the first half of the race before the Little Sodbury based farrier sent his mount to the front with 6 fences to jump.

There was little between Dancing Dave, Handsome Sam and According to Harry at the penultimate but the latter began to gain the upper hand approaching the last. Fly West who had been anchored at the back of the field until local jockey Will Woodman decided to let off the handbrake with 4 fences to jump. They made up a significant amount of ground in the closing stages but According to Harry was always holding their challenge on the flat.

Charlie Dando and According to Harry (orange colours) lead on the final bend. Fly West (red colours) eventually finished second

Dando recalled “I saw him at Ascot and liked him but when he failed to find a buyer, I purchased him privately off Nicky Martin. My partner Brooke (Gardener-Wollen) deserves all the credit for this success. She does all the work with him and this is the first time I have sat on him”.

Brooke Gardener-Wollen and Charlie Dando are presented with their prizes

The Intermediate attracted 17 runners which included Getaway Flyer, Miss Massey, Organised Solution, No Limitations, Risky Gold and Teeton Surprise who all had winning form during the current season.

Dando made a bold attempt to land a pillar to post victory on Everbody’s Talkin but despite their best efforts the partnership failed to last home. Organised Solution was backed into favouritism and was still in a prominent position when making an uncharacteristic blunder at the 9th.

Everybody’s Talkin led turning back towards home but was being hotly pursued by Getaway Flyer, No Limitations and Miss Massey, while Miss Seagreen’s stamina was just beginning to kick in.

No Limitations took the lead between the final two fences but Sam Jukes knows his mare well and Miss Seagreen came through to grab a share of the lead as the straightened up for the judge and then held No Limitations renewed challenge on the downhill run to the finish.

No Limitations holds a healthy lead on the final bend but they were eventually caught and passed by Miss Seagreen (pink colours)

Asked if he was confident he was going to win Jukes replied “No. She hit the last fence at Chaddesley and that cost her the race, and approaching the last I thought the same thing could happen here so I gave her a kick and she jumped the fence perfectly.” Although future plans are still to be decided Opens or the Mares or Intermediate Finals at Cheltenham are potential objectives.

The mare and connections seem pleased with themselves

There was an air of disappointment when just 8 of the 34 entries meet their engagements in the PPORA Club Members Race but it produced an exciting finish. The Sally Randell trained Barney Dwan started favourite on the strength of his impressive win at Cocklebarrow but there was plenty of support for the Phil Rowley trained and Alex Edwards ridden Salvatore.

Templebraden was pulled up at the 9th when still in contention but by this time Barney Dwan and Sam Burton continued to set a searching pace and as they raced downhill with five to jump, they still held a narrow lead over Salvatore.

Salvatore (two shades of blue) and Alex Edwards ease clear of the favourite Barney Dwan in the PPORA Race

Tb Broke Her was struggling in third place at this point and the two market leaders then went stride for stride over the next two fences. Salvatore started to get the upper hand after two out but was harried all the way down the home straight before the favourite eventually conceded defeat.

The two riders involved in the close finish for the Novice Riders were a credit to their connections and neither deserved to be beaten.

Doc Carver and Rebecca Pugh came through to dispute the lead at the penultimate but no sooner had they done so Ben Bromley brought the favourite The Last but One with a well time run so the pair jumped the last in unison. That looked a race winning manoeuvre, but Miss Pugh refused to accept defeat and forced her mount back up in the shadows of the post to claim a narrow victory.

Doc Carver (purple and blue) just head Our Three Sons (inner), while Ben Bromley and The Last But One (outer) are beginning their effort

Ben Bromley receives the TCEH Novice Riders prize from Judith Healey. Rebecca had won this prize at the Albrighton & Woodland meeting

The Last But One’s owner Bloodstock Agent Tom Malone gained compensation later in the afternoon when Milanford benefitted from an enterprising rider from multiple champion Will Biddick.

The partnership led from flag fall but Biddick’s mount kept pulling out extra when challenged and Milanford was able to extend the advantage over his rivals in the home straight.

Various West Midland qualified horses set the pace in the Restricted with Round Robin, Natter Jack Croak and R Bren prominent for the first circuit, but all paid the price in the second half of the race.

Bradley Gibbs and the favourite Premier Magic were in 6th place at the top of the hill, but two fences later they had taken the lead and only Where’s Wilma was able to offer any sort of resistance in the closing stages. There was not much in it on the final bend but Premier Magic finally asserted on the flat.

Premier Magic (inner) and Bradley Gibbs are all out to hold Where’s Wilma on the final bend

The well supported Ahoy Senor was an early casualty in Division II of the Maiden, but the manner of Smoking Pigeons success suggest he would have had difficulty clinging onto the leader’s coat tails in the final half of the race.

Nick Phillips sent his mount to the front at the start of the second circuit and as they piled on the pressure their rivals dropped away at regular intervals. Smoking Pigeons had the race in his pocket a long way from home and scored an impressive victory despite being eased down on the run in.

Smoking Pigeon and Nick Phillips make amends for their early departure at Larkhill last week

RESULTS

MEMBERS

1ST          ACCORDING TO HARRY                                 C DANDO                            2-1

2ND         FLY WEST

3RD         DANCING DAVE

INTERMEDIATE

1ST          MISS SEAGREEN                                             S JUKES                              3-1

2ND         NO LIMITATIONS

3RD         MISS MASSEY

PPORA CLUB MEMBERS CONDITIONS

1ST          SALVATORE                                                     A EDWARDS                      6-4

2ND         BARNEY DWAN

3RD         TB BROKE HER

NOVICE RIDERS

1ST          DOC CARVER                                                   MISS R PUGH                     7-2

2ND         THE LAST BUT ONE

3RD         OUR THREE SONS

ORIENTAL CLUB OWNERS/TRAINERS CONDITIONS

1ST          VASCO DU MEE                                                MISS J BANKS                    8-1

2ND         KINGS CROSS

3RD         SQUIRREL ESQUIRE

RESTRICTED

1ST          PREMIER MAGIC                                             B GIBBS                              5-2

2ND         WHERE’S WILMA

3RD         PHOENIX PARK

MAIDEN – DIVISION I

1ST          MILANFORD                                                    W BIDDICK                         7-4

2ND         FAWSLEY SPIRIT

3RD         LARGY MOUNTAIN

MAIDEN – DIVISION II

1ST          SMOKING PIGEON                                          N PHILLIPS                        5-1

2ND         STEVAN STEEL

3RD         BUSINESSMAN

 

DIDMARTON ATTRACTS THE WEEKENDS LARGEST ENTRY

The loss of so many meetings over the last month has made it impossible for anyone involved in the sport to make any concrete plans, but with conditions predicted to improve as the week progresses, Saturday could see the return to something approaching normality.

The Duke of Beaufort Point-to-Point at Didmarton always attracts a large and knowledgeable crowd, some attracted to the racing, while for others it is part of the local social calendar.

All of them will need to brace themselves for a long day as the Beaufort Races are combined with a Country Fair that promises to be a great day out for all the family, with Pony and Point-to-Point Racing, A Fun Dog Show, Bucking Bronco, Children’s Entertainment, Trade Stands as well as the normal Food and Bar outlets.

The wet weather has resulted in many meetings being abandoned due to waterlogged ground and that has resulted in many trainers having horses to run but nowhere to run them. Didmarton is well equipped to handle most conditions and now things are improving it is not surprising this meeting has attracted the weekends largest entry of 186 horses.

Both the PPORA Club Members Conditions with 34 entries and a safety factor of 20 and the Open Maiden which has 46 entries and a limit of 18 have the potential to divide, but with the last race scheduled for 4-10 pm, there should be sufficient time to fit in two more races before darkness falls if that is required.

The odds must be high on Charlie Dando landing the Members because his Little Sodbury stable holds six of the thirteen entries (According to Harry, Brass in Pocket, Everybody’s Talkin, Kit Barry, Loodeen and Ravensdale) so it will be interesting to see which horse the rider thinks provides him with the best chance of landing the prize.

Will Biddick’s mount Overland Flyer has to concede lumps of weight to his rivals and has a question mark hanging over him after being pulled up on his last two outings.

Dancing Dave was prominent for a long way behind No Limitations at Badbury Rings a couple of weeks ago but still has something to find on form, whereas Fly West and William Woodman are just starting to gel as seen by their recent effort during the Countryside Alliance meeting in Dorset. The jockey will need to keep his wits about him as it is vital to get a good position on the home bend as that enhances your chances of victory.

The 26 entries for the Intermediate include Benefaktor who has already won a Maiden and Restricted for Tom Ellis but there are some battle-hardened runners in this race and that will test him to the limit.

Risky Gold won at Cocklebarrow prior to finishing third behind Miss Seagreen at Chaddesley, and her second place to Chameron earlier in the season looks even better after that horse took the prestigious Coronation Cup at Larkhill on Saturday afternoon. These two hold a fitness advantage over Monbeg Oscar who beat Miss Seagreen at Bitterley last season.

Getaway Flyer showed great tenacity to win at the Albrighton & Woodland meeting but unfortunately the runner up has not franked the form since, while Teeton Surprise caught the eye with an impressive win at Larkhill.

Journey Juice, Miss Massey, No Limitations, Order in Court and Normofthenorth will all make their presence felt, but Miss Seagreen has most to fear from the Nickie Sheppard trained Organised Solution who continued his upward progression with an impressive win in a Badbury Rings Restricted.

The PPORA Club Members Conditions has attracted a first-class entry with 25 of the 34 entries having a rating of 100 or over.

Dubai Quest is one of those but will need to improve further despite victories in an Restricted and Intermediate as this is a significant step up in class, against Azure Fly (successful at Cocklebarrow), Purple N’Gold (the winner of his last five races in 2019), and prolific winners The Last but One and Tuff Nano.

Ballyboker Breeze was beaten by Salvatore at Chaddesley but the latter had the edge on fitness that day so it will be interesting to see who comes out on top in this race. Organised Solution has a similar profile to Dubai Quest, while Hawkhurst is gradually coming back to form after some early season disappointments.

Mister Robbo has a course success to his credit, while Templebraden beat Cheltenham Foxhunters hopeful Marcle Ridge at Maisemore last season which puts him onto the short list.

Barney Dwan’s success in the Heythrop Ladies has resulted in a high rating. There was a lot to like about his performance that day and he is obviously a high-class performer but will need to be with another stone on his back and with more challenging opponents than he faced at Cocklebarrow.

Shometheway and Tb Broke Her have the mare’s allowance in their favour and that could come in useful in a close finish.

Vivaldi Collonges is taken to follow up last year’s course victory in the Novice Riders and on the strength of his victory over stablemate Now Ben at Cottenham, he should be able to cope with a 5 lb penalty.

Doc Carver showed great spirit to win at Chaddesley and that will stand him in good stead against Azure Fly for whom this is an alternative objective.

Kaki De La Pree was impressive when winning at Ffos Llas but got too far behind when a well beaten fourth at Bangor. Little Windmill has faced an interrupted campaign since finishing runner up at Barbury Racecourse and he has a capable jockey in Sam Brown.

The Oriental Club Owner-Trainer Conditions looks an open contest and that could provide an interesting result with so many of the runners evenly matched. Crown of Thorns and According to Harry should get the better of Cadeau George, Kings Cross, Master Hide and Order in Court, but that may still not carry them to victory.

Mister Robbo will be looking to follow up last year’s course success, but it is possible that Vasco du Mee could provide the solution to a tricky contest. The 11-year-old had good form in the past and was with the leaders until weakening from 3 out at Horseheath last month. He springs a surprise at least once a season and Saturday could be that day.

Black Jasper looks one of the most progressive horses in the Restricted, but he has other options closer to his Warwickshire base over the weekend. Byzantium Lad looked in trouble when departing at Brocklesby Park, while Dramatic Pause has not been out since pulling up down in Wales in December.

Pomme De Nuit comes from Fran and Chris Marriotts “Apple” dynasty and there was much to like about her winning performance at Cocklebarrow, while Premier Magic could go one better than his recent second at Milbourne St Andrew. Round Robin’s supporters always know they will get a good run for their money, but it is difficult to see him adding to his winning tally.

Grand National winning jockey Liam Treadwell who retired in 2018, could have his first runner between the flags as his stable hold three entries in the concluding Maiden.

Asterix The Gaul, Grooveur and Risk D’Argent are all 4-year-olds and so will get the maximum weight allowance from the rest of the runners, but their ability is as yet unproven, although it is good to see a retired jockey putting their experience to good use.

Annie Flower and Black Aphrodisiac have racecourse experience but this is in flat races and it could be that a fence in front of them could be more of a hindrance than a help.

The chances of Fran Nimmo’s runners in these types of events always have to be respected and she has the choice between the un-raced Cohen or Imperial Hill (2nd on his only outing) or the more experience Kilrane Road. She also has Vamanos who made the short journey over from Olly Murphy’s yard.

The Tom Weston owned and trained Iron Port is making his racecourse debut so is best watched while Restless Brian is well related but is another who will benefit from the experience.

That same remark applies to the Ryan Potter trained Sonic Gold, Tom Ellis’s Storm Tiger and Phil Rowley’s True Glory while To Be Sure has finished second in a 2-1/2 mile Maiden and connections obviously have no worries over his stamina as this race is another half mile.

Hello Fellas has obviously shown previous connections plenty of ability, as he has started favourite on several occasions under Rules. He was an odds-on favourite when unseating at the first when last seen out in 2018 so Cotswold trainer Sally Randell will have succeeded where others have failed if he manages to get his head in front.

LONG JOURNEYS PAY OFF WITH SUCCESSES AT BADBURY RINGS

With the loss of meetings in adjoining areas and with other venues further afield suffering the same fate, there was a mini invasion of West Midland horses during the Countryside Alliance meeting at Badbury Rings on Sunday afternoon.

This part of Dorset has fared much better than a majority of the country where very soft ground has been prevalent since the start of the season, so visiting trainers and jockeys were full of admiration for course conditions.

Despite journeys of up to 4 hours from their West Midland bases there was a high turnout of runners from our area and their endeavours were rewarded as they took a lion’s share of the spoils.

The Herbert family made a wise decision to team up with Eastnor trainer Nicky Sheppard when their son Milo started race riding, and Ballycahane provided them with never to be forgotten memories.

His subsequent sale meant that replacements needed to be sourced and both have fulfilled expectations. Like Ballycahane, Organised Solution started off with Arthur Moore, but has improved with every race since joining Sheppard, finishing fourth at Larkhill, second at Bangor before finally opening his account at Chaddesley Corbett. Their other acquisition Risk and Roll won a Leicester Hunter Chase recently.

Despite these strong credentials Chris Barber’s Thechaseison headed the market for Division I of the Restricted, but after figuring prominently for most of the contest, the favourite could not match his rivals exploits in the closing stages.

Thechaseison led running racing downhill for the first time and set a strong pace until harried by The Dartmoor Rose, Queens Legacy and Organised Solution on the home turn.

Organised Solution emerged from the pack and these two had a tremendous battle before Milo Herbert’s mount forged into the lead approaching the last and out stayed his rival on the run to the judge.

Organised Solution (left) and Milo Herbert storm clear of Thechaseison on the climb to the winning post

“He ran over hurdles for Arthur Moore so is race wise and battle hardened. We came down here for the ground and I must say it is in amazing condition. Milo gave the horse a good ride and is spending a year with Tom George during his gap year”, stated the winning trainer who was having her first runner at the course.

The Herbert family in the winners enclosure

Organised Solution is qualified with the Ledbury as was the winner of Division II of the Restricted No Limitations.

Lorna Vaughan’s 9-year-old finished third at Thorpe earlier in the season, but Bradley Gibbs was content to keep a watching brief as Charlie Papa Lima and Dancing Dave battled for the lead.

The pace quickened with a mile to run and half the field were still in contention as they lined up for the four fences in the home straight.

Taken by Force had his head in front at this point but was being challenged by No Limitations and Dancing Dave. Bradley Gibbs had been hard at work for some time but his efforts were rewarded as his mount came through to dispute the lead at the penultimate.

No Limitations (blue and yellow) seems to be posing for the camera as he heads for the last

The partnership held a clear advantage at the last, but Gibb’s needed to be at his strongest to ensure his mount held the renewed challenges of his rivals on the flat.

Alex Edwards enjoyed a successful afternoon but the same could not be said of Will Biddick who aggravated a recent injury in the first race and gave up the rest of his rides.

Edwards and trainer Phil Rowley were paying their first visits to the Dorset venue and landed a double which started with Undisputed’s success in Division I of the Conditions. The mare had scored convincingly at Cottenham on the opening day of the season but still had a bit to do as Dr Rhythm led the field back towards the judge.

These two battled it out in the home straight but the mare’s cause was hampered by her tendency to jump right, so the result was in doubt until she went into a clear lead on the run in.

Undisputed (Pink sleeves) provides Alex Edwards with a winner on his first visit to Badbury Rings

The winning trainer was another to complement the organisers on the state of the ground. “It is a 4-hour journey from Bridgnorth but we have been searching for better ground and trying to find the right race for her”.

Just over an hour later and Rowley was back in the winner’s enclosure following Champagne Lillys emphatic victory in the Mens Open.

The mare had lost her unbeaten record when falling at Cottenham and this was her first race in this elevated company.

Prominent throughout she came through to dispute the lead with four to jump. Three Faces West renewed his efforts approaching the penultimate but was fighting a losing battle over the final two fences and was 10-lengths adrift as they passed the post.

The grey Champagne Lilly lands the Mens Open

Sandwiched between those two winners Edwards hopes of a treble were thwarted by Byron Moorcroft on the Mikey Bowen trained Curious Carlos in Division II of the Conditions.

The 11-year-old had travelled from Bowens stable in West Wales and took the race by the scruff of the neck in the home straight. Edwards mount Sixteen Letters gradually whittled away at leaders advantage and it looked as though their persistence had paid off when they got to the favourites girths at the last, but Curious Carlos battled back to win by a head.

One that got away as Sixteen Letters (blue and yellow) can’t get past Curious Carlos on the flat

West Midland based combinations looked to have good chances in the Novice Riders, with Little Windmill (Sam Brown), Minerfortyniner (Ben Sutton) and Workbench (Murray Dodds) all figuring prominently in the betting. All three were in contention on the final turn but were found wanting in the home straight.

Master Dancer and Fergus Gillard hit the front with three to jump. Will Woodman and Fly West had been making steady progress throughout the final mile but were unable to sustain their efforts and had to give up the unequal struggle on the flat.

Master Baker started favourite for the Skinners sponsored Ladies Open and judging by the early pace it was evident the opposition wanted to make it a true test of stamina, with Sonneofpresenting and Tom Barton setting a searching pace.

They were still vying for the lead passing the trees at the far end of the course, but Master Baker slowly crept into contention before Sonneofpresenting got rid of his rider with three to jump. Zamparelli looked to have a chance with half a mile to run but his effort petered out although he did best of the West Midland runners.

Terry Selby who produced the much anticipated Point-to-Point Annual during the 1980s & 1990’s was presented with a special prize to mark his close association with Badbury Rings in various capacities including as a Judge

As mentioned in previous reports, our jockeys are in demand all over the country with both James King and Tommie O’Bryan making the long journey to Charing for the South East Club meeting.

King was the only one to score teaming up with the Fran Nimmo trained Kenyan Cowboy to land a 3-length success in the 2-1/2 mile Maiden with O’Brien placed third on Cydercourt.

That jockey fortunes did not improve in the Retraining of Horses Conditions where Kelvingrove went down by a head in a very close finish, while the ex-Mary Vesty trained Darius Des Bois scored a one and a half length victory in the Ladies Open for his new connections.

Alice Stevens travelled over to the Waveney Harriers meeting at Higham where she steered Laser Beam to victory in the Members.

The previous week the Brocklesby defied the weather to hold their Point-to-Point where the Mares Maiden saw the Sophie Lacey trained Gold Clermont score a 3-length victory.

That horse and his stablemate Velasco made their way to Tattersalls Cheltenham Sales last Friday both unfortunately for their connections neither horse sold, with Gold Clermont led out when the bidding closed at £28,000, while Velasco failed to sell at £95,000. Recent Chaddesley Corbett winner Glory and Honour was another who returned home as bidding for him finished at £58,000.

 

BADBURY RINGS RESULTS

CONDITIONS – DIVISION I
1ST          UNDISPUTED                                            A EDWARDS                               6-4
2ND        DR RHYTHM
3RD        ROC D’ASPIS

CONDITIONS – DIVISION II
1ST          CURIOUS CARLOS                                 B MOORCROFT                        5-1
2ND        SIXTEEN LETTERS
3RD        ITS ALL OR NOTHING

MENS OPEN
1ST          CHAMPAGNE LILLY                              A EDWARDS                               7-4
2ND        THREE FACES WEST
3RD        GOODTHYNEAWAY

NOVICE RIDERS

1ST          MASTER DANCER                                  F GILLARD                                   3-1
2ND        FLY WEST
3RD        RED RISING

LADIES OPEN
1ST          MASTER BAKER                                      MRS J SUPPLE                            15-8
2ND        TOM BARTON
3RD        ZAMPARELLI

RESTRICTED – DIVISION I
1ST          ORGANISED SOLUTION                     M HERBERT                                9-4
2ND        THECHASEISON
3RD        QUEENS LEGACY

RESTRICTED – DIVISION II
1ST          NO LIMITATIONS                                   B GIBBS                                           4-1
2ND        TAKEN BY FORCE
3RD        BRASS IN POCKET

MAIDEN
1ST          REVELS HILL                                             F PROCTOR                                6-1
2ND        DAWN SUNRISE
3RD        BAIGNARD

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