Category Archives: Reports

WISHING AND HOPING LANDS THE DUDLEY CUP

Wishing and Hoping proved a class above his rivals with an emphatic win in the Pinfields Marketing sponsored Lady Dudley Cup at Chaddesley Corbett on Saturday afternoon.

The warm weather proved a magnet for a massive crowd with a long queue of cars lining the surrounding roads in the build up to the first race.

With a multitude of meetings over the holiday weekend, some fixtures had to contend with multiple walkovers, but over 50% of the entries at this meeting met their engagements which provided the capacity crowd with some interesting contests.

Five runners lined up for the big race, with the Phil Rowley trained Wishing and Hoping attracting plenty of support along with Templebraden and Ballyboker Breeze. The supporters of Shotavodka hardly got a run for their money with Heidi Brookshaw’s runner falling at the second.

Templebraden’s jumping gave his supporters cause for concern from the start, whereas the favourite never put a foot wrong, met every fence on a perfect stride and this put his rivals at an immediate disadvantage.

Zac Baker had to give his mount some stern reminders as they entered their final circuit, but this did not have the desired effect and they soon started to lose touch and were eventually pulled up half a mile from home.

Ballyboker Breeze was hanging onto the leader’s coat tails down the back straight but the favourite began to ease clear climbing the final hill and extended his advantage down the home straight.

Wishing and Hoping and Alex Edwards clear the last with the big race in their pocket

The winner stormed clear to win by 25-lengths in the second fastest time recorded in this race since changes were made to the course back in 1974 – it was also 16 seconds faster than the Ladies.

The winner on his way to be cooled down at the bottom of the hill

Alex Edwards is no stranger to success having won this race in 2013 & 2017 said afterwards “It’s fantastic to win this big race, we have some lovely horses and great owners. The horse came to us from Alan King where he had lost his way and confidence after several falls”.

Trish Andrews, Alex Edwards, Michaela Tallett and Peter Andrews in the winners enclosure

Winning trainer Phil Rowley agreed “He had confidence issues with his jumping but that is 2 wins from 2 runs for us. We are so happy for Peter and Trish Andrews who have been so patient with him. He is now showing the class we thought he had”.

The Andrews pick up the Dudley Cup for the second time

This win is another feather in the cap for Bridgnorth based Rowley who won the Cheltenham Foxhunters in March with Hazel Hill. He and Edwards went on to complete a double following The Grey Scholars success in the Maiden.

Amadoue led until passed at halfway while Miss Nigtengale was third when she fell soon afterwards. The Grey Scholar had taken control at this point although Equus Dreamer did try and make a race of it in the second half of the race, but he lost touch with the leader up the final hill and The Grey Scholar strolled home for an easy success.

The Grey Scholar is not tidy at the last, but the race is already won

Purchased at Goff’s Landrover Sales last summer, the 4-year-old was making his racecourse debut and did so in impressive fashion.

Hindlip trainer Martin Weston teamed up with Worcestershire rider Phine Banks to take the Members with Vasco du Mee and the Skinners Pet Food sponsored Ladies Open with Diamond King, the first double in Miss Banks riding career.

The winners of the first three races all carried the familiar blue and cerise hoop colours so long associated with this meeting. They belong to the Tollit dynasty from Himbleton, which include the redoubtable Pat Tollit one of the best lady riders of her generation back in the 1950’s, her daughters Katherine Smith Maxwell, Angela Rucker and Christine Banks and the latters two daughters Josephine and Abigail.

Stamina is in Vasco du Mee’s DNA so he set out to make every post a winning one in the Members and that policy paid dividends as his rivals soon started to struggle.

King Willie was the only one within hailing distance during the final half mile but even he had to throw in the towel as the leader kept up his relentless gallop in the home straight.

Vasco du Mee and Phine Banks on their way to victory in the Members – who is that well known West Midland owner in the background?

The Northern challenger Foxrock set the pace for the first half of the Ladies but Diamond King got a good run through on the inner into the back straight and never relinquished the lead from that point.

Foxrock began to drop off the pace with four to jump while Chu Chu Percy efforts petered out up the final hill. Moscow Prices looked dangerous but was fighting a losing battle when an error at the last put paid to his chances.

Diamond King leads Moscow Prices at the last. Josephine and Christine Banks pick up their prizes

Drumhart and Liam Harrison provided Mrs Tollit with a win in the Novice Riders. Lauren Poole and Primo Rossi hit the front with a circuit to go but could never establish a clear advantage and were caught by the winner with three fences to jump.

Drumhart and Liam Harrison win the Novice Riders 

Josephine Banks, Charlie Morris, Liam Harrison, Pat Tollit, Theressa Morris of sponsors Treehouse Sporting Colours, Abigail Banks

PHOTO’S – GRAHAM FISHER AND PETE MANSELL

Members

1st       Vasco du Mee                   Miss J Banks            11-4

2nd      King Willie

3rd      Mirs Choice

Novice Riders

1st       Drumhart                          L Harrrison              Evens

2nd      Primo Rossi

3rd      Global Power

Ladies Open

1st       Diamond King                   Miss J Banks            5-4

2nd      Moscow Prices

3rd      Foxrock

Mens Open

1st       Wishing and Hoping          A Edwards               6-4

2nd      Ballyboker Breeze

(Only 2 finished)

Conditions

1st       Sam Cavallaro                   B Carver                  2-1

2nd      Hafajay

3rd      Vaillant Creek

Restricted

1st       Lucarno Express                S Waley Cohen        11-8

2nd      Caliente

(only 2 finished)

Maiden

1st       The Grey Scholar               A Edwards               4-5

2nd      Equus Dream

(only 2 finished)

Leanne Williamson picks up her Novice Riders prize from Maisemore Park 7 days previously

James Ridley may have been out of luck with Templebraden in the big race at Chaddesley Corbett, but enjoyed better luck when Chase Me finally opened his account in the Maiden Race at Bonvilston.

NORTH COTSWOLD PREVIEW

 

Queen Olivia has been competing at a much higher level than the opposition in the Members Race which opens the North Cotswold Point-to-Point on Monday afternoon.

Torrential rain caused the last-minute cancellation of last years meeting but the opposite is true 12 months later as the current dry spell is expected to continue over the holiday weekend.

Broadway trainer “Tor” Collins has found winners difficult to come by since moving over from Ludlow in the summer, but this looks a perfect opportunity for her stable to get back to winning ways.

Martin and Jane Wanless’s Big Man Doe or Monetaire are expected to give the mare most to do, but they will be hampered by 7lb penalties, while Queen Olivia benefits from the 5 lb mares allowance and that has to make all the difference.

Creepy and Llancillo Lord both ran at Maisemore last weekend and the latter looked useful sort after turning the Maiden into a procession. Red Inca gave his best performance for some time at Bitterley recently but that was over 2-1/2 miles and this trip might test his stamina.

Pantxoa is a confirmed front runner but he can often throw in one careless jump and that has caused problems for Jacob Pritchard Webb in the past so he will need to keep his wits about him.

Queen Olivia has an alternative engagement in the Mixed Open but the opposition is much stronger to that she is likely to encounter in the Members.

They include the penalised Ardkilly Witness, Brackloon High and Green Winter and with regular pilot Zac Baker lining up other potential rides at this meeting this could be the latter’s chosen objective. His form is consistently high but it remains to be seen if he can concede weight to Chasforgold and Premier Portrait.

Both horses have struggled this year, but the latter showed signs of a revival at Andoversford and could upset some of his more fancied rivals.

George Daly had his first ride on Dandan at the Cotswold so expect a bold showing from them in the Novice Riders. This could be an interesting tactical contest if You’re the Man attempts his third win in the space of three weeks.

Sam Canning gets the best out of Jake Slatter’s 7-year-old and the sight of these two taking one another on would itself be worthy of the entrance fee. Call Me Vic’s win at Maisemore indicates he has a chance so the winner must come from this trio.

Behomebymidnight and Singinthevalleys represent Sam Evans Stratford on Avon yard in the Restricted. Both are just out of Maiden class and may struggle at the next grade, but that same remark does not apply to Buffalo Sabre who has put in some good performance in recent weeks.

No Limitations was let down by his jumping at Maisemore and that problem could limit future progression, while Black Frost was impressive when winning at Bredwardine last season and seems to flourish at this time of year.

The latter’s trainer James Ridley could also take the Maiden with Cashmoll who was prominent for a long way at Brampton Bryan and should be able to build on that experience, while Amadoue has no chance of lasting home the way he races.

Lilys Got Wings looks the one for the Mares race, whilst the 10-year-old and upwards Conditions throws up some difficult questions but ones that could be resolved by How About It.

 

WORCESTERSHIRE PREVIEW

The Worcestershire Point-to-Point has always been held on the third Saturday in April, but this year that coincides with the Easter Holiday period and with 19 fixtures scheduled for the holiday weekend that was bound to impact on the number of entries.

The Lady Dudley Cup has been in existence since 1897 and is one of the sports holy grails as far as owners/trainers and riders are concerned, but with the plethora of meetings providing easy pickings you cannot blame connections if they choose to follow this option, so the entries for the big race have a parochial feel about them.

Ballyboker Breeze did not have a hard race when winning at Bitterley last weekend so connections may deem it worthwhile to make the most of this opportunity, and on current form it will take a good one to lower his colours.

Captain Von Trappe blotted his copybook at Monmouth after winning at Bangor a couple of weeks earlier so that has to put a question mark over his chances. Drumhart is a consistent sort but it’s doubtful if he is capable of taking a race of this quality and that remark also applies to How About It who scored at Andoversford.

Mister Robbo bids to take the prize back to Wales and has a good chance of doing so as he has not been out of the frame in four outings, while Rye Cross has struggled to capture last season’s form and with several near misses over the last couple of weeks, the stable will be hoping the cards will soon fall in their favour.

Shotavodka has the highest rating and will be difficult to peg back if taking an early lead but Templebraden and Wishing and Hoping look to have better chances than most. The latter won over the course in February and anything that Phil Rowley runs has to be respected, but lack of a recent run could prove crucial in the closing stages.

Templebraden on the other hand put in one of his best performances by beating Marcle Ridge at Maisemore. He does have a tendency to hit flat spots in his races but Zac Baker is a master of his craft and will know when to press the right buttons.

The Skinners Pet Foot Ladies Open could see the reappearance of the highly rated Diamond King who was beaten by Dabinett Moon at Mollington recently.

The Banks family have been strong supporters of this meeting for a number of years, but face opposition from her mother Pat Tollit’s Well Mett who collared Tb Broke Her in the closing stages of a similar race at Andoversford.

Will Gaskins mare will be fancied to turn the tables on this occasion, while the Northern challenger Foxrock looks a big danger and will give the locals plenty to think about.

It’s an odds on certainty that the winners of the Members will carry blue and cerise hoop colours as five of the seven entries come from different branches of the Tollit family with whom these colours are associated with.

These include Captain Von Trappe, Monbeg Oscar, Round Robin, Vasco du Mee and Well Mett against the outsiders Mirs Choice and King Willie.

The Restricted looks a very tricky contest as most of the entries have shown a similar level of form. Lucarno Express is one of these but should be able to get the better of Rules of War and Midnight Harry.

Clive Bennett’s Shometheway is on an upward progression and there was much to like about her win at Brampton Bryan. The owner is well on his way to recording a century of winners between the flags and a win her would put that within his grasp.

Fran Nimmo and Charlie Poste have a couple of entries in the Maiden including Courtandbould who has finished in the runners up berth twice so is due a change in fortune, while newcomer Hereditary Rule who is an unknown quantity as far as punters are concerned.

Chase Me and Round Robin have similar profiles, both seem to run well but have difficulty getting their heads in front and history may repeat itself in this race. Equus Dreamer has also been knocking on the door so would not be winning out of turn.

Local trainer Max Young relies on Miss Nightingale who could come up against Rowley’s runner The Grey Scholar. It will be an interesting race if the Nimmo and Rowley stables choose to take one another on.

 

FIRST WINNER FOR LEANNE WILLIAMSON AT MAISEMORE PARK

The Cotswold Vale Farmers meeting return to Maisemore Park produced some competitive racing.

Race planning was adjusted many years ago to provide opportunities for the less experienced rider. That was a welcome initiative at the time, although there is now a more balanced programme for them throughout the season, but this fixture continues to attract good support.

21-year-old Leanne Williamson had cause for celebration after Itstimeforapint had provided the young rider with her first victory after 8 rides. Williamson hails from Scotland but is now based at Nigel Twiston Davies yard in Naunton and the partnership have caught the eye on several occasions this season.

The Ladies Open became a match after La Modonnina hit the fifth and ejected Abigail Lewis from the saddle. Bankhall and Itstimeforapint matched strides for the remainder of the contest but the favourite’s jumping was much slicker than his rival and Bankhall was being nudged along as they raced towards the third from home.

Leanne Williamson and Itstimeforapint stretch clear of Bankhall on the run to the line

Inexperience can tell at vital times in a race, but Williamson kept her composure before driving her mount clear between the final two fences and asserting their superiority on the flat.

Winning connections pick up their trophy

Sam Canning and You’re the Man had outjumped and outgalloped their rivals when storming to victory at Andoversford recently, and proved that was no flash in the pan by repeating the feat against more experienced rivals in the Restricted.

Prove Me Wrong was an early casualty but You’re the Man had already set out his stall. No Limitations had won at the previous meeting but his jumping lacked any fluency and errors cost him vital ground at crucial stages of the contest.

He began to lose touch with four fences to jump but You’re the Mana was making the best of his way home whereas the favourite Stay Out of Court was having difficulty maintaining contact. Canning’s mount put in two superb jumps over the final two obstacles and that sealed their rivals’ fate.

You’re the Man proves he is by galloping his rivals in the ground in the Restricted

Winning trainer Jake Slatter commented afterward “I almost gave up after his early performances, but I always thought he had something about him but he was not showing it on the racecourse. I just train him out of the field and it seems to work. He also gets on well with Sam who has got him jumping”.

Owner Nigel Jackson must be getting used to picking up the silverware – the second in a week for You’re the Man

Calmsden based rider Albi Tufnell had ridden his first winner at Andoversford 7 days previously so was full of confidence as Call Me Vic lined up for the Conditions.

Creepy set a strong pace and still held the lead with half a mile to run but was then passed by Ballycahane who looked set for victory rounding the final bend. Tufnell thought otherwise and challenged approaching the penultimate before drawing clear on the run to the judge.

Call Me Vice and Albi Tufnell are clear of Ballycahane at the last

Ryan Potter had been out of luck with Kilmacallogue Bay earlier in the afternoon but the tide turned in the concluding Maiden. Golden Doyen and Take the Mick paid the penalty for their enterprising tactics earlier in the race and were joined by Valliant Creek at halfway.

These three were still in the driving seat racing down the back straight but the favourite Llancillo Lord was poised on their heels and waiting to pounce.

Llancillo Lord leaves his rivals flat footed in the Maiden

Vaillant Creek made a crucial mistake at the 15th and that meant he struggled to get back into contention. The favourite had the race in his pocket in the home straight and came home unchallenged.

Fran Nimmo and Charlie Poste split their resources between Edgcote and Maisemore and the latter was chosen for the racecourse debut of Switch Hitter.

The bookies were taking no chances with this 4-year-old son of Scorpion who started favourite albeit against some moderate rivals.

Beni Light and Ben Jones made their intentions clear from the start and the opposition were soon having a difficult task keeping up with them.

Tommie O’Brien had settled Switch Hitter in mid-field and was giving the youngster a perfect racecourse introduction before moving into a challenging position with four fences to jump.

They closed quickly around the final bend, passed their toiling rival in the home straight and despite showing signs of greenness had far too much class for the opposition.

Switch Hitter and Tommie O’Brien romp home

The winner was brought at Tattersalls Sales last May and is sure to have increased his value after this victory.

Charlie Poste receives his trophy from sponsor Sam Drinkwater – a familiar face on the Point-to-Point circuit a few years ago

Meeting Secretary Jason Warner saddled several runners, but his efforts went un-rewarded although Mister Dick did fill the runners up spot in the Members.

Jason Warner presenting Tania Taylor with a small token of the Area’s appreciation for all her hard work whilst she was Area Secretary

The Brookthorpe based owner had enjoyed more luck during the Llangeinor Pentrych meeting at Pyle 24 hours earlier.

Warner has made several visits to the Principality already this season and his association with Byron Moorcroft has already born fruit. French Piece was taken to the front from the start and that proved a wise decision as several of his opponents fell by the wayside.

A loose horse threatened them on several occasions, but conflict was avoided and the 5-year-old won easily. Previously with David Bridgwater the winner had not shown much form for the Cotswold handler and had been last of 14 at Huntingdon in early January.

Summer Sounds had been beaten at Andoversford but regained the winning thread for Alice Stevens in the Bicester Members at Edgcote to record his fourth win of the season for Joint Owners Graham and David Fisher.

Summer Sounds gets back to winning way at Edgcote

Zoe and Mike Hammond marathon 350 mile round trip from their Abberley base to Fakenham proved worthwhile when their daughter Lucy steered Ronava to victory in the Conditions which allowed the young rider to record her second success between the flags.

Martin and Jane Wanless took 4 runners to the South Wold fixture at Revesby Park and came away with an unusual hattrick. Monetaire took the Ladies Open, Big Man Doe the Mens equivelant while Kyles Faither won the Conditions. Their other run Lake Balaton finish runner up in the Intermediate.

However those three successes came via two walkovers, while Big Man Doe faced just one solitary rival.

It is a record many people will be happy not to see repeated.

 

Results

Members

1st        Jungle Legend                          M Barber                     4-6 fav

2nd       Mister Dick

3rd        Spanish Arch

Maiden

1st        Switch Hitter                           T O’Brien                    5-4 fav

2nd       Beni Light

3rd        Schiap Hill

Conditions

1st        Call Me Vic                              A Tufnell                     9-2

2nd       Ballycahance

3rd        Minella Friend

Ladies Open

1st        Itstimeforapint                         Miss L Williamson       4-6 fav

2nd       Bankhall

(only 2 finished)

Mens Open

1st        Teeton Kato                            J Tudor                        6-4 fav

2nd       Black Jack Rover

3rd        Distime

Restricted

1st        You’re the Man                        S Canning                    11-4

2nd       Stay out of Court

(only 2 finished)

8 plus Conditions

1st        Llancillo Lord                          J Tudor                        6-4

2nd       Vaillant Creek

3rd        El Lobo

Jo Priest has unearthed a star judging by Ballyboker Breeze’s performance at Bitterley on Saturday afternoon.

The 11-year-old had reasonable form under rules and went into many peoples notebooks after beating Rye Cross at Maisemore two weeks ago, although that was in a Members over 3 miles whilst Saturdays Mixed Open was half a mile shorter.

Uppertown Hawk adopted his customary front running tactics but Ballyboker Breeze was in close attendance while Murray Mount went up to share the lead at the 13th.

Baker made a forward move on the favourite at the 4th from home and that tactic proved successful as the opposition were struggling to reduce the deficit around the final bend. The leader extended his advantage over the final two fences and stormed up the run in for an easy success, with Uppertown Hawk running his usual honest race by snatching second place off Red Inca in the shadows of the post.

Ballyboker Breeze sprints up the run in to claim the Mixed Open – winning connections afterwards

Baker was heard to say later “I gave him a squeeze at the last hoping for a long one, but he said no I’ll just pop it.”

The experienced judging team at Bitterley had to preside over several close finishes especially the Restricted and Conditions. These types of results are always contentious and whilst everybody is entitled to their opinion, the judge is the only person who makes the decision and their verdicts must be respected.

Buffalo Sabre and Miss Seagreen led the field until halfway but Clive Bennetts mare had to be scrubbed along to stay in touch going out onto their final circuit.

Will Biddick and Ed Walker’s promising youngster St Barts moved up to challenge Monbeg Oscar and Buffalo Sabre who were vying for the lead until the latter made a mistake at the 12th. That caused him to forfeit the lead but he was soon back on an even keel and disputing the lead entering the final half mile.

Miss Seagreen started to rally at this point and thrust her way back into contention approaching the last but Alex Edwards and Monbeg Oscar had a 2-length advantage which they were keen to maintain. Miss Seagreen was putting in her best work at the finish and began to claw her way back into contention but Monbeg Oscar held on to gain the verdict by a short head.

Monbeg Oscar (blue) and Miss Seagreen (pink) fight out the finish of the Restricted

The winner of an Irish Point-to-Point he failed to match those efforts while racing under Rules for Evan Williams so joined the Ruckers Worcestershire stable and ran well in defeat at Brafield on the Green.

Alex Edwards and owner Angela Rucker (left)

John Smith Maxwell is enjoying a fine season and added another winner to his CV after Buck Magic’s hard-fought win in the Members.

Galbally King attempted to make every post a winning one but the tank was empty when Buck Magic swept passed him between the final two fences. Smith Maxwell had nursed his mount throughout the entire contest due to his tendency to jump right and he did so again at the last.

Buck Magic and John Smith Maxwell return after their win in the Members

The owner/trainer/jockey said immediately after the race “That’s it – he’s been retired as he owes us nothing” following his mounts last first success back in 2016.

Will Biddick was seen at his best on Bletchley Castle who romped to an easy victory in the Confined, while racegoers were treated to the sight of Gina Andrews and Biddick going head to head in the closing stages of the conditions.

Both jockeys are set to break some long standing record in the coming weeks. Andrews did so the following day when riding her 42nd  winner of the season and passing Polly Curling’s record for a Lady Rider set back in 1995, while Biddick is rapidly closing in on Richard Burton all-time record of 414 winners between the flags.

Gina Andrews on her record breaking winner King of the Clothe

Carrig Dubh set the race up for the two market leaders leading for a circuit and a half before Biddick sent Fly West up to contest the lead with Andrew’s mount Hawkhurst at the final open ditch.

Fly West began to inch clear approaching two out but Andrews sensed an opportunity and forced her mount back into contention. Both jockeys showed why they are at the top of their trades and were locked in battle passing the post, with Andrews’s eventually gaining the verdict by the narrowest of margins. She went onto to compete her double on Dee Star in the Maiden later in the afternoon.

Hawkhurst (left) and Fly West flash past the post in the Conditions

The JRL sponsored Flat Race had to be split at declaration. The first half went to the Joe O’Shea yard with their 4-year-old Blaster Yeats, while the second division went to Alex Edwards who completed his own double on Phil Rowley’s debutant Quinta Do Mar who was having his first run since joining the Shropshire yard following his purchase at Tattersalls Ireland in November 2018.

Ludlow Results

Members

1st        Buck Magic                  J Smith Maxwell                       3-1

Confined

1st        Bletchley Castle           W Biddick                                8-11 fav

Restricted

1st        Monbeg Oscar             A Edwards                               2-1

Conditions

1st        Hawkhurst                   Miss G Andrews                      11-8

Mens Open

1st        Ballyboker Breeze        Z Baker                                    10-11 fav

Maiden

1st        Dee Star                      Miss G Andrews                      4-5 fav

JRL Flat Race – Division I

1st        Blaster Yeats                B Carver                                  5-4 fav

JRL Flat Race – Division II

1st        Quinta Do Mar            A Edwards                               4-5 fav

116 ENTRIES FOR SUNDAYS MEETING AT MAISEMORE PARK

 

With a healthy entry of 116, a total which exceeds that of a majority of meetings over the weekend, this fixtures return to Maisemore Park appears to have the approval of most of its participants.

It was previously held at this venue between 1993 and 2007 but has spent the last 10 years at Andoversford and during that time the meetings secretary Jason Warner came up with the Country Fair concept which provided an enhanced experience for spectators.

The course is already the home of Gloucester Races and is in a beautiful setting on the banks of the River Severn with provides excellent viewing. It also provides a great day out for all the family, with a Family Dog Show, Terrier Racing and Pony Rides.

Gates open at 10 am and an hour and a half later you can watch the Side Saddle Dash and Concour d’Elegance, followed by two Pony races at 12-30 pm with the 7 Point-to-Point Races commencing at 2 pm

A unique feature of this meeting is that a majority of races are confined to Novice or Veteran Riders which gives some of our less experienced jockeys or those of advancing years to get their names in the spotlight.

Warner could be rewarded for all his hard work with victory in the Members. Mister Dick is the best of his five entries and Byron Moorcroft’s assistance in the saddle could prove an invaluable asset and they appear to have plenty in hand over Stay Out of Court the biggest danger.

Spanish Arch has been campaigned at a much higher level than some of his rivals and on recent form might be able to provide his owner/trainer/rider Victoria Sollitt with her second success between the flags.

The Ladies Open has attracted the smallest number of entries and looks a foregone conclusion if Southfield Theatre lines up. The 11-year-old won two races earlier in the season and did not disgrace himself behind Hazel Hill in the Cheltenham Foxhunters.

Bankhall won over course and distance last year but has struggled since, while Kazuri Kate is not without a chance. Itstimeforapint always finishes strongly and a fast pace should bring out the best in him, and that could result in victory for jockey Leanne Williamson.

Sally Randall and Albi Tufnell combined to win at Andoversford last weekend and they have an interesting entry in the Conditions. Call Me Vic finished within 5-lengths of Mankala at Siddington and having gained confidence from his recent victory, the cards may fall in Tufnell’s favour against Distime and Minella Friend.

Black Jack Rover provided Henry Homer with his first win 2 weeks ago but he has an extra 3 furlongs to contend with this weekend. He was putting in his best work at the finish on that occasion so that fact would not be a major cause for concern in the Mens Open.

Minella Friend and Valco de Touzaine look the pick of the visitors, while Sam Morgan needs to make the most of the opportunities that Mighty Leader provides.

Diplomatico and You’re the Man were both successful last weekend, the former at Barbury and the latter at Andoversford and they now step up in class. The former caught the eye on his previous run at Bangor but did not beat much when winning and we will have a better idea of his future potential after the Restricted.

Monbeg Oscar is the form horse in the race, but much depends on the owner’s choice of pilot, while Stay Out of Court got to within 3-lengths of the ill-fated Bally River Boy over todays course and distance last May and would be very difficult to beat if repeating that performance.

The Maiden has attracted 30 entries but with a safety factor of 16, division has to be a possibility. Albert Cutler has been placed on his last two runs and is one for the short list, while Dino Boy, Here Comes Molly and Second Captain should all give a good account of themselves.

Miss Nightingale and Switch Hitter are both making their racecourse debuts but their handlers have proven in the past they can overcome inexperience and win with these types of horses.

Long Mile Road chased home Cheltenam de Vaige at Monmouth recently and had shown a decent level of form prior to that so this provides a great opportunity for the horse to finally get his head in front.

The 8-year-old and upwards Conditions race looks a minefield for punters although Golden Doyen has a chance if repeating his best form, otherwise the race is a bit of a lottery and could provide an upset.

 

 

JAKE SLATTER WORKS HIS MAGIC AT ANDOVERSFORD

Jake Slatter has shown he is able to improve almost every horse that enters his Toddington yard, but You’re the Man’s win in the Maiden at Andoversford Races must rank as one of his best training performances.

The 7-year-old had failed to complete the course in four outings for Slatter and previous trainer Andrew Campbell, but the stature of the opposition did give connections some cause for optimism.

Sam Canning set off at a steady pace before being joined by the favourite Bespoke Cave at halfway and these two dominated the remainder of the race.

The market leader had by far the best form with two recent placings but both of those were over 2-1/2 miles and that may be the limit of his endurance at present because the writing was on the wall as he began to lose touch at the bottom of the hill.

 

Sam Canning and You’re the Man are well clear turning for home

You’re the Man’s jumping became more reliable as the race progressed and he was able to extend his advantage over the final two fences to score a popular success for local owner Nigel Jackson.

You’re the Man flies the last – This is what it means to have a winner – as Nigel Jackson celebrates his horse’s success

This win provided some compensation to the trainer who lost stable star Ballyriver Boy on the gallops recently, but he was unable to provide an explanation for the horses improved performance, other than the weakness of the opposition.

The Ladies and Men’s Open provided close finishes with the favourites for both events beaten. Tb Broke Her started an odds on shot for the Ladies on the strength of her impressive win at Monmouth Showground 7 days earlier. Hannah Lewis had the mare anchored at the back of the field until making progress to take the lead at the final open ditch.

They held a useful lead over Chu Chu Percy and Well Mett down the back straight and Lewis quickened the pace as the runners began to climb up to the home straight. Tb Broke Her was never able to establish a race winning lead but was still a couple of lengths clear rounding the final bend.

Turning for home and Tb Broke Her leads Chu Chu Percy while Well Mett is some way behind

It is closer at the last but Well Mett has reduced the gap

Straightening up for the Judge the mares lead was diminishing whereas Josephine Banks and Well Mett were now getting into full stride. They had just over a length to make up on the run in but Well Mett is a seasoned campaigner and finished strongly to get up in the shadows of the post.

The 12-year-old carries the blue and cerise hoop colours of Pat Tollit, whose family have supported Point-to-Point Racing in the West Midlands since the 1930’s, when they were carried by Mrs Tollit’s father Major Harold Rushton.

Pat Tollit and her grand daughter Josephine at the presentation with Jeremy Hitchings

The winner is trained by Tollit’s daughter Christine Banks and ridden by her granddaughter Josephine.  

Later in the afternoon it was the turn of Christine’s sister Katherine Smith Maxwell (owner) and her daughter Alex Dunn (trainer) turn in the winners enclosure after How About It had scored aa hard-fought success in the Robert Hitchin’s sponsored Andoversford Grand Annual Chase.

Abricot de L’Oasis departed early while the favourite Sarazen Bridge and Nick Phillips went to the front at halfway and with four fences to jump still held a narrow lead over Premier Portrait and How About It.

John Smith Maxwell and How About It gradually began to inch clear of their rivals on the stamina sapping climb to the home straight and they turned back towards home with a good lead.

How About It and John Smith Maxwell maintain their lead around the final bend and at the last but it was much close as they passed the judge

How About It had been in front for longer than normal and his concentration appeared to waver approaching the last and that required both physical and vocal encouragement from the rider. It worked, and despite Premier Portrait finding extra reserves in the closing stages they still had a half-length advantage as they passed the judge.

Smith Maxwell and How About It on their return to the winners enclosure

Andoversford plays to some horses strength and that was certainly the case with My Murphy who was last at half way and had to be pushed along to stay in contention at several stages of the race.

Summer Sounds was attempting to win his fourth consecutive race but was harried for most of the contest by Sam Jukes on The Well Road and their fight for the lead may have contributed to his downfall.

Having disposed of that rival’s effort they faced another challenge as Albi Tufnell and My Murphy began to eat into their advantage climbing the final hill.

Summer Sounds (noseband) and Alice Stevens hold a narrow lead at the last

The favourite was still clear turning for home but Tufnell’s mount cornered better than his rival and saved several lengths in the process and that probably turned out to be a race winning manoeuvre as My Murphy stayed on strongly in the closing stages to prevail by half a length.

This was a second success for the 17-year-old Radley College student, but “his first proper one” he said later as the first was gained as a result of a walk over at Garthorpe last season.

Winning trainer Sally Randall (left) with Mark and Jane Tufnell and their son Albi picking up their prizes for winning the Conditions Race – later in the afternoon Albi was presented with the Hanley Mill Novice Riders prize from sponsor Belinda Palfrey

Naunton trainer Sally Randall sent out the first two winners when Matt and Sally Burford’s Cheltenham de Vaige followed up his stablemates opening race success in the Restricted.

Just two runners faced the starter with the Randall runner hot favourite on the strength of his Monmouth win. With a solitary opponent Hannah Lewis decided to race on her terms so the favourite was allowed to stride along in front but without taking too much out of himself.

Major Detail stayed in touch until they met the rising ground but then fell further behind which allowed the winner to score an impressive win without coming off the bridle.

Second win in a week for Cheltenam de Vaige and Hannah Lewis

Matthew Barber has returned to race riding this year after an 18 month break from the sport. He was a prolific visitor to the winner’s enclosure in the past and scored his first winner since his enforced absence by steering Jungle Legend to success for owner/trainer Claire Jones in the Intermediate.

Mark Barber and Jungle Legend are well clear of their rivals in the Intermediate

Conditions

1st        My Murphy                              A Tufnell                     10-1

2nd       Summer Sounds

3rd        Dandan

Restricted

1st        Cheltenam de Vaige                 Miss H Lewis               1-3 fav

2nd       Major Detail

(Only two ran)

Ladies Open

1st        Well Mett                                 Miss J Banks                12-1

2nd       Tb Broke Her

3rd        Chu Chu Percy

Mens Open

1st        How About It                          J Smith Maxwell           5-2

2nd       Premier Portrait

3rd        Sarazan Bridge

Intermediate

1st        Jungle Legend                          M Barber                     4-5 fav

2nd       Kinlochspelve

3rd        Midnight Monkey

Maiden

1st        You’re the Man                        S Canning                    5-2

2nd       Bespoke Cave

3rd        Which Sky

There were five local winners at Andoversford, but West Midland qualified runners also made their presence felt at other meetings with Drumhart prevailing in the Novice Riders at Tabley.

Pat Tollit’s runner had a protracted battle with Vivaldi Collonges throughout the second circuit but just proved the stronger on the flat.

It was a day of mixed fortunes for Phil Rowley and Alex Edwards at the North Ledbury. Undisputed had to settle for the runners up spot behind Princely Player in the Conditions, but the show was back on the road in the Timico sponsored Mixed Open.

Now Ben faced two serious rivals in the shape of Green Winter and Don Bersey but came out on top with an emphatic win.

Rowley’s runners in the two divisions of the JRL sponsored Flat Races were both beaten. In Division I Padstow Harbour got to within 4-lengths of Durouyn, with the second half of the race saw the Rowley trained favourite Trooper Jones finish down the field.

Jason Warner’s Mister Dix finished fourth in the Ladies Open at Andoversford but his stablemate Diplomatico fared much better in his chosen objective at the Tedworth’s Barbury Racecourse fixture.

Stratford-upon-Avon-based Richard Evans got a ‘big kick’ out of seeing his home-bred Hott Lips finish with a flourish to take the Jockey Club and the Butterworth Family Open Maiden for Mares and Fillies over 2m 4f.

The seven-year-old had three rivals in front of her turning into the straight, but Lucy Turner produced the daughter of Midnight Legend to storm through on the run-in and beat Nos da Cariad and Katie Sinclair by two lengths, with Ballydorn third.

Evans, rider of Grand National regular The Pilgarlic in the 1970s, said: “I have spent a lot of time with her at home, so when you get a winner of a point-to-point it is lovely.”

He bred Hott Lips out of his mare, Major Hoolihan, with the pair named after the character in the American TV series MASH, and he added: “She is bred from quite a good family and hopefully we will put her to stud one day.”

It was a first pointing win of the season for Turner, who had ridden for her boss, Venetia Williams, in the conditional jockeys’ and amateur riders’ race at Aintree the previous day.

On an afternoon when all six favourites obliged, Diplomatico opened his account for Moorcroft and Jason Warner with a runaway victory in the Ramsbury Brewing & Distilling Four, Five And Six-Year-Olds Open Maiden over 2m 4f.

Moorcroft took over the running at the sixth-last and his mount soon went clear to score by a distance from Courtly Love and York.

Warner said: “We bought him in the summer off David Bridgwater. He has improved a bit and got a bit of confidence. It wasn’t a very good race, but he could only win it.”

Moorcroft added: “He goes on better ground and when he ran at Bangor it was way too soft for him.”

(Tedworth information supplied by Russell Smith)

With the counter attraction of the Grand National on Saturday afternoon, and numerous winning opportunities the following day, there was limited local representation at the North Warwickshire fixture at Mollington.

On breeding Midnight Frensi has under achieved in recent years, but the reason for that became apparent after the 10-year-old had prevailed in the concluding Maiden.

Dave Mansell had got a good tune out of the gelding when they were narrowly beaten trying to concede 18 lb to Bird on the Wire at Brampton Bryan in what was Dymock trained geldings first completion in a 4-year career.

That was obviously considered a flash in the pan by bookmarkers as Martin and Doreen Wilesmith gelding was sent off at the rewarding odds of 11-2. Having led to the 8th, Mansell was content to bide his time being delivering his mount to lead at the lead before being driven clear up the final hill.

Connections explained afterwards “This is down to Doreen. We brought him as a foal at Doncaster but it has taken us a while to sort him out. We discovered he was flipping his soft palate, but we had no indication because he was not making a noise and none of his previous jockeys have suggested any problems”.

 

 

 

 

 

PACKED PROGRAMME OF ENTERTAINMENT AT ANDOVERSFORD

 

The countdown is on to this year’s Andoversford Races, one of the most established fixtures in the Gloucestershire sporting calendar, and also one of the fastest growing and valuable Point-to-Points.

There’s a packed programme of entertainment built around the Robert Hitchins Group Andoversford Grand Annual which was first held in the local area in 1834. The racing offers a valuable programme with over £4,000 on offer across 6 races.

The entertainment starts at 10-30 am and carries on all day and includes something for the whole family (including Pony and Sheep Racing, plus dog agility). Pony Racing starts at 12 noon, followed by the first steeplechase at 2 pm

For those that surf the web or rely on their social media feeds to enhance their enjoyment of great local events, you can thank Cotswolds estate agents Harrison James & Hardie who have partnered with local broadband provider Wurzel to add on site Wi Fi to the experience.

Spectators will be able to log on and qualify for a free draw for hospitality at the following year’s event. As a green field site, Andoversford has suffered from poor reception for many years, limiting the event’s ability to engage with spectators on social channels at the event itself.

Several horses who performed well at last year’s fixture are expected to run again this weekend and with course experience in their favour their chances have to be respected.

The Well Road won the Intermediate last year and this meeting has provided rich pickings for connections in the past. Sam Jukes mount has a choice of engagements either in the 9-year-old and upwards Conditions where he has to give 7 lb away to his rivals or in the Mens Open where he meets most of the opposition on level terms.

He lacks the star quality of some of his stablemates but is an honest and consistent performer who always gives his supporters a good run for their money.

Premier Portrait is owned by Dr Charles Levinson who lives just a stone throw from the course so success would go down well with the locals. The 12-year-old has struggled for form so far this season but like The Well Road connections his owners have to choose between the Conditions and Mens Open – a decision that will be watched with interest.

With its enhanced prize money and entry fee returned at declaration, the Mens Open has attracted the biggest entry of the day. Dandan runs well over this course and his front running tactics will find any chinks in his rivals armour, while Bedrock Fred comes into his own at this time of year so could spring a surprise.

Abricot de L’Oasis has faced better company than this while Son of Suzie seems to have found a new lease of life in recent months – a statement that will be put to the test in the closing stages.

The Ladies Open has a small but select field which includes Hellorboston who scored a narrow victory 12 months ago. Chu Chu Percy comes from a good stable while Well Mett does not look the most enthusiastic of horses but has given connections a lot of fun over the years.

TB Broke Her put her rivals to the sword at Monmouth last weekend and has little to fear from these rivals but whether connections decline this winning opportunity remains to be seen.

The latter’s owner Will Gaskins purchased R Bren after her Kingston Blount success but her first run for Sam Jukes stable proved inconclusive as she was an early casualty at Maisemore.

She has a potential winning opportunity in the Restricted but could come up against Cheltenam De Vaige who scored an impressive win at Monmouth 7 days ago. Connections may be keen to strike while the iron is hot but he would not be one to back at short odds as he had unseated his rider twice before that success.

The concluding Maiden is unlikely to see anything of the quality of last years winner Eurobot who was sold for a six-figure sum after that victory.

Bespoke Cave will probably start a short-priced favourite on the strength of his two recent runs, but those were over 2-1/2 miles and two trips up the stamina sapping hill may cause him problems.

Skarloey, Lady Legend and Give a Hoot will be there to pick up the pieces if more fancied rivals fail to perform, while Jake Slatter will need to be a magician if You’re the Man claims the prize based on that horses recent performances.

Jason Warner has travelled far and wide in search of success so far this season but appears to have found a winning chance much closer to his Brookthorpe base.

Diplomatico finished last of four at Bangor recently but was prominent for most of the journey and if ridden with more restraint may just be able to deliver the goods.

There is no such thing as a racing certainty, but the nearest you can get to it is Mankala in the Intermediate. The 9-year-old has won his last 3 races and his record is head and shoulders above that of his rivals and a clear round is all that is needed to prevail over Jungle Legend and Order in Court who are likely to fight out the minor placings.

 

 

 

TEMPLEBRADEN JUST PREVAILS IN TIMICO OPEN AT MAISEMORE

Zac Baker and Alex Edwards both recorded doubles during Sundays Gloucester Races meeting at Maisemore Park.

Baker resumed his partnership with Templebraden in the Timico sponsored Mixed Open and this race provided one of the most exciting finishes of the afternoon.

Marcle Ridge and Salvatore have both made big strides this season as a consequence of which they now found themselves pitted against seasoned performers such as Premier Portrait, Facile Bien and Templebraden.

Both youngsters came in for significant market support, while the well backed Facile Bien parted company with Sam Waley Cohen at the end of the first circuit.

Halfway and Marcle Ridge (pink) is not as fluent as Templebraden (stripes)

Sam Jukes adopted his customary front running tactics on Marcle Ridge, although Baker was never far behind on Templebraden but down the back straight for the final time Jukes began to apply further pressure.

Templebraden was being driven along to stay in touch at the 4th from home, while Salvatore was struggling to keep up with the pace and that resulted in his 6-race winning run coming to an end.

Marcle Ridge extended his advantage around the final bend and held a healthy lead at the penultimate, but that began to dwindle approaching the last. Jukes had to resort to the whip at this point, but there was no immediate response and Templebraden came through to join issue at the last.

Baker’s mount was quicker away from this obstacle, but half way up the run in Marcle Ridge suddenly began to respond to his riders’ urgings and was closing the gap all the way to the line.

Neither rider was willing to commit themselves to first spot in the winner’s enclosure until word came through that Templebraden had prevailed by a head.

Top – Joint sponsor Stan Warner and winning owner Sarah Oliver struggle to get to grips with the massive Lady Bullough Trophy

Bottom – Stan Warner with Templebradens trainer James Ridley

“He deserved that. He came out at the wrong end of a verdict in similar circumstances at Siddington last week but things have gone in our favour. Zac gave him a great ride” stated Kinnersley based trainer James Ridley, while owner Sarah Oliver could not conceal her delight.

Marcle Ridge’s owner Clive Bennett was thwarted yet again from having a winner at his home meeting, while the runners up jockey Sam Jukes commented “I’m disappointed but the more I think about it, you can’t help but be impressed with that performance. I think his jumping let him down today, and it came as a shock to him when he was joined at the last, but once he had something to aim at, he was great. In truth, I thought I had got up”.

Bakers second winner of the afternoon, came in the Members race where he teamed up with the Joanne Priest trained Ballyboker Breeze for an all the way success.

Sam Jukes and Rye Cross looked dangerous at the start of the second circuit, but were unable to reel the leader in and this partnership were sending out distress signals by the third from home.

The winner had good form under Rules for Nicky Richards but has recently joined Joanne Priest who trains at Holdfast stables near Upton on Severn. More races are to be won with the 11-year-old based on this performance.

Jo Priest (bobble hat) chats to Zac Baker after Ballybooker Breeze’s success in the Members

Edwards first winner came as the result of a walkover in the 4-5-6-7-year-old Maiden on the Diana Ralph trained Major Detail.

13 horses had been entered for the 2 miles 5 furlong contest, including several from the big yards who specialise in these types of races, such as Fran Nimmo, Sophie Lacey and Phil Rowley.

There were obviously differing reasons for their non-participation but it was not ground dependent based on the number of runners later in the afternoon and Point-to-Point committee’s will rightly revisit programming if these type of races fail to attract sufficient runners.

The trainer and jockey went on to complete their double with Damut I’m Out in the Restricted.

R Bren and Hidden Cargo vied for favouritism, before the former made a mistake at the third which ejected Danny Burton from the saddle. Hidden Cargo continued to set a strong pace but began to drop back with half a mile to run.

Jaffna Queen then took over the lead briefly but she in turn was passed by Stay Out of Court and these two were jostling for the lead at the penultimate with Damut I’m Out apparently struggling in third.

Stay Out of Court (yellow and grey), the partially hidden The Jaffna Queen and the eventual winner Damut I’m Out (pink and grey) at the final fence

The two leaders went stride for stride approaching the last but Edwards mount came through to join them before quickening clear on the flat to repay a small part of the purchase price that current owners Diana Ralph and Mo Costello paid at Goffs Sales last September.

Edwards hopes of a treble disappeared when Diana Williams 6-year-old mare Gadrose failed to deliver in the Restricted.

She had taken the measure of Lucarno Express around the final bend and seemed to have the race in her pocket at the second from home, but the cupboard was bare when Edwards asked her for another effort.

Gadrose and Alex Edwards are clear at the last but could not hold the late surge of Ballycahane and Milo Herbert

She led over the last, but Milo Herbert and Ballycahane caught them half way up the run in to score by a narrow margin for Ledbury stalwart and Eastnor trainer Nicky Sheppard.

Ryan Potter has his string in fine form at present and the Ross on Wye trainer took the 3-mile 12 runner Maiden with No Limitations.

The 8-year-old had not previously completed in a British Point-to-Point so Bradley Gibbs had his mount in mid-field until making steady progress throughout the second circuit.

Thelastwon still held the call at the third from home but Gibbs brought his mount with a well-timed run to take the lead in the home straight.

No Limitations and Bradley Gibbs are clear at the last

With the race his for the taking No Limitations began to slow up dramatically approaching the final obstacle stuttering over the last but having sufficient reserves to draw clear on the run to the judge.

Potter’s post-race assessment was “His jumping let him down today. When he’s right he’s brilliant, but when he’s wrong, he’s not. He knocked himself on his first run for us and after his second outing we found some pus in his back foot, so maybe he was thinking about that today. He will improve again. Luckily, we are based near the River Wye so we can use that to sort out any aches and pains”.

Those with extremely long memories will recall the name of David Tatlow who won 4 successive riders championship back in the mid-1960’s. He was associated with some brilliant horses in the hey day of the sport with the names of Mystery Gold II, Real Rascal, Amba II and Barley Bree rolling off the tongue.

Tatlow’s daughter Lorraine is renowned in showing circles so her son Harry Homer has some big boots to fill, but as Tatlow senior said later “I am extremely proud of my grandson riding his first winner. He may not be a stylist but he rides well”.

Despite being inconvenienced by a 10 lb penalty Uppertown Hawk set a strong pace in the Conditions before he was joined by Gabrial the Great and they set a furious pace which resulted in them entering the final mile with a 12-length advantage.

Gabrial the Great was the first to crack while the welter burden was taking its toll on Uppertown Hawk who suddenly began to look vulnerable on the final bend.

Black Jack Rover asserts over Uppertown Hawk at the last – the winner returns accompanied by a proud mother and Harry Homer receives his Novice Riders prize from sponsor Belinda Palfrey

They were joined by Black Jack Rover who grabbed the lead approaching the last and stayed on to provide his young rider with his first victory.

The winning jockey said afterwards “We went down to see the horse at Tom Faulkners a couple of weeks ago. We liked what we saw and took him home on Tuesday and he has had a couple of schooling sessions since. We were not expecting that”.

This performance earned the 18-year-old Warwick schoolboy the Hanley Mills Novice Riders Award from sponsor Belinda Palfrey.

2 mile 5 furlong Maiden

1st      Major Details                             A Edwards

(Walked Over)

Conditions

1st      Black Jack Rover             H Homer                7-1

2nd      Uppertown Hawk

3rd      Joey Kangaroo

3-mile Maiden

1st      No Limitations                 B Gibbs                  12-1

2nd      Second Captain

3rd      Thelastwon

Mixed Open

1st      Templebraden                  Z Baker                  7-1

2nd      Marcle Ridge

3rd      Salvatore

Intermediate

1st      Ballycahane                     M Herbert              9-1

2nd      Gadrose

3rd      Lucarno Express

Restricted

1st      Damut I’m Out                A Edwards             7-2

2nd      Stay out of Court

3rd      The Jaffna Queen

Members

1st      Ballybroker Breeze          Z Baker                  2-1

2nd      Rye Cross

3rd      Shannon Silver

The old saying “good things come in small parcels” could be used to describe Will Gaskins mare TB Broke Her who finally had her moment in the spotlight following an emphatic win in the Ladies Open during the Monmouthshire Point-to-Point on Saturday afternoon.

Local traffic problems on the A40 resulted in considerable delays for those attending the meeting but while inconvenient it did not seem to affect the number of runners.

The mare has been unlucky to come up against horses of the quality of Southfield Theatre, Virak and Road to Rome since the start of the season and faced no easy task in this contest, with Patricktom Boru and the recent Bangor winner Captain Von Trappe setting the standard.

Aupcharlie took an early lead but began to drop back after the first mile while Hannah Lewis had TB Broke Her anchored at the back of the field and Abi Banks and Captain Von Trappe were content to keep a watching brief.

Jodie Hughes and Patricktom Boru led at the start of the final circuit, but Hannah Lewis was exuding confidence as she was poised to challenge. They were well clear of Captain Von Trappe racing along the riverside and the latter was fighting a losing battle when he departed at the 14th.

Miss Lewis made her move on the final bend and Patricktom Boru had no answer and went further behind approaching the 16th.

TB Broke Her jumps the last on her way to victory in the Ladies Open

The mare had the race in her pocket approaching the last, but she then faced the dilemma which confronts most jockeys – play it safe or go for a big one and both have repercussions if you get it wrong.

Hannah opted for the first option, the mare blundered her way through the fence but crucially the partnership survived and they sauntered home for a very easy win.

The mare wins comfortably so its no wonder that owners Will and Diana Gaskins have smiles on their faces

Will Gaskins was keen to heap praise on trainer Sam Jukes and jockey Hannah Lewis. “They are a dream team and Sam and his staff have done a wonderful job with the mare as she is now much more settled in the preliminaries. That’s her 51st race and what an engine she has. She is only just over 15 hands but does she jump”.

The Area’s second success came in the days concluding event, Division II of the 3-mile Maiden which had to be split at declaration.

The finish was fought out by two West Midland based horses in Matt and Sally Burford’s Cheltenham De Vaige and Jason Warners Long Mile Road.

The owners had seen their French bred 7-year-old unseat its rider on two occasions so far this year, but Will Biddick’s presence in the saddle seemed to be a steadying influence and the favourite came home unchallenged after taking the lead on the final bend.

Zac Baker and Big Man Doe went to the front from the start of the Mens Open and kept pulling out extra every time they were challenged. Their rivals were queuing up over the final three fences, but Bakers mount showed great bravery and still held a narrow lead at the last, until Bradley Gibbs brought Yeats Ace through with impeccable timing to grab the advantage about 25 yards from the post.

Baker reported later “I could feel the horse emptying on the run in so I had to nurse him home.

This win was the second leg of a four timer for Bradley Gibbs who won races on Tick Tock Ten and Rio Bravo later in the afternoon.

Max Comley trained his first winner since setting up Rendcomb Hill Equestrian last summer following Twentyoneblackjacks success in a Horseheath Maiden on Saturday.

“The horse ran a nice race at Chaddesley in February and came on a bundle for that” reported Comley after the geldings success. “He then went to Ston Easton last week where he travelled nicely into the race before it was called void with a circuit to go, which was frustrating. I suggested to Mrs Wright that we run him quick as he had a lovely time in the void race and came it out of it bouncing! George Gorman has stacks of experience having ridden as a conditional Jockey, and gave Jack a very confident ride yesterday to win by a length”

The photo says it all – a first training success for Max Comley

“He is owned by Mr and Mrs Wright, a lovely couple from Devon. They’ve owned horses for years and have shares in a few horses at Martin Keighley’s”. 

“Martin used to train Twentyoneblackjack and after he ran at Southwell in October, Martin called me up and suggested he would make a nice pointer and was I interested in training him. This huge, handsome horse arrived looking fantastic and slotted into his new routine well. Unfortunately, the owners didn’t see the horses success yesterday. A massive thank you to Martin and Belinda Keighley for sending me the horse and they were the first people on the phone to say well done! It was a great day for the team and hopefully the first of many! “

 

FOUR TIMER FOR ROWLEY AND EDWARDS AT BRAMPTON BRYAN

The Teme Valley and United Pack meeting at Brampton Bryan provided rich pickings for Phil Rowley and Alex Edwards on Sunday afternoon.

The Bridgnorth pairing were successful on four occasions and finished second in another race. With plenty of ammunition to be fired in the coming weeks, they look well on their way to recording successive wins in their respective Championships.

Dalkingstown set the ball rolling in the Restricted. Rowley’s runner had beaten Shometheway at Chaddesley in February, but Clive Bennett is never one to shirk a challenge and re-opposed with that horse’s stable companion Miss Seagreen.

Both market leaders were prominent throughout with the recent Didmarton winner Oscar Bravo the only other horse to offer any sort of challenge over the final three fences. Dalkingstown remained in front as they straightened up for the judge but Miss Seagreen refused to go down without a fight.

The first leg of a four timer – Dalkingstown and Alex Edwards in Phil Rowleys familiar red and white colours lead over the last in the Restricted but were harried all the way to the line by the runner up Miss Seagreen

Oscar Bravo was beaten when he took a tired fall at the last, while the leader had to pull out all the stops to prevail by a head. Placed in Ireland he was brought by present connections at Cheltenham last May, and this was the 5-year-olds second success in his new colours.

Thirteen lined up for the Mixed Open over 2-1/2 miles where Rowley’s runner Knight Bachelor was installed as favourite.

Hidden Charmer set the pace on the first circuit and was maintaining his advantage approaching the third from home. The Welsh challenger led up the home straight and was still clear at the last but Alex Edwards produced Knight Bachelor with impeccable timing to gain a narrow verdict in the shadow of the post.

Midnight Charmer (orange) has a clear lead over Knight Bachelor at the last, but Alex Edwards then gets to work and it is getting much closer as they approach the line

The winner is owned by Point-to-Point Authority Chairman Andrew Merriam, who explained the horse had useful form under rules (4 wins and 5 placings) but had sustained a leg injury at Plumpton in 2016.

“I am absolutely delighted” he declared “he was a good horse and its great to bring them back, and Phillip deserves credit for having him fit enough to win after a 2-1/2 year absence. We will probably keep him Pointing this year, but the most important thing is that he is OK tomorrow. His stable name is Willie, after breeder Willie Jenks”.

PPA Chairman Andrew Merriam (2nd right) with Knight Bachelor in the winners enclosure

The equivalent race for Horses and Geldings provided Rowley and Edwards with their third success of the afternoon.

Midnight Frensi’s rodeo tactics provided Dave Mansell with a big challenge on the way to the start while in the race Bird on the Wire did well to survive a bad mistake at the 4th.

Midnight Frensi moved on the leaders heels at the 8th, while the favourite was given time to recover from his earlier mistake. The lead changed several times down the back straight but turning back towards home Over the Bridge, Midnight Frensi and Bird on the Wire were all in contention.

Bird on the Wire (red and white) leads Midnight Frensi at the last,  with Middle Field just behind in third

Edwards’s mount hit the front at the penultimate and was half a length clear at the last before extending his advantage on the flat. Midnight Frensi was completing the course for the first time and at last showed a glimpse of the form his breeding suggests.

Stable spokesman’s David Minton said afterwards “He didn’t settle and made mistakes but did it well in the end so we are very pleased. He will probably go to the sales”.

The 2-1/2 mile Maiden provided the final leg of the Rowley/Edwards four timer and saw The Composeur who had been beaten by Freetime at Chaddelsey open his account at the second attempt.

Dublin Indemnity led for most of the race but was passed by The Composeur, Daranova and Largy Mountain on the home bend. The favourite extended his advantage over the penultimate before putting in another prodigious leap at the last which put the issue beyond doubt.

Fourth winner of the day, The Composeur in the 2-1/2 mile Maiden leads Largy Mountain at the last

The Rowley stable is flying at the moment with Optimised gaining a narrow verdict in a Bangor Hunter Chase on Saturday afternoon.

After their earlier confrontation in the Restricted, the Rowley and Jukes stable re-opposed one another in the Jockey Club sponsored Mares and Fillies Maiden but this time it was Clive Bennetts mare Shometheway who came out on top.

Cashmoll and Showmetheway took the field along at a good pace and the order remained unchanged until the former began to beat a retreat at the third from home.

Shometheway (pink) does that to newcomer Message to Martha at the last

Rowley’s newcomer Message to Martha then took up the challenge, but after looking dangerous on the home turn she could not match her rivals pace on the final two fences. The dam has bred some useful performers including stablemate Marcle Ridge and Nicky Hendersons bumper winner Shishkin.

Shometheway lengthens up the run in

Home bred from stock that have been with Bennett for several generations, this was a smart performance conceding 18 lb to a rival, albeit one making its racecourse debut.

The owner was quick to praise Sam Jukes commenting “He has done a brilliant job with her”. Queried about how many horses he has this year, the octogenarian said “too many!”

More silverware for Clive Bennett and Sam Jukes

There were several West Midland qualified runners in the Confined, but one of them Saroque departed early after jinxing going into the dip by the 5th and unseating John Smith Maxwell, while Julia Oakey’s King Willie finished third behind the eventual winner Emtidaad.

These two meetings show the unpredictability of the sport because 24 hours earlier and Smith Maxwell had been celebrating a peach of a ride which saw How About It get up in the final strides of the Pegasus Club Race at Siddington.

This has a long history following the saddle club’s foundation in 1895 and at one time even held its own meeting. It has been run at several venues including Nazeling, Kimble, Little Horwood, Kingston Blount, Flete Park and Larkhill until eventually settling at Siddington 10 years ago.

5 horses faced the starter with Graeme McPhersons Degooch installed as favourite. Trainer Christy Mews rides out at the owner’s Martins Hill stables near Stow on the Wold while jockey Bohemia Houghton is also employed at the yard.

Degooch dwelt at the start and lost 15-lengths but made up ground steadily and sensibly before taking over the lead turning into the home straight for the first time. They continued to set a strong pace with How About It and John Smith Maxwell the only potential danger as the leader turned back towards home with a narrow advantage.

How About It (red cap) has ground to make up on Degooch as they approach two out

Smith Maxwell asked his mount for an effort at the 16th and then got a good run on the inside just before two out. How About It was responding to his riders’ urgings so there was not much in it at the last and the two horses battled it out all the way to the line, with the Smith Maxwell runner getting rewarded for his tenacity.

John Smith Maxwell celebrates as the result is announced

Winning owner Rozzy Smith Maxwell was full of praise for members of her family who had been involved in the horse’s preparation, especially her sister Alex Dunn who has the horse at her West Buckland yard, and sister Felicity who did all the road work with the horse prior to his move to his current stable.

Rozzy Smith Maxwell (right) with the cup 

She also singled out her brother John for his ride. “I have to say I thought John rode the perfect race, we knew he stayed and he was fit from galloping up the hills around my sisters training establishment. I am also pleased to support the Pegasus Club”.

John is enjoying one of his best seasons as he has already won several races on Blackwater Bramble who carries the same colours. Asked if he was confident of victory “I knew I had got there this time, unlike Cocklebarrow where I was narrowly beaten”.

This race provided the only West Midland qualified winner during the VWH meeting on Saturday afternoon, and proved especially frustrating for one of the Area’s most stylish riders Zac Baker.

His first ride of the day resulted in Titans Approach filling third spot behind the day’s most impressive winner Timmie Roe and Charlie Dando’s Carrig Dubh in the Confined.

Baker did little wrong in the Mixed Open but still ended up on the wrong end of a narrow verdict.

Nine went to post including old favourite Dabinett Moon. It soon became apparent that Claire Hardwick had a problem as the mare swept passed her rivals down the back straight and missed the third obstacle. The reason for which became apparent after the race when it was confirmed the reins had snapped.

The favourite Petrou was anchored at the back of the field during the early stages of this contest but began a forward move as Templebraden and Abricot de L’Oasis contested the lead down the back straight.

Templebraden and Zac Baker (right) being challenged by the eventual winner Petrou as they race towards the penultimate

Petrou moved into third place around the final bend where Rye Cross was still in contention, but the two main protagonists had the race to themselves by the third from home. Petrou was a little short of room near the marker approaching two out, but the two horses continued to trade punches over the final two obstacles and all the way up the run in, before the favourite gained a narrow verdict.

Although beaten Templebradens run confirmed the well being of horses from James Ridleys Kinnersley yard, with Baker acknowledging his horse’s mistake at the penultimate may have made the difference between victory and defeat.

Ridley and Baker sought compensation with Draft Pick on the Restricted but after making a majority of the running the 6-year-old son of Court Cave was collared by Wick Green and Drakes Well on the run to the penultimate.

Draft Pick (black and white) comes under pressure as he is challenged by Wick Green (blue sleeves) and Drakes Well in the closing stages

Draft Pick forced his way back into contention approaching the last but both Wick Green and Drakes Well had taken his measure on the run to the line.

The sport has become less parochial than it was in the past and keepers are now willing to travel great distances in search of winning opportunities.

With a local meeting at Brampton Bryan, Worcester trainer Maxwell Young also bypassed the Mendip Farmers fixture at Ston Easton in favour of Kilworthy on the edge of Dartmoor.

Grey Frontieres had finished fifth on her debut and fourth at Brocklesby Park so her performance in the Lamerton Mares Maiden was a vast improvement on previous efforts. James King came in for the ride and the mare got the better of a tight finish with just a couple of lengths separating the first three home.

The Open Maiden went to the Beaufort qualified Five Gold Bars who had shown promise at Charlton Horthorne.

It is not often you get a newcomer from Tom Lacey’s Woolhope yard that does not start favourite for a Maiden, so those who follow this stable must have been delighted with the odds they got on Staithes winning the 2-1/2 mile Maiden at Garthorpe.

The 4-year-old showed some inexperience early in the race but this got better during the course of the race and saw him cruise into the lead a mile from home and keep up the stables great strike rate in these type of races.

Photo’s by Graham Fisher and Pete Mansell

FULL DAY OF EVENTS AT GLOUCESTER RACES

Gloucester Races promises to build on last years success and there is plenty on offer for those thinking of attending Sunday’s meeting at Maisemore Park.

Gates open at 10 am and there is a full programme of events leading up to the first Point-to-Point race 4 hours later. This includes a ferreting demonstration at 10-30, followed by a Gun Dog display 30 minutes later and then Falconry and terrier racing. The first of three Pony Races commences at 12-15 and local trainer Matt Sheppard and jockey Dave Mansell will provide an introduction to racing at 1-30.

In addition, visitors can also enjoy browsing over 40 stalls in the tented shopping pavilion, showcasing local and artisan food and drink plus a range of gifts, handmade crafts and clothing, along with trade stands, food outlets, licensed bar and bookmakers.

The meeting finishes with a new “After Party” from 5-45 pm in the Clavell & Hind Beer Tent which will feature live music from The Shadow Monkeys.

This is Clive Bennett’s home meeting and the Dymock based owner nominated the Mixed Open immediately after Marcle Ridge had won at Chaddesley Corbett earlier in the season. The youngster has run up a four-race winning sequence but this is by far his stiffest task to date with 14 of the 20 entries all rated over 100.

He does have one thing in his favour as he gets weight from more experienced rivals but it remains to be seen if that proves the deciding factor.

Marcle Ridge likes to front run as does Don Bersy who has won his last two races but has to carry an 8lb penalty as a result of those successes. The Ross on Wye trained gelding appears to have an easier option at Monmouth the day before, while Facile Ben, Premier Portrait, Salvatore and Warden Hill have the same rating so it depends who performs best on the day.

Templebraden ran last week so his connections are likely to rely on stablemate Green Winter although a return visit to Larkhill, the scene of a triumph earlier in the season could be rewarding.

It has all the makings of an intriguing contest and much will depend on who runs where at the weekend.

Woolhope based Sophie Lacey and her husband Tom have often used the short Maiden at this meeting as a stepping stone for their racecourse debutants and this fact will ensure the bookmakers do not take any chances with newcomer Neville’s Cross, an expensive purchase from Ireland last summer.

The template of sourcing un-raced horses at the Sales and producing them to win their Maidens is a model that is gaining momentum in some quarters. Lacey and Phil Rowley are two exponents of this strategy and the latter could confront his rival with The Grey Scholar.

Breaking the Ice is the one with racecourse experience having finished runner up at Charlton Horthorne so it will be surprising if the winner does not come from these three.

The Conditions is also run over 2 miles and 5 furlongs and with the Rowley stable in such fine form Undisputed is bound to be well supported, although it is not difficult to find holes in his form.

Joey Kangaroo and Uppertown Hawk have shown good form when conditions firm up but both are making their seasonal debuts and the latter has to carry a 10 lb penalty which looks sure to scupper his chances.

The one to keep an eye on is Gabrial the Great who ran well for a long way at the Ross Harriers. His rivals will need to keep their wits about them because if they give him too much rope, they may live to regret it.

There are no outstanding candidates for the Club Members Maiden, as most of them have already spurned chances to open their accounts. You Know the Story and Albert Cutler have both been placed recently, while Loodeen finished a good second to Interconnected last year but a couple of falls have affected his confidence.

Magheral Express scored a surprise win for Hasfield based trainer Julie Mansell and owner Keith Bayliss at Monmouth Showground a month ago and connections seem to have found another winning opportunity in the Intermediate.

Bleu et Or and Captain McGinley may give him most to do, while Gadrose is better than the third place she recorded at Kingston Blount recently. R Bren beat one of Phil Rowley’s runners The Odissey at the same meeting and was due to go to Ascot Sales but has subsequently joined Sam Jukes stables.

Grove Castle and Stay Out of Court look the main dangers, but on form Monbeg Oscar looks sure to prevail, although there has to be a slight doubt about the Rucker runner who has so many placed efforts to his credit.

Ballybroker Breeze is the highest rated horse in the Members, but that is based on his National Hunt form which does not always translate to Point-to-Points and a watching brief is suggested until he has shown what he is capable of.

There are question marks over most of the runners including Rye Cross who has yet to meet his previous high standards. He seems to be coming back to his best based on his recent run at Siddington so it may be worth taking a chance.