Gloucestershire rider David Mansell scored his first success on a horse called Mis-E-Fishant back in 1997, which earned the judgement “Dave is not yet the tidiest but will ride anything and some of his results have been rather impressive”.
20 years later and with another 199 winners under his belt, the 54-year-old rider would probably admit that comment was justified, but he has his own inimitable style and is one of the few characters remaining in the sport.
A field of six lined up for the Conditions at Chaddesley Corbett on Saturday afternoon where Emma Yardley and Cyrien Star were keen to get to the front and led the field until challenged on the final climb.
Distime and Findlay’s Find started to overhaul the leader approaching the 16th, but Distime made an error at this vital stage of the race and lost 5-lengths.
Mansell sent the favourite to the front as they raced downhill into the home straight, by which time Alex Edwards had got Distime back on an even keel and they began to eat into the leader’s advantage.
Dave Mansell and Findlays Find are clear of Distime at the last
Findlay’s Find looked vulnerable between the final two fences but he met the last on a good stride and had no difficulty resisting the late challenge of his rival on the flat.
The celebrations begin!
The rider’s wife Julie has done well to coax Findlay’s Find back to form after a long absence from the racecourse and the 12-year-old continues to show the enthusiasm of a horse half his age.
All smiles in the winners enclosure with Dave, his father in law Phil, daughters Lilly and Molly and wife Julie
Mansell got the biggest cheer of the day when he celebrated his 200th winner by completing a Frankie Dettori flying dismount. “I used to think 3 winners and a broken leg a season was good when I started riding, but then I met Julie and things really took off. Some people have suggested I retire, but I am not stopping – I love it and the horse is enjoying himself”.
Bridgnorth jockey Alex Edwards started this meeting 10 wins clear of the reigning Champion Will Biddick in the race for the National Jockeys Title. After just one win and several near misses it might have been the case of missed opportunities, but his nearest challengers suffered similar fates so he actually extended his lead in the Championship.
Spicy Fruity and Bartizan’s front running tactics carried them 15-lengths clear of the opposition at stages of the 2-1/2 mile Restricted, but it was a pace they could not maintain which enabled the favourite Salvatore to close the gap as they met the rising ground.
Salvatore and Alex Edwards at the last
The winner hit the front approaching two out and stormed into the lead and the partnership were in full command from this point had an 8-length advantage over their rivals at the post.
Trainer Phil Rowley and Edwards were expected to land the 2-1/2 mile Maiden with The Sting, but the favourite “was never travelling” according to his pilot and began to struggle down the back straight before being pulled up at the 14th.
Clive Bennett’s Marcle Ridge has been disappointing on his two runs in this country but finally made amends with a pillar to post victory in this race.
Sam Jukes pushed him into an early lead and they never saw another rival. Up the Drive was only able to offer token resistance during the final stages but was well beaten in the home straight.
Marcle Ridge and Sam Jukes open their account
“That’s better” commented the owner afterwards while his son Will stated “That is the way he has to run, go off in front and make the running. It was the way he was ridden in Ireland”.
Although bred in Republic the 6-year-old is out of the Bennetts mare Labarynth and is named after a local landmark near to the owners Dymock Farm.
Clive Bennett and Sam Jukes are all smiles after Marcle Ridge’s first success
Edwards teamed up with the Diana Ralph trained Drumhart in the Mixed Open and as they straightened up for the judge it seemed as though Edwards would chalk up another winner as his mount passed the long-time leader Againn Dul Aghaidh early in the home straight.
Againn Dul Aghaidh and Henry Crow jump across Drumhart. It is an optical illusion or are Drumharts front legs between Againn Dul Aghaidh back ones?
Thanks to this picture from Tim Sage – we have the answer – yes
There was little between them at the penultimate but Edwards’s mount made a mistake and had nothing left in reserve as the favourite drew clear approaching the last.
Alex Edwards partnered the Jo Priest trained Swiss Heights in the concluding Maiden. Sunday Session went to the front a couple of furlongs from home but had trouble shaking off the attentions of Swiss Heights who harried his rival all the way to the finish despite conceding 21 lbs to his younger rival.
Sunday Session returning to the winners enclosure after his success in the Maiden
Ballycahane is becoming a bit of a Chaddesley specialist as the 9-year-old recorded his third course success with a facile win over Mr Moss in the Novice Riders Race.
Ballycahane and Milo Herbert lead their rivals during the early stages of the Novice Riders
1ST SALVATORE A EDWARDS 1-3 FAV
2ND SPICY FRUITY
3RD JOEY KANGAROO
2-1/2 MILE MAIDEN
1ST MARCLE RIDGE S JUKES 11-4
2ND UP THE DRIVE
(ONLY TWO FINISHED)
1ST BALLYCAHANE M HERBERT 1-5 FAV
2ND MR MOSS
1ST AGAINN DUL AGHAIDH H CROW EVENS FAV
3RD WELL METT
1ST FINDLAYS FIND D MANSELL 11-10 FAV
3RD CYRIEN STAR
1ST SUNDAY SESSION T O’BRIEN 4-6 FAV
2ND SWISS HEIGHTS
Less than 24 hours later Rowley and Edwards were making their way to Sundays meeting at Kingston Blount where victories for Champagne Lilly and Caliente consolidated their positions in their respective Championships.
5-year-old Champagne Lilly started an odds-on favourite for the 4 runner Intermediate with Gina Andrews ensuring Edwards did not have things all his own way. Big Man Doe either led or was in close contention until the favourite made a bad mistake at the final open ditch.
This blunder would have unshipped a lesser pilot but Edwards kept the partnership intact although he had to shake his mount up to stay in touch with the leader down the back straight.
Champagne Lilly starts to draw clear of Big Man Doe and soon opens up an unassailable lead
They continued to make progress and were able to gain the vital inside berth on the next bend. Big Man Doe’s stride began to falter at the penultimate whereas the favourite was just getting into full stride, which meant they extended their advantage on the run to the judge.
“She’s a star” commented owner Fanny Armitage afterwards while the jockey stated “She’s a lovely filly and that is probably only the second time she has been asked a question. She stepped through the open ditch but was clever enough to get away with it”.
Queried about his chances of landing his first Riders Championship Edwards said “We have plenty left to run so will be giving it a go”.
Caliente brought up the double for the Bridgnorth trainer in the 2 mile 5 furlong Maiden. Gina Andrews on Battleofthesomme and the favourite were always at the forefront of affairs and had the race to themselves from the top of the hill.
Around the final bend and Caliente and Alex Edwards have the measure of Battleofthesomme
Battleofthesomme held a narrow lead when they reappeared with four to jump but Edwards’s mount came with a smooth run at the 16th and had soon opened up a race winning advantage.
The winner was picked up relatively cheaply at the Sales last May but is progressing in the right direction and looks a potential star of the future.
The West Midlands enjoyed success in Men’s Open which was also run over 2 miles and 5 furlongs.
Monetaire who had scored so impressively in the Conditions race at Maisemore the previous Monday was sent off an odds-on favourite as a result of that victory.
The Martin Wanless trained 12-year-old took the lead just after halfway but Santa’s Secret refused to concede ground and harried him all the way down the back straight.
Monetaire is hotly pursued about the final bend by Santa’s Secret
There was a couple of lengths between them when they straightened up for the judge, and the runner up made the winner pull out all the stops on the flat. Connections reported after the race “he will run to the end of the season as he loves this ground”.
Winning connections picking up their awards