Ballyriver Boy who was withdrawn at Cheltenham on Friday evening after getting lose and making an unscheduled circuit of the course, gained compensation with an impressive win in the Restricted at a sun-drenched Maisemore Park on Monday afternoon.
The 7-year-old made all the running with Ally Stirling dictating a sensible pace but as they went down the back straight for the final time both Stay out of Court and Golanzine looked big dangers.
The leader quickened again around the final bend and was a couple of lengths clear at the penultimate but could not shake off the attention of Zac Baker and Stay out of Court who harried them all the way to the final obstacle. Ballyriver Boy met this on a perfect stride and that carried him to victory.
Ballyriver Boy clears the last ahead of Stay out of Court in the Restricted
The winner has come on by leaps and bounds since joining Jake Slatter’s yard at Toddington and seems a versatile type having won on softer conditions earlier in the season and now on a sounder surface so could add to his tally before the season finishes.
One for the Slatter family album
The Mares Maiden attracted three runners, but it was an eventful affair and shows just how unpredictable racing can be. Racecourse debutant Graceful Sound made the early running but started to beat a retreat with a mile to run, which left Queen of Dragons and Dina Maker to fight out the finish.
Queen of Dragon’s started to get the upper hand around the final bend and went into a racing winning lead approaching the second from home and consolidated her position between the final two fences. With the race in safekeeping the mare slowed dramatically approaching the final obstacle and eventually refused.
With her rival’s departure proving a distraction Dina Maker hit the fence halfway up, was down on her nose and James King performed miracles to stay in the plate but did so and that allowed her to claim an unlikely win.
Dina Maker survives a bad mistake at the last – just
The mare is owned and trained by Hindlip trainer Tom Weston but carried the colours of Graham Fisher. He has not enjoyed the best of luck this season so was invited to see if this mare might change this – it certainly did in this contest.
This was the second winner of the afternoon for King who had earlier partnered Rockinrolldixie to a deserved win in the Members.
4 runners faced the starter with Orange Nassau attempting to make all, but he was collared by Bill Hawkins’s runner and the favourite Kashmir Peak at the 16th.
Rockinrolldixie had the market leader in trouble around the final bend and held off his challenge approaching the second from home. They quickened into the final obstacle, met it on a perfect stride and that settled the favourite’s fate.
Rockinrolldixie clears the last in the Members
Kashmir Peak was not the only odds on favourite that got turned over because the same thing happened in the Conditions race, where Iberico looked a certainty.
Monetaire was sent to the front from the start by Zac Baker and obviously appreciating the sounder conditions, his mount was foot perfect at every obstacle, while the favourite never made a serious mistake but sometimes lacked fluency.
Going down the back straight for the final time, it became obvious that Monetaire was going to be difficult to peg back and he turned for home with an increasing advantage.
Monetaire and Zac Baker put in another good leap at the last to beat Iberico
Iberico stayed on strongly in the home straight and did manage to reduce the deficit but another slick jump at the last, proved crucial and Monetaire claimed an unexpected success for Martin and Jane Wanless’s yard near Stratford on Avon.
The couple were unlucky not to add the Intermediate to their tally earlier in the afternoon. Lake Balaton jumped superbly throughout, but both Jungle Legend and Teeton Kato were looming up in the leader’s wing mirrors in the home straight.
Lake Balaton was clinging on to a narrow lead at the 17th but made his only mistake of the race and fell, which left Teeton Kato to see off his remaining rival’s challenge. Opinion was divided as to whether Lake Balaton departure had affected the result.
Stone and young George Daly were installed as favourites for the Mixed Open (Novice Riders) and they settled towards the rear as Toowoomba and Bankhall took the field along at a steady pace.
Stone made a forward move at the 13th but still had ground to make up when Emma Jones made what proved to be a racing winning move at the final fence in the back straight.
Bankhall and Emma Jones are clear at the last, while Toowoomba makes a mistake which allowed Stone to claim second place on the run in
This allowed them to turn for home with a healthy advantage over Daly’s mount who had moved into second place, but he struggled to close the gap and Bankhall stayed on strongly to provide his young rider with her first winner.
20-year-old Emma Jones picking up her Elms School Novice Riders Award from Tania Taylor
The horse is qualified and trained in Devon by the rider’s father David, but the West Midlands can claim some credit for this success because 20-year-old Jones is based with Matt and Nickie Sheppard at Eastnor and his final preparations for the race were conducted locally.
Photo’s courtesy of Graham Fisher, Tim Sage and Pete Mansell
The West Midlands Area is lucky to be able to call upon the services of Graham Potts and the team at the Three Counties Equine Hospital at Ripple.
They had spent most of the previous afternoon performing minor miracles in aiding the recuperation of Upton Lara who suffered a neurological episode at Cold Harbour.
Their expertise was greatly appreciated by all concerned at Maisemore the following day.
With temperatures in the mid-20’s and with horses welfare at heart each one was checked out and washed down with copious amounts of water before returning to the unsaddling area.
Well done to the organisers for providing water at crucial points on the course and to everyone at TCEH.
1ST ROCKINROLLDIXIE J KING 9-4
2ND KASHMIR PEAK
3RD ORANGE NASSAU
1ST BALLYRIVER BOY MISS A STIRLING 11-4
2ND STAY OUT OF COURT
1ST DINA MAKER J KING 11-10
1ST BANKHALL MISS E JONES 12-1
1ST PITHIVIER P MASON 4-5 FAV
2ND TEXAS FOREVER
1ST TEETON KATO W MARSHALL EVENS FAV
2ND JUNGLE LEGEND
2 MILE 5 FURLONG MAIDEN
1ST GENERATION GAP T O’BRIEN 4-6 FAV
2ND PHOENIX PARK
3RD LEANNES LADY
1ST MONETAIRE Z BAKER 5-1