The sport is now back on an even keel after the recent Equine Influenza outbreak and that allowed Alex Edwards to continue with his fine run of form with a double at the Saturdays Albrighton & Woodland Point-to-Point at Chaddesley Corbett, although the National Champions exploits were matched by Tommie O’Brien.
With Phil Rowley saddling the Bridgnorth stables runners at Barbury Racecourse in Wiltshire, his wife Mel was responsible for their representatives at this meeting and claimed an early success when Wishing and Hoping hacked up in the Mens Open.
Cona River set a strong pace but Wishing and Hoping took up the running at the 12th and that allowed Edwards to dictate the second half of the race. Drumhart’s short lived effort petered out in the home straight and the favourite had little trouble holding the runner up efforts over the final two fences.
Wishing and Hoping created a favourable impression when winning at Chaddesley
Wishing and Hoping carries the colours of Peter Andrews (who enjoyed so much success with Barel of Laughs) and on this performance there is no reason to believe the 9-year-old is not capable of making the same impact on the Point-to-Point scene.
The winner’s stablemate Dalkingstown was well supported in the concluding 3-mile Maiden but Edwards had to pull out all the stops to get the 5-year-old home in a tight finish.
Howld Your Whist set off in front but was shadowed by Showmetheway whilst Dalkingstown was settled in mid field. The order remained unchanged until Dalkingstown made a forward move half a mile from home and with Somemetheway for company they soon drew clear of their rivals.
Dalkingstown (nearside) is just getting the better of Showmetheway at the last
These two horses had a protracted battle in the home straight and it was impossible to split them over the final two fences. The favourite seemed to be going fractionally better coming to the last but Sam Jukes’s mount showed great tenacity and was soon back on level terms.
They continued their fight on the flat, with Dalkingstown eventually prevailing by a length, but it was a race in which the runner up emerged with great credit.
The winner ran twice in Ireland last season before being purchased for 20,000 gns at Cheltenham Sales in May. This was his first run since joining the Rowley Yard.
The Bridgnorth stable suffered a setback when The Composeur was soundly beaten in the 2-1/2 mile Maiden.
This race saw two of the sport’s big guns in opposition, with the Lacey’s stable Freetime and Rowley’s newcomer The Composeur vying for favouritism.
Both 4-year-olds were making their racecourse debuts and with their trainers renowned for their skills with these types of horses, punters were left in a quandary but eventually sent The Composeur off as favourite.
Freetime set a strong pace from the start, while Edwards had his mount anchored in the middle of the field, before beginning a forward move and having the leader in their sights as they climbed towards home.
Just as the favourite looked ready to pounce, Freetime found another gear, extended his advantage, the runners up challenge faded and he was 3-lengths adrift at the line.
Unfortunately we will never know how good Freetime was.
Unfortunately, the winner suffered a major injury crossing the line so this was a bitter sweet success. O’Brien was obviously impressed with Freetime’s victory as he said later “Not many 4-year-old are capable of doing what he did”.
Tossapenny was purchased for a substantial sum at Cheltenham in 2017 after winning an Irish Point-to-Point, but the purchase price looked very expensive when the 6-year-old failed to make the grade under Rules.
Worcestershire owners William and Angela Rucker enjoy having Pointers at home so the 6-year-old made the journey over from Evan Williams stables in Wales. Back at a level where he can be competitive the winner showed some of his old sparkle and was never in danger of defeat after taking the lead in the home straight.
Tossapenny is well clear at the last and seems to know that he has won
Despite being beaten on Showmetheway in the Maiden, Dymock trainer/rider Sam Jukes did not leave empty handed as Marcle Ridge finished alone in the Connollys Red Mills sponsored Intermediate.
Clive Bennetts progressive youngster faced a formidable opponent in the West Country challenger Every Breakin Wave, but Marcle Ridge had won his last three races (including two at Chaddesley Corbett) and took an early lead which he never relinquished.
Jukes piled on the pressure racing down the back straight and this had the desired effect as Martin McIntyre was having to drive Every Breakin Wave along to stay in touch.
Not a rival to be seen as Marcle Ridge wins the Intemediate – Clive Bennett receiving the trophy from John Mathias representing sponsors Connollys Red Mills
The favourite had an unassailable racing towards the fourth from home and with the runner up falling further behind, the leader was passing the post when his rival took a tired fall at the last.
This win did not tell us anything we did not already know, although the jockey indicated that he thought “good to soft ground was ideal for the winner. He jumps for fun and I did not want to disappoint him. We brought him here for an education but he had no company so I left him do his own thing”.
The Mens Open at the Ledbury meeting at the end of March is the next target for the 7-year-old according to winning owner Clive Bennett.
Summer Sounds won his second race in 7 days after Luke Scott had guided him to victory in the Novice Riders.
Summer Sounds always held a 2 or 3 length advantage over the favourite Bracho and with that rival weakening as they straightened up for the judge, Summer Sounds just had to be kept up to his work to claim victory.
Summer Sounds clears the last, while Graham and David Fisher look on as Luke Scott receives the Hanley Mill Novice Riders Award from sponsor Belinda Palfrey
Summer Sounds is owned by James Jackson-Stops and the Fisher Partnership and was providing a first winner for 16-year-old Luke Scott who is based with Olly Murphy near Stratford on Avon.
Gina Andrews had to use all of her considerable experience to get her mount’s head in front in the Ladies Open. 10-year-old Haymount had created a big impression when scoring in Yorkshire in early January, but Hannah Lewis and William Money obviously had a race plan which almost proved successful.
The Welsh raider was at the forefront of affairs from the start whereas Haymount went into second place with four to jump.
Turning back towards home Haymount began his first effort but William Money stuck his head out to maintain a narrow advantage and began to inch clear approaching the final obstacle. He was probably half a length up at the last, but could not withstand the favourites late thrust.
Hannah Lewis and William Money (nearside) hold a narrow lead over Haymount and Gina Andrews at the last
Flat Races at Point-to-Point meetings are extremely popular and two of these races took place during the Vine and Craven fixture at Barbury Racecourse near Swindon.
Bridgnorth trainer Phil Rowley had to settle for second place in the first half when I Will Follow Her was unable to cope with Peter Bryan’s mount Equus Gold in the closing stages, but the scales tipped in his favour when Bird on the Wire got the nod in the very close finish in Division II.
Kinnersley based James Ridley followed up last week’s success with Draft Pick by taking the Mixed Open with Templebraden. The 12-year-old has always been a consistent performer in these type of events and despite a couple of indifference jumps over the final two fences was able to see off the challenges of Fly West and Sonofpresenting in the home straight.
Without volunteers where would we be – Neville Hackett ensuring we comply with E.I. Biosecurity Measures
2-1/2 MILE MAIDEN
1ST FREETIME T O’BRIEN 2-1
2ND THE COMPOSEUR
1ST TOSSAPENNY T O’BRIEN 4-5 FAV
3RD KNOCKAN RUN
1ST WISHING AND HOPING A EDWARDS 6-4
3RD MITEBEALL FORLUCK
1ST HAYMOUNT MISS G ANDREWS 1-2 FAV
2ND WILLIAM MONEY
3RD PATRICKTOM BORU
1ST MARCLE RIDGE S JUKES 8-11
1ST SUMMER SOUNDS L SCOTT 5-4
3RD MY MURPHY
1ST DALKINGSTOWN A EDWARDS EVENS FAV
3RD HOWLD YOUR WHIST