The Barbury International Racing Club fixture lived up to its billing with winners representing Ireland, Wales and England with West Midland qualified horses helping to swell England’s total on the mist shrouded Marlborough Downs.
The first of the local successes was provided by Bally River Boy who had finished a creditable second at the Harkaway Club. There was a lot to like about that performance and those that followed that form were rewarded when he took Division I of the 3-mile Maiden.
The 7-year-old held every chance until outpaced from two out at Chaddesley so it was no surprise that enterprising tactics were used on this occasion.
Ally Stirling had him in the leading group from the start and that kept him clear of trouble while the opposite was true of the well supported Master Hide who was brought down by Catcharose at the 10th.
Brookethorpe Taylor running his best race for some time kept Bally River Boy company for much of the contest but started to struggle racing around the final bend where the Shark Hanlon trained Skyhill Allstar moved into contention.
Bally River Boy was holding his rivals challenge at the second from home but the last fence was being omitted as medical staff were attending to Evan David after his fall a circuit earlier.
Ally Stirling and Bally River Boy stride clear on the flat, whilst injured rider Evan David is receiving attention
Ally Stirling had to make major adjustments to run around the final obstacle but her rivals were never able to take advantage of the situation and the winner kept up the gallop to finish two and a half lengths clear at the line.
The winner is one of two horses trained by Jake Slatter on his parent’s farm at Toddington near Winchcombe and was a first success for the 23-year-old handler.
Winning owner Angela Slatter with Bally River Boy
“We brought him at Doncaster last May. He front runs and can gallop but only at the one pace so you have to make the most of that. He jumped his way to the front and won cosily in the end with his ears pricked. We had to put a lot of effort into him to get him right. We’ll look for another staying track because that will suit him, It’s brilliant to have my first winner”
A first training success for Jake Slatter (left), Ally Stirling, Angela Slatter being presented with their prize by Alan King
Both trainer and jockey are integral cogs in the wheels of Fergal O’Brien’s stable at Naunton.
Although not universally popular with everyone involved with the sport, Point-to-Point Flat Races are proving attractive with owners, as evidenced by the three divisions at this meeting.
13 horses faced the starter in Division I, all 16 entries stood their ground in Division II, while 16 horses were declared for the third division although this was eventually abandoned due to course conditions.
Ocean River, Colorado Gold, Nobby and Roulette Rocky all received plenty of support in Division II and it was great to see two West Midland qualified horses fighting out the finish.
Clive Bennett’s home bred newcomer Shometheway took a strong hold early on and was always in the leading quartet whereas Phil Rowley’s debutant Nobby was ridden quietly in mid-field until asked to make a forward move down the back straight.
Enormouse was in touch with the leaders until the first two began to draw clear racing round the final bend. Shometheway held a narrow advantage when they disappeared into the dip, but Nobby was snapping away at his heels and hit the front about a furlong from home. These two had a great tussle in the home straight and Bennett’s runner lost nothing in defeat as he was conceding 7lb to his rival.
Nobby and Alex Edwards (right) hold the challenge of Shometheway and Sam Jukes as they races towards the line in Division II of the flat race
Owner Ray Bailey revealed later “He will be staying here now and run on the flat for Alan King. We have always thought a lot of him and he has been doing all the right things on the gallops. He is out of a good mare and when I told Phil the horse was coming to Alan’s he told me about this race and the plan has worked perfectly. Although he won well here, he wants better ground.”
Phil Rowley, Ray Bailey, Michaela Tallett and Alex Edwards in the winners enclosure after Nobby’s success
Earlier in the day, Barel of Laughs failed to make a winning return in the Mixed Open. He was beaten into second place but was attempting to concede 11lbs to the eventual winner Saddlers Encore.
Approaching the second from home and Barel of Laughs (right) is clear of the weakening Colorado Doc (centre) and Saddlers Encore (green)
Barel of Laughs began to make progress a mile from home and was vying for the lead with Colorado Doc a few fences latter. These two appeared to have the race to themselves around the final bend and when Barel of Laughs started to draw clear of his rivals at the second from home, the cheers rose in his supporter’s throats.
At the last and Barel of Laughs still leads but could not withstand Saddlers Encore’s late thrust
Having hit the front, the winner began to idol and that left the door open for Saddlers Encore who swept past his rival in the final 50 yards to snatch an unlikely victory.
2-1/2 MILE MAIDEN
1ST BAILARICO MISS M O’SULLIVAN 20-1
2ND DANSEUR DU LARGE
1ST DEFINITELYANOSCAR M MCINTYRE 4-5 FAV
2ND WHISTLING DOLLY
3RD BURROWS SPRING
1ST LOTUS POND P BRYAN 14-1
3RD THE DAPPER FOX
Lotus Pond and Peter Bryan forge clear of Templebraden at the second from home
1ST SADDLERS ENCORE J NEWMAN 14-1
2ND BAREL OF LAUGHS
3RD GOLDEN DOYEN
1ST WILLIAM MONEY C BRACE 2-1
2ND ARDKILLY WITNESS
3-MILE MAIDEN – DIVISION I
1ST BALLY RIVER BOY MISS A STIRLING 2-1
2ND SKYHILL ALLSTAR
3RD ERICAS LAD
3-MILE MAIDEN – DIVISION II
1ST IMMYDAY J HILL EVENS FAV
2ND SNOW PUMA
3RD LIGHT FLICKER
FLAT – DIVISION I
1ST STRIKE HOLLOW B JONES 25-1
2ND SCHIAP HILL
3RD BILLYGWYN TOO
FLAT – DIVISION II
1ST NOBBY A EDWARDS 3-1