Category Archives: Reports


Kingston Blount staged the final meeting of what has proved to be the most difficult period in the sports history. It proved a worthy replacement for Umberleigh’s traditional end of season jamboree, so all concerned with the meeting deserve the praise heaped upon them.

Due to the truncated season several National Awards had to be resolved at this meeting, and they were with Ben Suttons treble securing the Male Novice Riders Title, while Natalya Irvine victory on Blazing Tom secured the Ladies equivalent with Sir Mangan taking the Award for the Leading Horse.

As expected, multiple winner Gina Andrews added yet another Ladies Title to her C.V., while James King stormed away from his rivals in the closing weeks of the season to land his first Jockeys Championship.

King’s success was the first victory for a West Midlands qualified rider since Julian Pritchard took the title back in 1999, while Brookthorpe based owner/trainer and Cotswold Vale Farmers Secretary Jason Warner thoroughly deserved to be crowned the Leading Owner with 14 successes which was double that of his nearest rival.

T.V. Pundit Luke Harvey spent Sunday afternoon basking in the Oxfordshire sunshine and was dressed accordingly, but latter in the week will be required to don top hat and tails as part of the ITV team at Royal Ascot.

Drumlynn had been beaten at Edgcote a few weeks ago but Harvey elected to allow his gelding to take his chance in the Conditions. Ben Bromley sent his mount into the lead as they came off Crowell Knoll and they had their rivals at full stretch down that line of fences.

Drumlynn was harried by Waterloo Warrior and Fleur de Pommier throughout the final mile and between the final two fences it looked as though James King might pull the iron out of the fire, as the leader slowed dramatically approaching the final obstacle.

Drumlynn and Ben Bromley lead Waterloo Warrior at the last

Some reports question Waterloo Warrior’s attitude, but overlook the fact that on six out of his seven outings this season Angela Slatters gelding has had to concede lumps of weight to his rivals and Bromley’s mount took advantage of that situation by pulling clear as his rivals effort petered out at the last.

Drumlynn retains his advantage on the flat

Harvey is currently based at Postlip, near Winchcombe and qualifies his horse with the Cotswold was eloquent about his support for the sport and full of praise for the efforts that Alan Hill had put into the course’s preparation. which allowed the season to end on a high note.

It did not take long for Champion elect James King to get back on the score sheet when he guided Kaproyale to victory in the Restricted.

Eole d’Un Regard and Barnaby Treneer stole a clear advantage as they came off Crowell Knoll but halfway down the back straight King’s mount started to move up ominously and swept through to catch his rival in the home straight and provide yet another winner for Charlie and Fran Poste.

Kaproyale cruises to victory in the Restricted plus a smile from the new champion

Experience is worth its weight in gold in Novice Riders races and that proved the case on Sunday afternoon. Kaitlin Perks was bidding for her first winner on Grageelagh Girl and they looked in complete control having established a 10-length lead bypassing the fourth from home.

Everything pointed to another victory for the Hannah Lewis trained mare who still had a healthy advantage at the second from home, but turning for home Ben Sutton and Rolling Dylan began to loom up into the leader’s wing mirrors.

After her earlier exertions Grageelagh Girl had nothing more to give when Sutton produced his mount with impeccable timing to claim the lead at the last.

Earlier in the afternoon Sutton had drawn level with Conor Houlihan in their battle for the Novice Riders Title by taking the Men’s Open with Sir Mangan, a victory which secured connections with the Connolly’s RED MILLS Champion Horse Award. Sutton later completed his first treble on his father’s home bred mare Festival Dawn in the Maiden.

Sir Mangan leads The Brassmoulder around the final obstacle

Sutton’s win on Sir Mangan came at the expense of The Brassmoulder and Cheltenham de Vaige whose effort petered out over the final three fences, and he has obviously benefitted from his association with Alan Hill’s stable because his riding has improved throughout the season.

Cheltenham de Vaige’s owners Matt and Sally Burford were represented by Barney Dwan in the Ladies Open, but after disputing the lead with Killiney Court from halfway these two horses were swallowed up by the eventual winner Blazing Tom and Hawkhurst at the penultimate

The final bend in the Ladies, Barney Dwan (right) is caught by Blazing Tom, while Killiney Court (red and white) is hanging on grimly, with Hawkhurst being produced for a late run

The last West Midlands based Champion rider Julian Pritchard reminishing with Lawny Hill


1ST              DRUMLYNN                   B BROMLEY                  4-5
3RD              FLEUR DU POMMIER

1ST              KAPROYALE                  J KING                           4-7
2ND              RALEAGH FLORA
3RD              EOLE D’UN REGARD

1ST              SIR MANGAN                 B SUTTON                     7-4

1ST              BLAZING TOM               MISS N IRVINE               4-7
2ND              HAWKHURST
3RD              KILLINEY COURT

1ST              ROLLING DYLAN           B SUTTON                     5-1
2ND              GRAGEELAGH GIRL
3RD              GABRIAL THE GREAT

1ST              FESTIVAL DAWN           B SUTTON                     7-2
2ND              MISSTREE SONG
3RD              EQUUS FLIGHT

1ST              NORMOFTHENORTH     MISS I MARSHALL        1-4
2ND              GRAASTEN



Anyone involved in the sport is aware that retirements (both equine and human) are inevitable but when Monday’s Albrighton & Woodland fixture at Chaddesley Corbett came to a close the West Midlands had lost three high-profile participants.

Hannah Lewis set the ball rolling after finishing third on Shometheway in the Ladies and was followed an hour later by Jim Collett (a staunch supporter of the sport for over four decades) who confirmed his departure from Point-to-Point ownership after Rose Iland finally got her head in front in the Mares Maiden.

Hazel Hill’s entry and subsequent declaration for the Members indicated a major announcement was imminent, and an unusually large entourage in the paddock prior to the race, supported that view.

The favourite moved into the lead with a mile to run and after that it became a straight fight with Iftiraaq. Turning downhill towards the second last, it seemed that James King’s mount might spoil the party but Hazel Hill showed his class and quickly put the issue beyond doubt.

It was fitting the publics allocation of tickets had sold out, so the horse got the recognition his exploits deserved and he was given a tremendous cheer when Diana Williams announced his retirement. He won his first 12 races for the family and 19 in total including the 2019 Cheltenham Foxhunters.

Hazel Hill accompanied by Michaela Tallett on their way back to the winners enclosure

Hannah Lewis’s riding career has spanned 19 years and 93 winners but her story had no fairy-tale ending with Shometheway finishing third, but she has the consolation of taking the West Midland Ladies Title for the first time.  

Judging by her two successes at this meeting, it seems likely Lewis is going to be as good a trainer as she was a jockey.

A reflective Hannah Lewis after her last ride

The Upton on Severn handler saddled Grageelagh Girl in the Novice Riders which opened proceedings at 2 p.m. and completed her double 6 races later when That’s Me claimed victory in Division II of the Maiden.

Supreme Danehill and Moonbeg Legend set a strong pace in the Novice Riders with the former paying the price by dropping away quickly with a circuit to run. Daniel Fehily’s mount hung on a bit longer and was still disputing the lead coming up the final hill.

Like many jockeys at this course Sinclair used the final bend as a sling shot into the home straight and Grageelagh Girl had a clear advantage over Aqua Dude and Danny Archer approaching two out.

Katie Sinclair and Grageelagh Girl after their success in the Novice Riders

Ellie Jefferson’s mount continued to make progress, while the leader did not help her cause by slowing into the last, but they quickly regained their momentum and won a little more easily than the neck verdict suggests.

This was a second career success for Sinclair who is based with Fergal O’Brien at Withington in the heart of the Cotswold country. She explained “They went too quickly from the start, so I waited for them to come back to me”.

Katie receives the TCEH sponsored Novice Riders prize from main Covid Steward Nickie Sheppard

O’Brien’s business partner Chris Coley explained “The mare won a bumper at Aintree earlier in her career and then lost her way. We wanted to get her confidence back and after these performances she is likely to return to Fergal”.

Lewis’s double was completed by That’s Me in Division II of the Maiden. Barley Hill and That’s Me had the run of the race but That’s Me hit the front before the fourth last and led his rivals up the final climb.

They were chased into the home straight by Barley Hill but Tom Broughton secured a fine leap from the leader at the last and they recorded a comfortable success.

Chu Chu Percy, Optimised and Ange des Malberaux were prominent during the first half of the Ladies while Shometheway lost her early position. Blazing Tom and Natalya Irvine improved quickly to take up the running as the runners went out on their final circuit.

The pace increased again as they jumped the island fence where Blazing Tom had the advantage over Ange des Malberaux, Streets of London, Optimised and Shometheway.

Turning back towards home Blazing Tom had the race at his mercy although Shometheway did pass three rivals over the final two fences to claim third spot albeit a significant way behind the winner.

The winning jockey stated later “I was flat out for the first circuit but had the opportunity to go to the front down by the roadside. He was foot perfect apart from his mistake at the last.”

A major surprise looked on the cards when Abi Banks and Round Robin took the lead in the Restricted and started up the final hill with a length or so advantage.

Tomb Storme loomed into contention in the home straight and settled down to fight out the finish.

Abi Banks and Round Robin are just about to be swallowed up by Tomb Storme

As Round Robins stride began to shorten Tomb Storme edged clear and with Abi Banks mount making a mistake at the last, the West Country challenger was able to provide the first leg of a double for trainer Annabella Bacon and jockey Josh Cameron.

“I thought we had it two out, but he has no pace at the finish” commented Abi Banks on her way back to weigh in.

12 runners lined up for the Men’s Conditions with James King dictating the pace on Risk a Fine while Uppertown Hawk and Cavs Girl also featured prominently.

Risk a Fine and Ballyboker Breeze opened up a decisive advantage with a mile to run but could not shake off Fifty Shades who had latched onto their coat tails.

Ballyboker Breeze got the upper hand ascending the hill and looked to holding a winning advantage, but Fifty Shades swept past between the final two fences to claim victory.

Fifty Shades passes Ballyboker Breeze between the final two fences

The winner has been on the go since the Wheatland fixture in early December and seemed to appreciate the conditions, thus providing Daniell Ellis with his fourth winner of the season.

James King had to miss Sunday’s meeting at Kingston Blount, due to suspension but rode his 29th winner of the campaign by partnering Rose Iland to victory in the Jockey Club sponsored Mares Maiden.

A 7-year-old by Fame and Glory she has not been out of the frame this season, but it was pointed out that her participation in the Jockey Club sponsored series entitled her previous efforts to be taken into consideration for this major prize.

Carina and Rose Iland led until they were joined by Kostantina and Festival Dawn as this quartet pulled clear from the 14th.

Festival Dawn and Rose Iland eased clear up the hill with King renewing his challenge around the final bend, where his manoeuvre on the inside saved him several lengths.

Everything comes to those who wait – James King drives Rose Iland clear of Festival Dawn approaching the last to gain her first win

The two horses were still locked together at the penultimate, but Rose Iland inched clear of her wilting rival, and that allowed the mare to score what had proved to be an elusive first success.

A scene never to be repeated – a final winner for Jim and Sue Collett staunch supporters of Point-to-Point racing in the West Midlands for over four decades

Interviewed afterwards octogenarian owner Jim Collett was full of praise for trainer Jake Slatter revealing “The mare has never been off the farm, Jake trains her round the edge of a field to get her fit”.

Jim picks up his final piece of silverware

He promptly announced that I’m Wiser Now and Rose Iland would be going to the sales and using his own words “I’m getting out of it now” thus ending his long and successful involvement with the sport.

Collett has seen some wonderful horses carrying his colours many of them partnered by his wife Sue, and we wish them both of them the best in the future.

Division I of the Maiden, saw the days closest finish with any one of four horses in with a chance coming to the last. Coisa Blanco led the runners on the final climb but they were passed by Josh Cameron on Thursdayateight, with Mythical Prince close up in third, while Guinness Village was a couple of lengths down in fourth.

The complexion of the race changed dramatically between the final two fences, with Thursdayateight slowing down and losing his lead, while Guinness Village who was just starting to get up a head of steam, made a mistake from which he was unable to recover.

Thursdayateight leads approaching the last

Starting off up the run in, Coisa Blanco regained the lead with Mythical Prince snapping at his heels, but then Cameron conjured up a whirlwind finish from Thursdayateight which enabled him to claim the prize in the final strides, although his riding did incur the wrath of the stewards.



1ST           GRAGEELAGH GIRL                          MISS K SINCLAIR               2-1

1ST           TOMB STORME                                 J CAMERON                     10-1
2ND          ROUND ROBIN

1ST           BLAZING TOM                                   MISS N IRVINE                   7-4

1ST           FIFTY SHADES                                    D ELLIS                                 6-1
3RD          YEATS ACE

1ST           ROSE ILAND                                        J KING                                   9-4

1ST           THURSDAYATEIGHT                        J CAMERCON                     4-1

1ST           THAT’S ME                                          T BROUGHTON                 7-4
2ND          BARLEY HILL

1ST           HAZEL HILL                                          T O’BRIEN                            2-5
2nd          IFTIRAAQ

Gabrial the Great and Thomas Murray made a welcome return to the winner’s enclosure with an emphatic win in the Novice Riders at Kingston Blount on Sunday afternoon.

As Murray stated in his post race interview “the horse has to have everything in his favour” and on this occasion they were. The horse was running over a shorter distance, had better ground, had course form and a contest that looked weaker than other races he has contested this season.

The 12-year-old ran well behind Deans Road at Chaddesley in April and with that horse winning a Stratford Hunter Chase this was another pointer to his chances, although all these facts were ignored with Knight Bachelor sent off favourite.

Murray settled his mount in mid-field, but then took up a more prominent position climbing Kingston Knoll for the final time.

The runners disappear for a short while down the back straight but when they came back into view, the partnership had a clear lead, and the opposition were struggling.

Gabrial the Great continued to extend his advantage but very nearly threw the race away with mistakes at the third from home and an even more serious one at the penultimate which the partnership did well to survive.

Having overcome these errors, they turned into the home straight with the race in their pocket which allowed Murray to stand up in the saddle and throw his arm in the air to celebrate victory fully 30 yards from the line.

Thomas Murray after his win on Gabrial the Great

Questioned afterwards Murray explained “I am a farrier by trade and just have a couple of Pointers which I train at Elmley Castle, near Evesham. This horse has some ability but everything has to be right for him. He has been sick recently so I was not that hopeful. He goes out in the field every day. I have no gallops so just take him out round the lanes which he seems to enjoy. I came over from Ireland when I was 17, to join Andy Martin.”

Asked about the emotional scenes with his wife Jessica in the winner’s enclosure, he explained “her father passed away two days ago and I think I needed some divine intervention to survive that mistake at the penultimate”

Don Bersy is both brilliant and frustrating and we have seen both sides of his character at Kington Blount this season.

There were excuses for his behaviour three weeks ago where he lost 15-lengths after two false starts before recovering in the second half of the race.

On Sunday we saw his darker side. He got off on level terms with his rivals but within half a dozen strides dropped anchor and decided that was it and quickly lost touch.

Having ridden him on numerous occasions Bradley Gibbs knows all his foibles but he quickly accepted the horse was in an uncooperative mood and accepted defeat before the second obstacle.

With the favourite out of contention, Ben Bromley and the Wheatland qualified Ballykan were left with a relatively easy task. Leading as they came off the hill, the partnership moved clear down the back straight. The Brassmoulder moved into their slip stream, but his challenge was repelled as the leader threw in three prodigious leaps over the final three obstacles.

Ballykan and Ben Bromley after their Open success

Bromley junior, had some big shoes to fill at Phil Rowley’s yard near Bridgnorth following Alex Edwards decision to turn professional. Bromley reported afterwards “the horse travelled well throughout. I was able to give him a breather going up the hill and was where I wanted to be throughout the race”.

Although James King rode a double at Bratton Down the previous day, he was suspended for this meeting, so Tommie O’Brien came in for the ride on the Angela Slatter owned and trained Waterloo Warrior in the Conditions.

As usual the Toddington trained gelding hit a flat spot with O’Brien having to cajole his mount along going out onto their second circuit.

Thomas Junior (two shades of blue) is challenged by Waterloo Warrior on the final bend

Waterloo Warrior responded well and was in touch down the back straight and had the leader in his sights throughout the final half mile. Unfortunately for them, Phil York and Thomas Junior kept finding extra every time the favourite moved up to their girths.

The leader blunders at the last

York (enjoying his 50th success at Kingston Blount) rides this course better than most and asked his mount for a final effort coming to the last. Waterloo Warrior was unable to take advantage of the leader’s mistakes and anchored by a 9 lbs weight concession had to give best on the flat.

It was a frustrating afternoon for Tommie O’Brien with near misses on Waterloo Warrior and The Brassmoulder and he suffered similar fates on French Piece (Intermediate) and Lucky Lucarno (Restricted).

O’Brien had French Piece in a handy position throughout and looked ready to strike as the runners turned out of the back straight. The jockey was just about to deliver his challenge on Jason Warner’s gelding when Getting Closer and Izzy Marshall swept by on the home turn, while O’Brien’s mount lost second place when Robin Why Not passed him in the final 25 yards.

With three placings from three rides O’Brien sought compensation on Lucky Lucarno in the Restricted. Nick Phillips and Ifyoucanseemenow led from the start but looked a sitting duck as their opponents began their efforts in the final mile.

O’Brien and Lucky Lucarno held every chance at the penultimate, but were unable to sustain their effort in the home straight and Nick Phillips pulled further clear on the flat.

Having hit the bar with Lucky Lucarno, Ettington trainer Martin Wanless finally found the net following Raleagh Flora’s victory in the Maiden under Tristram Durrell.

This was an impressive performance by the 6-year-old who had obviously benefitted from his previous run at Kingston Blount. Durrell’s mount made progress down the back straight moving from third place at the fourth from home into second place at the next.

They swept into the lead approaching two out and with the favourite Misstree Song running out of puff sauntered home for an easy win.


1ST                           THOMAS JUNIOR 
2ND                          WATERLOO WARRIOR
3RD                          ORDER IN COURT

1ST                           GABRIAL THE GREAT
2ND                          TANGOED
3RD                          KNIGHT BACHELOR

1ST                           GETTING CLOSER
2ND                          ROBIN WHY NOT
3RD                          FRENCH PIECE

1ST                           BALLYKAN
2ND                          THE BRASSMOULDER
3rd                          PROMIMO

1ST                           IFYOUCANSEEMENOW   
2ND                          LUCKY LUCARNO
3RD                          BONAMARGY

1ST                           RALEAGH FLORA 
2ND                          MISSTREE SONG
3RD                          WATCHING BRIEF

It is normal on British Bank Holiday weekends, to avoid motorways at all costs, but unfortunately for those entered and hoping to run at Bratton Down, this is something which could not avoided.

Owners/trainers and riders always allow plenty of time but Brookethorpe based Jason Warner had to endure a six-hour trip down to Devon, but after three winners which cemented his position at the top of the Leading Owners Award, the journey back would have been and was much shorter.

Prior to this meeting James King and Luke Price were level at the top of the Small Trainers Award, but King helped his rival to take a narrow lead by steering Los Alamos and Blairs Cove to victory.

King and Warner were unsuccessful with Edabean who had to settle for fourth place in the Restricted, but later teamed up to land the Men’s Open with the Luke Price trained Los Alamos.

King was content to track the favourite River Myth before delivering his challenge at the last and drawing clear up the long run in. Warner revealed later that he had brought the winner about three weeks ago and “the drier ground had helped here”.

Price, King and Warner teamed up again later in the afternoon to take Division II of the Conditions with Blairs Cove.

Blairs Cove led from the start and the opposition were unable to get the leader out of his comfort zone and he had little difficulty holding all their challenges up the final hill.

With King suffering from a sore ankle Conor Houlihan took the ride on Best to Come in the Maiden and to crown a fine afternoon for the West Midland based owner, the 8-year-old was ridden off the pace before making progress at the 14th, taking the lead at the last and being ridden out to maintain his advantage as they raced towards the finish.




With lockdown restrictions easing, it is ironic the rules are being relaxed to allow a limited number of spectators to attend Mondays (31st May) Albrighton & Woodland (South) fixture at the Areas final meeting of the season.

Due to Covid only half the fixtures have taken place (behind closed doors) and although certain restrictions are still in place (tickets have to be prebooked to aid Track and Trace), this is a small price to pay to get back on the path to normality.

At the start of the season until the end of March, a bet on James King winning both the Area and National Titles would have been perceived as speculative or even fool hardy.

However, since the restart his strike rate has been phenomenal and he now holds substantial leads in both awards. He will be crowned Area Champion at Chaddesley Corbett on Monday afternoon and as he is 10 wins clear of his nearest rival with just 6 meetings remaining, the National Title is his for the taking.

As well as riding 26 winners between the flags King has also extracted 5 wins from 2 horses Jason Warner placed in his care. He is joint leader in the Trainer (with less than 7 horses) category and landing this prize would be another feather in his cap.

As a jockey he is equally at home, guiding an un-raced and in-experienced 4-year-old to getting the best out of an experienced old chaser; making the running or playing cat and mouse with the opposition before coming with a late burst to land the spoils.

After a dry April, the weather recently has been such that there has been no need for courses to be watered (which is normally obligatory at this stage of the season), and the going is expected to be perfect on race day.

Chaddesley Corbett has a well-respected management team and that no doubt accounts for the fact, the meeting has attracted the weekends biggest entry with a competitive day’s racing looking assured.

With meetings every day of the holiday weekend Kings services will be much in demand, but he will be keen to end the season on a high and looks to have a good chance of landing the Men’s Conditions with Risk a Fine.

The Welsh challenger made a promising return behind Marcle Ridge at Cheltenham. That was a good performance considering such a long absence and with that run under his belt he must give a good account of himself.

Vivaldi Collonges and Ben Bromley have won twice this season but were no match for Don Bersy at Kingston Blount recently, but that may have been an off day. Ballyboker Breeze showed he was no back number with a facile win at Tabley. This course will suit him and he will be difficult to peg back if he gets his head in front.

Jo Priest has a useful second string in Chu Chu Percy, although both of these horses have alternative engagements in the Ladies Open, so connections will be weighing up their options having checked out the opposition.

Duke Arcadio was caught in the dying strides by Garde Ville at Tabley, but he is unlikely to be given as much rope on this occasion. Fifty Shades and Midnight Cowboy will have their supporters, while Uppertown Hawk has obviously shown connections that he retains his enthusiasm but it is too much to expect him to win against this opposition.

Alan Hill and Tom Ellis’s yards are likely to go head-to-head in the Ladies Conditions, with the former holding four entries and the latter two.  Getting Closer is the highest rated of the Hill quartet but is closely followed by Captiva Island, Lisheen Prince and Stage One, while Ellis could saddle Blazing Tom or General Arrow.

Streets of London recent form gives him a winning chance, but Shometheway looks the one to follow. The 8-year-old mare has had the misfortune to come up again three top class horses this season, finishing runner up to Virak, Southfield Theatre and Dubai Quest but there is nothing of that quality in this contest.

Shometheway should be reunited with Ladies Champion elect Hannah Lewis but earlier in the afternoon she will put her training hat on when saddling Grageelagh Girl in the Novice Riders which opens proceedings at 2 p.m.

The mare actually led at the penultimate until fading to finish fourth at Kingston Blount and this course plays to her strengths. Victoria Sollitt rode her on that occasion whereas Katie Sinclair in pencilled in for the ride on Monday afternoon. She has had a couple of rides but this is her best winning opportunity to date.

Sollitt could team up with her own Spanish Arch, while Optimised has to give weight to most of his rivals. Attention Please and Danny Archer have the potential to win while State of Origin’s second place behind Master Sunrise at Shelfield Park is looking better after that horse won again at Edgcote recently.

Edabean, King’s prospective mount in the Restricted is sure to give a good account of herself. She won impressively at Edgcote but was unable to quicken in the final 100 yards when finishing fourth at Bratton Down. That course has a stiff uphill finish whereas Chaddesley home straight is all downhill.

Lady Trifaldi, Man of Means and Risk and Co all catch the eye, but this is one of the most difficult races on the card.

On paper at least, Misstree Song has plenty in hand over her rivals in the Jockey Club sponsored Mares Maiden. She has shown form under Rules but that does not necessarily transfer to the Point-to-Point field. Max Young’s Irish import Clarina finished 6th in an Irish Maiden in April, while Festival Dawn and Viva La Vega need to improve to make their presence felt.

Rose Illand has been placed on all four outings so far this season all against horses that have run well when upped in grade. She has finished runner up twice over course and distance and with James King’s assistance she may finally get her reward.

Maidens as this stage of the season are difficult to evaluate. Most of the runners have had winning chances but have been prevented from doing so for a variety of reasons.

Barley Hill, Coisa Blanco, Howsitdone, Looden and Shamilan all started the season well but have not been able to maintain the same level of form. That’s Me showed improvement on his last outing, while Clive Boultbee Brooks duo of Guinness Village or Milfolhas Has probably have more potential than some of the other runners.

Hazel Hill is the stand out in the combined Members race, but running him in this race would be like taking candy off a baby. Iftiraaaq ran better than he has done all season when second at Tabley and gets the vote in Hazel Hills absence.

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James King rode three winners on Sunday afternoon and with Jack Andrews (16) and Bradley Gibbs (15) both failing to add to their accounts, the West Midlands rider is now 8 wins clear of his nearest rival and well on his way to landing his first National Title.

He must have been questioning the wisdom of bypassing his local meeting at Edgcote in favour of the Knutsford Race Club fixture at Tabley after his first two mounts had been beaten but the tide turned and he then rode three winners to cement his position at the top of the Jockeys Championship.

A James King ridden and Fran Nimmo/Charlie Poste runner (Indigo Sea) suffered a rare defeat in the Tattersalls sponsored 4 & 5 year old Maiden, and the local jockey suffered a further setback when More Buck’s was turned over by Risk and Roll in the Barbara Bostock Mixed Open.

Electing to make the running on the Micky Bowen trained gelding King could never shake off the attentions of Bandsman or the Nickie Sheppard trained Risk and Roll. These three runners drew clear down the back straight, and King’s mount was the first to send out distress signals as they turned back towards home.

Having gone half a length up at this point Milo Herbert was looking round for non-existence dangers between the final two fences and went further clear as they raced towards the judge.

Waterloo Warrior has run consistently all season although that is not reflected in his form figures but after conceding weight to his rivals in early season, connections found a race (Keepers) where it was not necessary to do so.

The 9-year-old took an early lead but was last when the field passed the judge for the first time. With the favourite Bletchley Castle setting a strong pace, King moved his mount into contention with a circuit to run and into the leader’s shadow as these two horses eased clear around the final bend.

First leg of a treble for James King – Waterloo Warrior coasts to victory in the Keepers

The favourite had no more to give whereas Waterloo Warrior had plenty left in reserve and extended his advantage over the final two fences to record a 15-length success.

The winner is trained by Angela Slatter for her husband Ian at their home at Toddington, near Winchombe. “I ride him all the time. We found he had a little bug at Mollington and he looked terrible in his coat. He had a long look at the last but that is just him”.

Ian and Angela Slatter, Laura Marsh and Jake Slatter (right) in the winners enclosure

The Fran Nimmo/Charlie Poste/James King bandwagon rolled on with another success for For Rita in the PPORA Club Members Race. Having won her last two races, the 8-year-old mare was sent off an odds-on favourite but King was content to keep a watching brief as the Mollington winner Knockaderry Flyer set the pace.

King’s mount was just behind the leaders with a mile to run but moved up ominously before taking the lead on the bend by the lake. Iftiraaq came out of the pack to provide the only challenge in the home straight, but with the two horses racing on opposite sides of the course it was difficult to tell who was in front.

For Rita and James King get the better of Iftiraaq on the run in

King scored his third success in the concluding 15 strong 6-year-old and upwards Maiden.

Forest Chimes started favourite on the strength of his run behind Williewonga at Sandon, while King teamed up with the Fran Nimmo trained Mahon Point who had finished unplaced in a Tipperary Bumper earlier in the year.

The lead alternated between Mahon Point, Forest Chimes, Madame Hannah and Spectacular Rival but it had not been a strong pace and six horses were still in contention down by the lake. This was quickly whittled down to two turning back towards home, as Forest Chimes and Mahon Point settled down to fight out the finish.

Mahon Point (pale blue stripes) and Forest Chimes at the last and at the finish

Mahon Point held a narrow lead between the final two fences, but the runner up fought his way back into contention at the last and with Mahon Point hanging towards his rival the race was in the balance but King managed to get his mount back on an even keel and gained the verdict.

King was to prove Tommie O’Brien’s nemesis throughout the afternoon beating his rival in the Keepers, PPORA Club Members and the Maiden and to add insult to injury O’Brien was unseated from the hot favourite Hazel Hill in the Lord Daresbury North West Area Classic Final.

Duke Arcadio adopted his customary front running tactics and the opposition was content to let him have his own way. Mr Snuffles and Hugh Edwards jumped to their left at the 13th which caused traffic problems to the runners behind them and when he did so again at the next Hazel Hill and O’Brien parted company.


Top two pictures – Mr Snuffles  is a little bit wayward at the 13th – while Hazel Hill and Tommie O’Brien part company at the 14th

The race developed into a match between Duke Arcadio (Toby Wynne) and Garde Ville (Immy Robinson) during the final mile and for most of the time it looked as though Duke Arcadio was going to prevail.

He held a 4-length advantage at the penultimate but was sending out distress signals approaching the last and starting off up the run in Robinson’s mount suddenly began to claw back the deficit.

Garde Ville (yellow cap) gets up near the line to catch Duke Arcadio

Duke Arcadio having led from flag fall was caught in the final stride, with Robinson confirming “she definitely got there” on the way back to the winner’s enclosure.

O’Brien did not leave the meeting empty handed as he had teamed up with the Jo Priest trained Ballyboker Breeze to land the Veteran Horse Conditions.

With Bernardelli an absentee, the 13-year-old faced just two rivals and then had just one to beat when Miss Glance was pulled up with a circuit to run. Ballyboker Breeze jumped with his normal exuberance and was always doing enough to maintain a 3-length advantage in the home straight, which he extended as Port Melon had no more to give on the run in. The horse is a credit to connections; he was turned out looking a picture and jumped with the enthusiasm of a horse half his age.

Tommie O’Brien and Ballyboker Breeze sprint up the run in


1ST        GO ON CHEZ                           C WILLIAMS                             8-15 FAV

1ST        RISK AND ROLL                       M HERBERT                             6-4

1ST        BALLYBOKER BREEZE              T O’BRIEN                                1-4 FAV

1ST        WATERLOO WARRIOR            J KING                                      7-4

1ST        GARDE VILLE                           MISS I ROBINSON                   3-1

1ST        FOR RITA                                 J KING                                      8-13 FAV

1ST        MAHON POINT                        J KING                                      100-30

West Midland supporters had their loyalties tested over the weekend with some chosing Tabley, while others preferred Edgcote. The latter had to endure several heavy showers and longer periods of rain, while conditions at Tabley were more springlike. Both meetings saw local successes.

T.V. presenter Luke Harvey could not have been more delighted with the performance of Drumlynn who returned after a two years absence in the Intermediate.

The Cotswold qualified 10-year-old had a protracted battle all the way up the home straight with the race fit Benefaktor with both horses giving their all and neither willing to accept defeat.

Benefaktor (pink colours) and Drumlynn (nearside) are inseperable at the last

They were locked together passing the judge and some people were surprised by the margin of victory afforded to Gina Andrews’s mount, because the official Form Guide race reader opted for a dead heat – however it is the Judge’s verdict that counts.

It was a day of close finishes at Edgcote and there was another in the Mixed Open which went in the favour of Matt and Sally Burford’s Cotswold qualified and Sally Randell trained Barney Dwan.

Fifty Shades looked dangerous with a mile to run, where Jack Andrews was driving King of the Clothe to remain in contention, while Barney Dwan made a couple of small errors.

Straightening up for the judge, it looked as though Barney Dwan would have to settle for minor honours but he was back on level terms when knocked sideways when King of the Clothe made an error at the second from home.

King of the Clothe hold a narrow lead over Barney Dwan

That could have proved decisive but Georgie Benson and Barney Dwan fought their way back into contention and passed their tiring rival to claim the narrowest of victories, but they would have surely gained the verdict in the Stewards Room if the verdict had gone the other way.

The winning jockey was uncertain if they had prevailed “the horse was on and off the bridle but came home best of all so that is all that mattered”, while race analyser Charlie Poste pronounced, she was “a deserved winner after being jumped across two out”.

There was another blanket finish in the Print Concern Supports the NHS Restricted Race where two necks separated the first three home. Bradley Gibbs and Post No Bills made a brave attempt to see off all of their rivals and very nearly succeeded, but unfortunately made an error when it mattered most – at the last.

Aaclassofgold (left), Chongalolo, Post No Bills (green) and the eventual winner Luscious Lilly at the last

Zac Baker produced Aclassofgold who had hit a flat spot entering the home straight with a well-timed run to join issue with the leaders at the last but with the three-horse split across the course, Post No Bills and Luscious Lady fought it out on the stands side while Aclassofgold ploughed a lone furrow on the far side and just lost out in a bobbing finish.

Baker gained compensation for that defeat when Master Sunrise rolled back the years to take the PPORA Club Members.

Sent to the front from the start, Mervyn Jones 12-year-old put in an exhibition round of jumping which stood him in good stead throughout the race. Entering the home straight it just looked a matter of time before the leader was swallowed up by his rivals.

The blinkered Master Sunrise and Zac Baker repel the opposition at Edgcote

Master Sunrise had not read that script however and every time the opposition got within touching distance, he stuck his neck out, put in another prodigious jump and with the opposition unable to match either his enthusiasm or determination the 12-year-old ran his heart out to claim the spoils for trainer Callum Grittiths.


1ST           Ange des Malberaux                                       Mrs A Cox                           8-1
2nd          Aunty Joan
3rd           Bricks and Beams

1st           Benefaktor                                                         Miss G Andrews                4-6
2nd          Drumlynn
3rd           Captiva Island

Mixed Open
1st           Barney Dwan                                                     Miss G Benson                  5-4
2nd          King of the Clothe
3rd           Fifty Shades

PPORA Novice Riders Final
1ST           Sir Mangan                                                         B Sutton                               1-3 fav
2nd          Amigo
3rd           Nesterenko

1st           Luscious Lilly                                                       C Marshall                           8-1
2nd          Post No Bills
3rd           Aclassofgold

Maiden – Division I
1st           Everything Now                                                Miss A Ingram                   5-2
2nd          Craven Bay
3rd           Equus Flight

Maiden – Division II
1st           Hilnamix                                                               D Peters                               6-1
2nd          Vokolohs
3rd           Whotheman

1st           Master Sunrise                                                  Z Baker                                 8-1
2nd          Earlshill
3rd           Frelia

Photo’s courtesy of Graham and David Fisher and Pete Mansell


To use a boxing analogy the main contenders in this year’s Jockeys Championship are evenly matched and as one lands a blow, another matches their efforts so it is difficult to predict who will come out on top and deliver the knockout during the final weeks of the season.

Bradley Gibbs took his weekend total to three following a breath-taking performance on the Ryan Potter owned and Emma Yardley trained Don Bearsy in the Mixed Open at Kingston Blount on Sunday afternoon.

Only the starter knows why he did not release the runners at the first time of asking. We all know there they have to strike a balance between the perfect start and doing the best for each runner and he should have been aware of Don Bears’ histrionics in the past.  

The problem was compounded when the runners were recalled for a second time, and when the starter eventually let them go, the inevitable happened. The Ledbury qualified gelding had to be cajoled along by his rider which meant the opposition had a 15-length advantage passing the judge for the first time.

Trailing the runners as they climbed Kingston Knoll for the first time, Bradley Gibbs mount strolled up to the opposition down the back straight to move into third passing the start. The partnership continued their forward momentum and had actually taken the lead as they went out onto their final circuit.

The opposition did not appear to be unduly worried and given his previous exertions were probably expecting the leader to come back to the field, but having established a 5-length advantage at the top of the hill, Bradley Gibbs set sail for home and soon had their rivals in trouble.

As they appeared back in view Vivaldi Collonges had moved into second place but his challenge was quickly brushed aside as Don Bearsy kept up a relentless gallop. He turned into the home straight with the race at his mercy to score what 6 minutes earlier had been an unlikely success.

Don Bearsy and Bradley Gibbs prove unbeatabale in the Mens Open

Gibbs public comments about the start were printable, while his private ones were not, but he was full of compliments for the horse’s connections “Ryan said to me, if he starts, he wins and he was right. The horse does a bit of everything at home to keep him sweet and he must be the best open horse in the country based on this performance”.

Gibbs, Yardley and Potter with their winner

Asked if he thought about pulling up after losing so much ground at the start, Gibbs remarked “No – once he jumped the second, he grabbed hold of the bridle, pricked his ears and went. Once he gets going it’s a job to hold him. He’s unbelievable”.

An apple a day might kept the doctor away, but a winner definitely keeps the challengers away and James King did just that by taking the opening race on the card, Division I of the Maiden with Night Duty. 

The Fran Nimmo trained 5-year-old was vying for favouritism with Alan Hill’s newcomer Quick Sharpener, but the formers connections obviously had no reservations about making the running and the winner gradually extended his advantage over the opposition down the back straight and turned back towards home with an unassailable lead.

Night Duty and James King land the Maiden

The trainers husband Charlie stated later “He was very professional and came to us from Ireland about 5 weeks ago. That race was lovely to watch and you could not ask any more from a horse having his first outing. It was good display and its off to the sales now”.

Tommie O’Brien suffered a new miss in Division II of the Maiden riding the Alan Hill trained Le Grand Fromage. The partnership performed with credit but could not cope with Dale Peters’s mount Mountain Assault in the closing stages.

35 minutes later and the Hannah Lewis trained Gragreelagh Girl gave a good account of herself in the Conditions. Victoria Sollitt delivered her challenge down the back straight and one was of a host of horses in with a chance down approaching the penultimate. Gragreelagh Girl actually held the lead briefly just after that obstacle but dropped back quickly and eventually finished fourth.

Will Biddick managed to keep in touch with his Championship rivals with a solitary success on Hermes due Gouet in an Upcott Cross Maiden, which means that James King starts the new week three clear of Bradley Gibbs in the race for the Title.

King, Biddick and Gibbs had all been in action at the previous days Minehead Harriers and West Somerset Vale fixture at a rainy Holnicote.

King’s solitary winner was provided by the Mikey Bowen trained More Bucks in the Mixed Open and more importantly they did so at the expense of Biddick and Gibbs.

The West Midland based jockey showed his all-round ability with a masterly display of dictating a race from the front. Leading from flag fall, More Bucks set a steady pace, but King was able to extend his lead entering the home straight with a circuit to run.

King and More Bucks have established a clear lead over their rivals at halfway in the Mixed Open at Holnicote

They held a 10-length advantage at this point but both Biddick and Gibbs sent their mounts in pursuit of their rival down the back straight. Their efforts to do so resulted in Los Alamos’s effort petering out with four to jump and he was pulled up two fences later.

Gibbs and Yeats Ace tried their best in the final mile but More Bucks kept finding extra and was revelling in the soft conditions and cantered home for an easy success.

More Bucks saunters up the run in to land the spoils

Earlier in the afternoon, Gibbs attempt at an all the way success on Boss Baby in the Maiden were thwarted by George Hiscock on Forty Acres, who caught them at the final obstacle and clung on grimly to their one length advantage up the long run in.

Gibbs took his score to the season for 14 courtesy of a double for David Brace, taking the 8-runner Conditions with a facile win under Robin des People, while that horse’s stablemate Gatts and Co had a protracted battle with Russian Invasion before asserting in the home straight.

James King and the Mikey Bowen trained Staple Head had featured prominently in this race until carried out by a loose horse at halfway otherwise the result may have been different.

King rode Jason Warner’s odds-on favourite Ahead of the Game in the Intermediate. Settled at the back of the field King moved his mount into a challenging position as they came back towards home. The held every chance at the second from home but the rain softened ground took its toll and Will Bidisk pulled one back on his rival after claiming victory on Rein de Tout.

Cothelstone on Wednesday evening provides the next instalment in this intriguing battle.



“It’s a game of two halves” is a cliché often used in Football but it certainly a remark that applies to James King during the current Point-to-Point season.

From the start of this Covid interrupted campaign in October until the lockdown in January, King had not ridden a winner from 26 rides, but since the restart on the 29th March, he has had 47 rides and 17 winners.

He now sits at the top of the Riders Championship with a clear advantage over the chasing pack which includes multiple champion Will Biddick, Jack Andrews and Bradley Gibbs.

King went into the lion’s den on Saturday to confront Biddick on home turf and that paid dividends with the West Midlands rider landing a Fran Nimmo trained double with Dr Time in the Print Concern Supports the NHS Restricted and For Rita (Conditions), while Jack Andrews pulled one back when The Rosary Flyer took the Maiden for Tom Ellis.

The next day, these two riders were back in action during the Fernie with Fitzwilliam meeting at Dingley, where Andrews reduced the deficit with a double of Wayupinthebox (Conditions) and Pollards Fen (Maiden – Division I), while Gibbs took Division II of the Maiden with Fier Jaguan who had “won” at Chaddesley earlier in the season.

West Midland riders Tommie O’Brien and Zac Baker were unlucky not to add to their tally at this meeting. Both jockeys produced their mounts with race winning leads approaching the last, before victory was snatched from their grasp on the run in.

O’Brien looked to have timed his run to perfection on Hawkhurst in the PPORA Club Members when they came to the last with the lead but the horse refused to exert himself any further and was repassed by his rival on the run in.

Tommie O’Brien and Hawkhurst are clear at the last, but lost the race on the flat

Baker rode a patient race on Aclassofgold in the Restricted. This partnership came with a sustained run during the final half mile and held a narrow advantage at the last but were completely outjumped by The Triple Pillar and were unable to recover.

Aclassofgold (right) is level with The Triple Pillar 

A Phil Rowley trained winner of the Fernie 4 miler – Minella Friend

All the leading contenders for the Jockeys Title were in action at the Warwickshire fixture at Mollington on Monday and with the exception of Biddick all managed to get their names on the score sheet.

King had high hopes for Blairs Cove in the Conditions, but after leading for much of the contest, the partnership had no answer when Sam Waley Cohen swept past on his father’s Maitree Express to provide the rider with his 99th Point to Point success.

Jack Andrews pulled one back when he forced Midnight King up in the closing stages to get the better of his sister Gina in a hotly contested Members, while Bradley Gibbs enhanced his championship challenge with a double on Rio Bravo (Mens Open) and Gareth Cael (Division I of the Maiden).

Sandwiched in between Gibbs’s double, King teamed up with Jason Warner to land the Retraining of Racehorses and Jockey Club Veteran Horse Conditions with Thumb Stone Blues.

After some early skirmishes Thumb Stone Blues quickly established his position at the head of the field and racing down the back straight for the final time, was being hotly pursued by Green Winter, Bayley’s Dream and Generous Ransom.

King kicked for home after jumping the cross fence at the top of the hill and racing downhill towards the final bend the opposition were left struggling ion his wake which resulted in Thumb Stone Blues having a clear lead as they met the rising ground.

The winner showed no signs of stopping while lack of race fitness meant Green Winter could only stay on at once pace so he was still 8-lengths behind at the post.

This was a good performance by Thumb Stone Blues who has hit a rich vein of form, winning his last four races (three this season) and conceding 6lbs to most of his rivals.

King both trains and rides the winner for his uncle Jason Warner “I was disappointed to get beaten in the first, but hope to keep riding winners. The horse did well, I was struggling to steer him as he was jumping left. We had some back luck yesterday (at Dingley) and I hope to add to my tally next weekend”.

Conditions get worse throughout the afternoon, and that may have accounted for the turn up in Division II of the Maiden. The favourite Wideopenspaces was always prominent and was leading coming down the final hill, but Heron Creek came with a smooth run to pass his floundering rivals on the home turn.

He held a narrow lead at the penultimate which had been extended by the time they jumped the final obstacle and James Jeavons mount started off up the run in with the race at their mercy.

There were no signs of any problems until halfway up the final climb, when the 4-year-old either through greenness or loneliness began drifting to his left. Jeavons responded quickly but the momentum was lost and although gaining again at the finish both Ivebeentold and Festival Dawn had gone beyond recall.

Heron Creek was a desperately unlucky loser but Tom Weston’s 4-year-old should gain compensation before too long.




When the Point-to-Point season went into hibernation due to the Covid lockdown James King’s name did not appear on the list of riders in contention for the Jockeys Title.

Since the enforced break King has come back with renewed vigour and is currently enjoying a purple patch which has carried him to the top of the Rider’s Championship where he is just on front of multiple Champion Will Biddick with Bradley Gibbs breathing down both their necks in third.

The two main protagonists both rode three winners over the weekend, which allowed King to maintain a narrow lead and this battle is providing the right ingredients for an exciting climax to the Jockeys Title.

The end of season normally centres on West Country meetings but this year the revised schedule means the scales are more evenly balanced so the battle is likely to go right down to the wire.

With the Torrington Farmers end of season finale at Umberleigh proving another Covid casualty its potential replacement at Kingston Blount could provide the showpiece which allows the sport to end on a high note.

Having ridden a 33-1 winner at Chepstow the previous evening King showed his Championship credentials by forcing More Bucks home in the Quorn Conditions at Garthorpe.

Tom Ellis’s Kimble winner Al Shahir headed the market but King was determined the favourite would not have an easy race and although their jumping was less fluent than their rivals they always came back for more and the two leaders began to press on at halfway.

Andrew’s mount looked to be going best at the top of the hill but King kept cajoling, pushing and driving his mount and that paid dividends as his mount inched clear approaching two out.

More Bucks kept responding and drew further clear of his toiling rival between the final two fences with Andrews accepting defeat halfway up the run in.
“I was made to work hard for that but he should win a couple more before the end of the season” commented the rider later.

King suffered a setback in the Mixed Open when Always Lion was pulled up when travelling easily soon after halfway with a reoccurrence of leg problems, but the West Midland Area Champion elect was back in the winning grove after partnering Largy Mountain to victory in the Restricted.

Successful at Mollington a few weeks earlier, King had his mount at the back of the field until the start of the final circuit. The partnership made steady progress down the back straight and were poised on the heels of the leader Rebel Dawn Rising as they came downhill into the home straight.

King’s mount hit the front at the second from home and stormed to victory to provide Fran Nimmo with yet another winner.

“He likes a strong gallop, so he can be switched off. He jumps well and likes coming through horses and we had ideal conditions today” King said before picking up his prize.

The rest of the afternoon belonged to Worcestershire trainer Tom Weston. The Hindlip handler did not have any runners between the flags until late March but has hit the bar on a number of occasions since then with 4-year-olds such as Post Chaise, Blackwell Bay and Hollow Style all catching the eye.

His horses have been running well and things finally turned in his favour when Pilot Show made up for those near misses by landing Division I of the Maiden under Luke Scott.

Kostantina set the early pace before By Appointmentonly and Dale Peters took over at halfway but he was never able to shake off the attentions of the two four-year-olds, Pilot Show and Sure Listen (Nimmo and King).

Turning back towards home Pilot Show claimed the lead and despite showing signs of greenness began to ease clear of the long-time leader By Appointmentonly, while Sure Listen had run his race and Go On Chez was apparently floundering in fourth.

Pilot Show leads By Appointmentonly at the last

Pilot Show was far from foot perfect at the penultimate but was still two lengths clear when he dived to his right at the last. He started off up the run in with a clear advantage but Go On Chez was now getting into full stride and swept past two toiling rivals but was unable to reel in the leader who clung on to win by three quarters of a length.

“It’s nice to get one on the board and be competitive at last” said Weston who recalled he had brough the winner as a foal in 2017.

Luke Scott and Pilot Show on their way back to the winners enclosure

Unfortunately, Stumps or Slips looks as though he still has a lot to learn and the Weston representative was pulled up soon after halfway in Division II of the Maiden, but that same remark cannot be associated with King Arise who scored an impressive win in the Flat Race under Luke Scott’s guidance.

Whitsand Bay and Up Next vied for favouritism but there was some support for Gina Andrew’s mount Universal Run with the latter dictating the pace from the start. The tempo increased as they went out onto their final circuit but the order remained unchanged running downhill and the home turn.

King Arise and Luke Scott put up an impressive performance in the Flat Race

Universal Run still held a narrow advantage bypassing the second from home but Luke Scott switched his mount back inside that runner approaching the last and that was the catalyst for them to quicken clear to score by three lengths and provide a second winner of the day for Weston and Scott.

King Arise makes it a double for jockey Luke Scott

The contrast between a well-watered course at Garthorpe and Larkhill on an arid Salisbury Plain 24 hours later (a meeting that had been rearranged to fill the void left by other casualties) was there for all to see with the Wiltshire course attracting just 20 runners, a void race and a walk over.

James King continued his winning run when he teamed up with the Keiron Price trained Best Pal to land the 5 runner Flat Race.

The 4-year-old was sent to the front from the start with King gradually increasing the pace over the final mile, which meant they drew clear of their rivals over the final two furlongs and stayed on well to claim an easy success.

Winning owner Jason Rees said later “We’ve had him for about 9 months after he was brought privately in Ireland. This is our first visit to the course. He is a baby but does everything well. James said once he got round the bend, he let the choke out”.

King reported “He knew the job well so the idea was to make use of him and he was putting in his best work at the finish. He had an over girth on and is not used to it so was playing up in the paddock beforehand”. The horse has Welsh connections but races under a Cotswold Vale Farmers certificate.

King got a good tune out of Jason Warner’s Long Mile Road in the Intermediate. They were prominent throughout but lacked the pace to keep tabs on their rivals in the home straight and eventually had to settle for third place.

Will Biddick did not have to work as hard as King for his success at the meeting with Spencer Moon walking over in the Mens Open and was expected to ride another winner in the 6-year-old and upward Maiden.

Riding the favourite Spring Break they were unable to keep on terms with My Little Cecil during the final mile and Dan Ellis mount strolled home for an easy success.

Tim Sleath’s 6-year-old had pulled up at Higham but is unlikely to find an easier opportunity than this and took advantage of that situation to land the prize for his Berkeley based owner.


Racing behind closed doors is not ideal but is better than nothing and some organisers have experimented with dates to provide a viable racing programme, which was appreciated by those local trainers who took horses to Aldington Races on Friday afternoon.

James Ridley’s enterprise did not pay off with What’s the Problem in the Maiden or Halloween Harry in the Print Concern Supports the NHS Sponsored Restricted, but later in the day Chase Me and birthday boy Zac Baker stayed on strongly from two out to land an Exeter Hunter Chase for his Ketford based trainer and owners Jim and Helen Wood.

Aldington also provided another winning opportunity for Jason Warner and James King who saddled Thumb Stone Blues to land the Retraining of Racehorses and Jockey Club Veteran Horse Conditions for his second win in ten days.

The 11-year-old disputed the lead with Haymount until they quickened at the start of the second circuit with James King saving ground throughout and holding the lead as they raced back towards the judge.

They still held a narrow advantage at the third from home but Thumb Stone Blues needed to be pushed along to cling on to his lead at the next. The partnership were two lengths clear at the final obstacle and stayed on strongly to crown a fine front running performance.

The owner commented later “He is a good horse and loves quick ground and was well trained and well ridden and will win more with a bit of luck so we will keep going until the end of the season”.

If the current dry spell continues it will invariably causes problems but the well watered ground at Chaddesley and at the Bicester with Whaddon Chase meeting at Edgcote shows what can be achieved.

Both meetings produced plenty of runners with the Mares Maiden and Restricted at Edgcote both requiring division on the day.

West Midland based riders won the baulk of the races, while Jason Warner and James King continued their good run with another double, and Upton upon Severn based Hannah Lewis also sent out two winners.

The Oriental Club Owner/Trainer Conditions race was the final event on a marathon 9 race card at Edgcote with 17 horses meeting their engagements in this popular series of races. Unfortunately for 16 of them, their chances were blown away by a spectacular performance by Grageelagh Girl.

A previous inmate of Fergal O’Briens yard for whom the 10-year-old mare performed creditably although her place ratio was considerably higher than her wins total.

She had improved to fourth when the rider saw the opportunity to grab the lead down by the 3 mile start. This move caught their rivals by surprise as their 5-length advantage at the 15th had been extended to double that by the next obstacle.

The partnership continued to pile on the pressure and approached the last with an unassailable lead but with the race in safe keeping Grageelagh Girl hit the top of the final obstacle, pitched on landing and almost shot Vicki Sollitt out of the front door.

Vicki Sollitt and Grageelagh Girl land the Oriental Club race in impressive style

It was a heart stopping moment but had the right outcome as the jockey recovered and the partnership won by a wide margin providing the rider with the second success of her career.

She explained later “We talked about how I should ride the race beforehand and when I saw the gap appear I just went for it. We decided she should come pointing and looked a good ride for a Novice Rider and we will look for something similar in future”.

Sollitt had a military career until she left in 2018 and is now Hannah’s Business Partner. This win and one earlier in the afternoon will no doubt help them promote their Upton upon Severn based Equine company.

The initial leg of Lewis’s double was provided by Lady Trifaldi in Division I of the Mares Maiden. The 6-year-old daughter of Arcadio led early on but dropped back, before making a forward move with a mile to run.

Tom Broughton’s mount had gone well clear as they rounded the bend into the home straight and they gradually increased their advantage to score for Point-to-Point stalwarts Nigel Lilley and Bob Haycock.

“She felt good when schooling recently and Hannah has done a great job with her and she enjoyed the ground” commented the jockey before rushing back to Fergal O’Briens yard at Ravenswell, near Andoversford for evening stables.

The first leg of a double for trainer Hannah Lewis, Lady Trifaldi wins a Division of the Mares Maiden

The partnership was chased home at a reasonable distance by Laura Grettons Worcestershire qualified mare Viva La Vega who ran well for Lauren Poole.

Division II of the Mares resulted in yet another winner for James King/Jason Warner cementing the latter’s position as the sports leading owner.

Tom Weston’s Walk in Clover headed the market and had many things in her favour including a healthy weight concession and she had also run well at Maisemore.

King used exaggerated waiting tactics on Warner’s runner and she was at the back of the field before making a forward move at the 15th.

James King and Edabean (left) get the better of Walk in Clover on the run in

Edabean hit the front turning into the home straight but had a long and protracted battle with Walk in Clover all the way up the home straight. The latter showed signs of greenness by wandering towards the running rail and with more racecourse experience Edabean hit the front halfway up the run in to prevail by 2-lengths.

The mare disappeared immediately after unsaddling by permission from the stewards “she can be a bit silly and I did not want her causing any problems. James said she will win again. She had ability under Rules (for Giles Smyly) and that has stood her in good stead today”.

A familiar site this year – Jason Warner picks up another prize after Edabeans success

King used similar tactics on Ahead of the Game in Division II of the Restricted. Warner’s runner had beaten Mythical Prince over 3 miles over a flat course at Higham so 2 miles and 5 furlongs at Edgcote proved well within his compass.

Frank and Honest and Oscars Fame dictated affairs, but Ahead of the Game was always travelling easily and creeping closer to the leaders down the side of the course.

King’s mount made up ground quickly at the fourth from home, held a narrow lead entering the home straight, led two out, was clear at the last and went even further clear on the flat.

All smiles – Ahead of the Game provides Warner and King with another success

“He is well related” stated the jockey “he has been keen in the past so I wanted him to settle and kept taking a pull. I probably hit the front too soon and he will improve again”, while the owner commented “I ride him at home and ground is probably the factor with his improvement”.

Vivaldi Collonges and Ben Bromley won as an even money favourite should do in the 3 mile 5 furlong Mixed Open for the Edgcote Gold Cup.

King of the Clothe and Happy Larry set the pace but Vivaldi Collonges was always travelling easily just behind them, with the favourite being sent into the lead with a mile to run.

Popelys Gull made a vain attempt to stay with him over the next couple of fences, but Bromley was now in full control and the combination were able to take things easy in the home straight, as Jack Andrews forced King of the Clothe into the runners up berth over the final two fences.

Ben Bromley and Vivaldi Collonges land the Edgcote Gold Cup

If West Midland based horses weren’t winning our riders were with Alice Stevens steering Summer Sounds to victory in the Members, while Zac Baker forced Guttural up in the final strides to rob Will Biddick of a winner on Zertopek in the Maiden.

Top – Alice Stevens drives Summer Sounds to victory in the Members

Bottom – Zac Baker and Gutteral (nearside) about to get the better of Will Biddick and Zertopek

Later in the afternoon Baker had to settle for second place on Martin and Jane Wanless’s Aclassagold in Division I of the Restricted.


Premier Magic was an emphatic winner of Pinfields sponsored The Lady Dudley Cup at Chaddesley Corbett on Saturday afternoon, to add to Bradley Gibbs’s expanding C.V. and his double now puts him hot on the heels of the leaders in the Riders Championship.

The 8-year-old caused a major surprise at the Wheatland by beating Wishing and Hoping and showed that was no fluke by landing a Leicester Hunter Chase on his next appearance.

Based on those performances he was entitled to start favourite, but there was also support for Igor (9/4), with recent Fakenham winner Ennistown (5/2) and Magna Sam (3/1).

The field remained tightly bunched for the first circuit which indicated a modest pace set by Bob Ford, Itstimeforapint and Sir Antony Brown and the tempo did not change until Igor and Sam Waley Cohen took charge in the back straight.

Their injection of pace resulted in Igor holding a slender advantage over Premier Magic, while Ennistown made progress into third.

Racing uphill towards the third from home Premier Magic had galloped his way to the front and was able to extend his lead around the final bend, while Igor challenge began to peter out and Ennistown’s efforts were beginning to hit the buffers.

Premier Magic quickened again to open up a race winning lead passing the 3-mile start and extended his advantage over the final two fences while Ennistown got the better of a protracted battle with Igor to claim the runners up spot.

Premier Magic and Bradley Gibbs at the last

The winner races under a Glamorgan certificate but in fact the trophy ended up going in the opposite direction as Gibbs and his partner Claire Sheriff are now based at her father’s Julian farm at Hatfield, near Welwyn Garden City.

Winning connections and Julian Sheriff and the big race trophy

That move has obviously had a beneficial effect as recent results speak for themselves and Gibbs went on to complete a double when Post No Bills scored an emphatic win in the 3-mile Maiden as the expense of Jim Collett’s Rose Iland who was placed yet again.

Alex Edwards was well on his way to landing a fourth consecutive Area Championship as he built up an almost unassailable lead during the early part of the season, before the Covid Lockdown accelerated his plans to turn professional.

Since the restart James King has slowly chipped away at his lead and victory on Dondiam means the Ettington based jockey now leads in the Title race and is poised to take over as the new West Midland Area Champion.

King has had a phenomenal strike rate (both Nationally and locally) over the last two weeks and now has one hand on the trophy and with just one meeting remaining his rivals will struggle to close the gap.

Most of Edwards early season successes were provided by Mel Rowley who was on board when the Morville based trainer recorded her first success under Rules when The Player Queen won a Cheltenham Bumper last week. The winner incidentally had opened his account in a Maisemore Maiden at the end of the October.

Reports emanating from Fran Nimmo’s yard suggested that the French bred 4-year-old Dondiam was a potential star and those opinions were justified when he jumped the early fences in the 2-1/2 mile Maiden like an experienced campaigner.

There was little change until the field turned uphill towards the third from home, where Dondiam, Whotheman and Between You and Me inched clear of their rivals.

Straightening up for home, the favourite lengthened his stride and saw off the challenges of Whotheman who had to settle second place when Between You and Me weakened back into third.

James King and Dondiam being chased home by Whotheman

The winning trainer praised the course’s preparation “They have done an amazing job with the ground which is very consistent. We always thought this horse was the best of ours and James gave him a positive ride. He said he was running around a bit at the finish, and is now off to the Sales”.

Fran Nimmo and James King pick up their Tattersalls sponsored prizes

Ravished had beaten Southfield Theatre when the pair met at Kimble back in November, but their fortunes have gone in opposite directions since then which made for an interesting clash when they renewed rivalry in the Skinners sponsored Ladies Open.

While the favourite languished in mid field Lilly Bradstock adopted her customary front running tactics and the winner put in one of the best performances of his long career. Dictating the pace of the race from the start, the partnership soared over their fences like Pegasus and gave a performance that will live long in their supporters’ memories.

Son of Presenting attempted to match strides with Lilly Bradstock’s mount but was a spent force by halfway while Bandsman early efforts left him with little petrol in the tank when the pace quickened again in the final mile.

Southfield Theatre held a narrow advantage as they turned up the final hill where Shometheway and Chu Chu Percy both looked dangerous.

Poetry in motion – Lilly Bradstock and Southfield Theatre at the last

Once in the home straight Southfield Theatre and Shometheway quickly drew clear of their remaining rivals and momentarily it looked as though Hannah Lewis’s mount had timed his run perfectly, but that challenge disappeared in the blink of an eye with the leader throwing in more prodigious leaps over the final two fences to crown a brilliant and breath-taking front running performance.

Ballyboker Breeze side stepped an engagement in the Dudley Cup in favour of a tilt at the 2-1/2 mile Conditions.

The odds-on favourite had established an early lead when successful at Maisemore where he was able to jump his rivals into submission but could not get to the front due to the strong early pace set by Graasten and Sambremont.

Ballyboker Breeze took the lead at the fourth from home where he had Tom McClorey’s mount Early Retirement for company. The race developed into a match which went Early Retirement’s way as he had gone clear entering the home straight and Zac Baker’s mount struggled to close the gap over the final two fences.

Winning trainer Gerald Bailey explained “That’s four winners from our last four runners. He was travelling well and I thought he was unlucky at Dingley”. Baily trains the horse for a quartet of owners which includes his wife Caroline, David Docker, John Sharp and Alex Vaughn Jones.

Reigning National Ladies Champion Gina Andrews was seen at her best when taking Division II of the Conditions with Deans Road and the 4 & 5 year old Flat Race with the Ledbury qualified If I Say.

West Midland runners made bold bids to keep prize money in local hands but they kept missing the target.

This fate awaited Gabriel the Great in Division II of the Conditions. Tom Murrays mount led at halfway but was being challenged by Deans Road and Hotel du Nord at the third from home and once Deans Road hit the front their rivals’ efforts petered out.

Gina Andrews and Deans Road on their way to victory

This continued the fine run for Tom Ellis’s Warwickshire stable who had 12 winners from 17 runners during the sports first week back after the Covid lockdown.

As predicted the Members went to a runner carrying blue and cerise hoop colours, it was not all plain sailing as the favourite Diamond King caused problems at the start and Abi Banks did well to maintain the partnership after her mount ploughed through the first open ditch.

Early leader Bon Jette weakened after a circuit, with Diamond King and Silvergrove vying for the lead until the former stormed clear in the final half mile.

Abi Banks and Diamond King land the Members

Before the race all things pointed towards If I Say in the 4 & 5 year old Flat Race. The combination of owner David Redvers, trainer David Dennis and jockey Gina Andrews suggested the 4-year-old daughter of Free Eagle had a lot of things in her favour.

She was given a patient and educational ride with the rider content to let others cut out the donkey work before they made significant progress to go from 7th at the end of the back straight and into third on the home turn.

Andrews switched her mount to the inside on the downhill run into the straight and drew level with Time Bandit and He’s My Shadow passing the second from home.

If I Say swoops late to claim the flat race

The 4-year-old showed signs of greenness when she hit the front but gradually increased her advantage racing towards the judge and eventually prevailed by a length and a half.

Dennis used to train at Hanley Swan, but is now part of Matt Sheppard’s team at Eastnor, while Redvers expanding equine empire includes Tweenhills Stud (who kindly sponsored the West Midland Area Pony Racing).

More used to Ascot but at home at Chaddesley, David Redvers (left) greets his winner

Lauren Poole receives her TCEH Novice Riders prize from Nickie Sheppard


 4 & 5 Year Old Maiden

1st        Dondiam                                 J King                           6-4

2nd       Whotheman

3rd        Between You and Me


Conditions – Division I

1st        Early Retirement                     T McClorey                  4-1

2nd       Ballyboker Breeze

3rd        Maitree Express


Conditions – Division II

1st        Deans Road                             Miss G Andrews          6-4

2nd       Hotel du Nord

3rd        Gabrial the Great


Ladies Open

1st        Southfield Theatre                  Miss L Bradstock         3-1

2nd       Shometheway

3rd        Chu Chu Percy


Mens Open – The Lady Dudley Cup

1st        Premier Magic                        B Gibbs                        6-4

2nd       Ennistown

3rd        Igor



1st        Diamond King                         Miss A Banks               4-5

2nd       Silvergrove

3rd        Little Jimmy


Maiden Conditions

1st        Post No Bills                            B Gibbs                        5-4

2nd       Rose Iland

3rd        Mythical Prince


4 & 5 year old Flat Race

1st        If I Say                                      Miss G Andrews          evens

2nd       Time Bandit

3rd       Hollow Style




The sport has adapted to many challenges this year but is gradually getting back to normal, so a change to the start time is one of the lesser challenges organising committees have to make.

Following the recent statement by the B.H.A., this Saturday’s Worcestershire meeting at Chaddesley Corbett will now commence at 10 a.m. with 30 minutes intervals between racing to allow the meeting to finish before the funeral ceremony of His Royal Highness Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.

The rules have recently been relaxed so owners are now able to attend, which is good news for those who hold entries in The Lady Dudley Cup, the centrepiece of the Worcestershire fixture where all bar two of the 20 entries have a rating of over 100.

Phil Rowley has won this race three times in the last decade and holds a strong hand as he attempts to do so again with Hazel Hill, Salvatore and Vivaldi Collonges. Hazel Hill has the highest rating but was surprisingly beaten over this course in December before winning a Hunter Chase at Ludlow and running fifth in the Cheltenham Foxhunters.

His long-term partner Alex Edwards is now professional and his replacement will do well to match Edwards exploits on a horse he knew so well. Hazel Hill did better than his stablemate Salvatore who was pulled up in the Cheltenham show piece, but the latter has an exemplary record between the flags and could atone here.

It is time the Welsh had another winner of the big race and their hopes rest with Premier Magic who caused a surprise at the Wheatland before Christmas and subsequently won a Hunter Chase at Leicester. With Bradley Gibbs stable in such fine form, he has to be added to the short list.

Ballyboker Breeze was favourite to beat Wishing and Hoping back in 2019 and his recent run at Maisemore shows he is no back number. Zac Baker has every confidence in this horse and their combined strengths will be useful in a close finish.

Barney Dwan went down on his sword at Barbury last autumn but is held by Salvatore on their running at Didmarton back in March 2020 but Sally Randall knows what is required to land this prize.

Ennistown won a Hunter Chase at Fakenham but struggled behind Hazel Hill at Ludlow and it is difficult making a case for him on what he has done so far and that remark also applies to Igor although the Waley Cohens will be keen to repeat their win in the big race following Irilut’s success back in 2007.

Sausalito Sunrise won The Lord Ashton of Hyde Cup when it was last run so stamina is not an issue and he showed his well-being with an easy success at Sandon recently. The Smith Maxwells are another family keen to win this fabulous trophy so don’t be surprised if John Smith Maxwell tests his rivals’ metal and kicks on a long way from home.

Ravished finished 6th in last week’s Aintree Foxhunters but that races sometimes leaves it mark so Cheshire trainer Joe O’Shea will have his work cut out reviving his fortunes in the Skinners sponsored Ladies Open. Back Bar, Barney Dwan and Haymount look evenly matched and it will be interesting to see which one of those comes out on top.

Like the Dudley Cup this race is run over the extended distance of 3 miles 2 furlongs and Southfield Theatre’s front running tactics will ensure a good pace and expose any cracks in their rival’s stamina, and this could pave the way for Clive Bennett’s Shometheway.

She was putting in his best work at the finish of a similar event at Maisemore and the extra two furlongs is in her favour and she has an astute pilot in Hannah Lewis.

No doubt the winner of the Tattersalls Cheltenham 4 and 5 year old Maiden will be making their way to that firms upcoming sale but at least they will be going there with some kudos as this race has attracted entries from all the big “sales” stables.

Between You and Me is based with Dorset trainer Chris Barber from where the horses’ Irish connections have already enjoyed some success and if they could lower the colours of their English rivals that would be a feather in their cap.

Charlie Poste and Fran Nimmo are always an invaluable source of talent in these types of events but Dondiam is their sole representative. Tom Weston’s Money for Jam and Notoriety carry the hopes of his Hindlip yard while Whotheman is the only one with racecourse form but he failed to finish twice in Ireland and that has to be a cause for concern.

Herefordshire based Clive Boultbee-Brooks has enjoyed a successful association with Tom Lacey’s stable, but is now training Pointers in his own name and sent out a winner at Chaddesley before Christmas.

Connections are obviously biding their time with Guinness Village who has been entered at numerous meeting since the season restarted, so take the hint if he lines up, while his stablemate Milfolhas Has holds an entry in the Flat Race later in the afternoon as well as in this contest.

The Conditions is run over 2-1/2 miles and could be a retrieval mission for Arthurs Secret who has failed to sparkle recently, but has several things in his favour. Conditions are unlikely to be as testing as they were earlier in the season, and he will be suited by the shorter distance. It will be interesting to see if he can take advantage of that situation.

Connections may be tempted to bypass the Dudley Cup with Ballyboker Breeze who has won over this distance in the past and his rivals could be in for a torrid time if he establishes an early lead.

Deans Road, Diamond King, Early Retirement and Maitree Express are others to catch the eye, while Gottagottagetaway probably lacks the pace to be involved at the finish.

Fier Jaguen won a Wheatland Maiden back in December but lost it in the Stewards Room after missing a marker, so Bradley Gibbs will be keen to prevent a repeat performance and they will take a lot of beating in the 3-mile Maiden.

It is hard to be optimistic that Jason Warner’s Best to Come will live up to his name, while Mythical Prince’s last run gives his connections a ray of hope, and both Tous En Coeur and Wykham are capable of springing a surprise.

Shamilan’s run over this course in December gives him an excellent chance but he then ran out at Maisemore, so George Daly will need to keep his wits about him to avoid any potential catastrophises, and if so, the horse may provide him with that illusive first winner.

It must be a certainty that the Members will be won by a horse carrying blue and cerise hoop colours with three of the five entries sporting them. Arthur’s Secret and Diamond King carry the hopes of Christine Banks and her family, while her sister Katherine Smith Maxwell saddles Silvergrove.

Lauren Poole’s Little Jimmy has been placed on the odd occasion, while it is difficult to see Tom Grettons unraced Bon Jette scoring on his debut.

16 horses hold entries for the 4 and 5 year old Flat Race with just two of them having racecourse experience including Fountains Chief who chased home He’s a Knowall at Barbury, but whether that form is good enough remains to be seen.

Optical Girl is the second horse with course experience but his third place behind Crews Hill at Revesby Park does not bode well in this company.

Chris Barber’s Rebel Intentions is an unknown quantity but judging by the standards set by the rest of his “Irish imports” whatever beats him will win. Tom Weston’s Hollow Style will have his supporters while Alys Rose may be one for the future.

However, all the signs point to If I Say. David Redvers youngster has impeccable breeding is trained by David Dennis and with Gina Andrews in the saddle this looks the winning combination.