MONDAY 26 MAY 2003
by Peter Mansell
Mondays Albrighton Woodland meeting at Chaddesley Corbett
provided the best the sport has to offer; competitive racing, close
finishes and all enjoyed by a capacity crowd on a sunny afternoon in the
Julian Pritchard and David Mansell both rode doubles but
successes on Teme Willow (Mixed Open) and Mildan Grace (Maiden) were not
sufficient for Pritchard to retain his Area Riders Championship. The
Ledbury based rider was seen at his very best on Teme Willow, who
prevailed by a short head over Supreme Citizen in a pulsating finish to
the Mixed Open. Teme Willow adopted his customary front running tactics
and led the field a merry dance from the start. They were hotly pursued by
Jane Williams and Supreme Citizen down the home straight and the runner up
was gaining ground with every stride on the run in but Teme Willow was
adjudged to have prevailed by a short head.
Pritchard had an easier task on Mildan Grace for
Worcestershire trainer Alan Hollingsworth. The 7-year-old was at the back
of the field for the first circuit but made stealthy progress to join the
leaders at the 15th and quickening clear of his rivals over the
final two fences.
Many adjectives have been used to describe David Mansell's
riding style of which the most complementary is probably unique, but it is
also effective and the Herefordshire based rider steered Jalcanto to
victory in the Confined while Almost a Day was successful in one of the
three divisions of the Maiden.
16-year-old Worcester Schoolboy Tom Weston had this race in
safe keeping until Caught at Dawn hit the penultimate and paid the penalty
which allowed Jalcanto to coast home to victory and secure the prize for
owner Tom Hayes and his Suckley based trainer Jonathan Rudge.
Almost A Days connections were entitled to their celebrations
after the 9-year-old had landed a division of the Maiden under David
Mansell. The horse has finished runner up on four previous occasions this
year but was not going to be denied on this occasion although it needed
all of Mansells considerable efforts in the saddle to landed the prize for
Longdon farmer Keith Bayliss.
Two small stables based at nearby Kinver were also
successful. Winning Town taking the opening Members for
owner/trainer/rider Sophie Talbot after Mr Naborro's effort had petered
out between the final two fences, while Sharlom prevailed in the
Restricted for Charlotte Jones one horse stable.