SUNDAY 25 APRIL 2004
by Peter Mansell
photos by Graham Fisher
Racegoers at Sundays Clifton on Teme meeting at Upper Sapey
witnessed what can only be described “as the ride of the season” by
Geoff Barfoot Saunt in the 5, 6 & 7 year old Maiden.
Riding the favourite Penny Blue for Eastnor trainer Nicky
Sheppard, Barfoot Saunt reported that he started to encounter saddlery
problems as early as the second fence and these got progressively worse
throughout the race. It became
evident that things were more serious than at first thought as the mare took
the lead at the 16th and as she encountered steering problems
Nessarc rejoined her.
With one foot in the stirrups and one foot out, Barfoot Saunt
managed to successfully negotiate the final bend and once he had the mare
back on a even keel, she drew clear of her rivals up the home straight. The
mares Longdon based owners Anne and Fred Leighton have bred several
successful event horses over the past 20 years but this was their initial
success between the flags.
Ledbury’s Julian Prithcard scored a double on horses trained by Dick Baimbridge, with Teme Willow taking the Mens Open for retired Twyning Farmer Stan Warner, while Father Tom took the Confined in the colours of Bromesberrow’s Herbie Sharpe.
Front running tactics were employed on Teme Willow who had taken the measure of the favourite Pretoria dance at the top of the hill and had 8 lengths to spare over that rival at the post. Having dictated the pace in the Mens Open, waiting tactics were employed in the Confined. Father Tom was 15 lengths behind his rivals at half way, but made steady progress into third place by the 15th. Pritchards mount engaged turbo boost between the final two fences and a 4-length deficit at the penultimate had been turned into a 2-length advantage at the last.
Angela Rucker and Do It Once justified favouritism in the Ladies, but were made to fight all the way by Wellburn Boy and Flying Pennant before they asserted their superiority over the last 200 yards.
Three runners faced the starter in the Members with just a length separating the first two home from the start. It was evident that The Writer was travelling better than his rival over the final three fences and that view was confirmed as Rob Hodges mount prevailed in a close finish to land the spoils for Bredenbury trainer Lucy Sherwood and her co-owner Rosemary, Viscountess Boyne.
Two North Cotswold qualified horses took the Restricted and 8
year old and upward Maiden.
Campden Kitty has run consistently with enjoying the best of luck since her Maiden win back in 2003, but she ran away from her rivals during the closing stages of the Restricted to score an effortless win for owner Sue Collett and trainer Fred Hutsby.
There was a collective sigh of relief from Emma Bakers Naunton stable after Jolly Jakes win in the Maiden. The 10-year-old has been second eight times in 20 races and lost out by the shortest of short heads at Andoversford recently, but the result was never in doubt when Ed Walkers mount went 10 lengths clear approaching the third from home. A Proper Charlie threatened to spoil the celebrations as he moved up threateningly 2 from home but that effort was short lived and Jolly Jake ran on well to record his very first victory.