SUNDAY 14 MARCH 2004
by Mal Davies
Photos by Graham Fisher
was a very poor day’s racing at the usually well subscribed Whitwick Manor
on Sunday; the meeting, postponed from the original date in February with
entries standing, was beset by mass defections from the entered horses and
just a handful lined up in the eight races. The weather wasn’t overly bad,
though there was a gale blowing most of the afternoon.
MISS MOSS under local stalwart Ray Rogers won a two-horse affair in the members, from favourite No Fiddling ridden by her owner Rachel Reynolds.
The Confined field had looked interesting at entry stage, and nine faced the starter. Victory, in a fair time, went to favourite CAUGHT AT DAWN and Tom Weston, a distance clear from 8-1 shot The Archdeacon and Tim Stephenson. Hijacked attracted some support, but was pulled up by Dave Mansell on the first circuit, and in truth, this left the favourite very little to beat. Highbridge ran better than a bare reading of the form might suggest, and will be better for the race.
Mens’ Open was a weak affair, with just four going to post, although they
were evenly matched. There was some money for Steve Flook’s Shamel, who
had run at the Leicester hunter chase meeting earlier in the week. He
flattered to deceive and was probably beaten when falling two out, leaving
the way clear for SPEED BOARD and Jason Cook to clean up. Lyphards
Fable was second. Persona Pride put in a very blotchy performance for Jon
Trice-Rolph, and may not have appreciated the clinging ground. The winner
will struggle to take a stronger event.
If the Mens’ Open was a poor race, the Ladies version was even worse. In fact, it is the poorest race I’ve seen, maidens included for a couple of years. The four runners’ form figures read Allotrope PFPP-PP, Dunston Heath P0-UU, Fuero Real P-P8PP and Lord Castle PPUP-PU. It was frankly dreadful fare. For the record, punters managed to send LORD CASTLE off as favourite, and he obliged, after a fashion, beating the only other finisher Allotrope by 18 lengths. Allotrope looked totally wiped out at the line, and as I didn’t see him come back into the paddock, I hope he was OK.
TOM PUTT took the restricted, another race with no strength, by 5 lengths from Paddy Betalot, with Huntersway back in third. There was heavy support for the new Irish import of Dick Baimbridge’s, Father Tom, but he slipped and decanted Julian Pritchard before we could see what he was made of. He must be worth another look.
The first division of the maiden was a fair race, by the standards of the day, and Steve Flook’s BEAUCHAMP ORACLE was a decisive winner from Classic Fable.
The day finished with two other maidens, the first providing most of the day’s drama as the Flook horse Legend Of Light unseating Steve Hughes at the last with the race at her mercy. This allowed the longstanding maiden SNITTON WEST to nick a fortuitous victory. He’ll surely struggle in Restricted company.
Tim Stephenson pocketed the last aboard his own NEW LODGE EXPRESS, from Kirkfield and Stockton Wolf.
Shame about this meeting; it is usually massively popular, and maybe the switch to a Sunday didn’t help, given that there was also a rearranged meeting at Eyton up the road. Its hard to say I saw anything which looked worth following next time.