Prior to the start of racing at 1.30pm, the Shropshire course was packed to capacity yesterday with racegoers basking in glorious sunshine. Ten minutes later after racing came under starters orders, there were quite a few who resembled drowned rats following a very heavy sustained rain shower, which resulted in conditions around the bookies and the paddock on a par with a mud bath. Despite this, there were some decent racing with plenty of runners and it was an excellent way to sign off racing at Eyton on Severn for the 2005 season.
One man who did not mind the rain was Shrewsbury rider Richard Burton, who is now within touching distance of regaining the National riders championship, which he last won two years ago, following a treble at his local course which put him on the 39 winner mark for the season.
The first leg came aboard Pristeen Spy who won the Members race for the second year in a row. Burton made nearly all the running from flag fall to beat the Heidi Brookshaw trained Pennyahei by 20 lengths. The winner is trained at Hadnall by Sheila Crow for Nantwich owner David Heys.
Crow and Burton completed a double for the middle leg with the mare Saddlers Cloth in the second division of the Maiden. Despite jumping to the right for the last half-mile, she had some 20 lengths in hand over the runner up Seize The Moment. The winner is owned by the trainers husband Edward, who was delighted to see his colours carried to victory, adding that Richard (Burton) told him afterwards that she only started to hang to the right when he got at her to win the race and he said that it was just greenness. Edward Crow also picked up the trophy as his division was the faster time by 6 seconds.
Richard Burton completed the treble in the Mens’ Open aboard the improving Cornish Gale, who despite hating the ground wore down the long time leader Mister Moss for a comfortable 4-length success. Ginger McCain Jnr trains the winner at Cholmondley for the flamboyant entrepreneur Derek Malam, who has penciled in the Bangor Final in a fortnight for his horse. Malam at one time owned the runner up, whom he used to have in training with Gary Hamner.
Just over an hour later McCain Jnr and Derek Malam were back in the winners enclosure following a very smooth success with The Eens, who put in a foot perfect display under Ed Bourne to beat the hotpot Precious Bane readily in the Confined .The Eens, marked a notable landmark for Derek Malam as it was his 50 th winner as an owner.
The Ladies Open was a cracking contest that developed into a dual up front between Kelly Bryson on the Philippa Shirley-Beavan trained Running Mute and Sammie Beddoes on the Heidi Brookshaw trained Home Made with the former prevailing by a length to win a thriller. The winner is trained at Hawick for owner James Vestey who bred the horse himself, whilst Pip Harney, the joint master of the North Shropshire Hunt, owns the runner up.
The first division of the Maiden was won by Nominate under a very confident ride from Rhys Hughes, who had plenty in hand to win by 5 lengths from David Gater on Lady Lambrini. Initiate ran on very well to finish third a further 8 lengths away. There was a huge groan from the crowd when the well backed jolly Kings Reason fell four out and the sight of the old enemy jumping up and down and cheering after the favourites exit was enough to make grown men cry! Nominate is trained at Shobdan, Nr Leominster by Steve Flook, who bought the winner at the Ascot Sales last summer. The Desert King gelding is owned by a syndicate who are made up of the trainer, Glyn Jones, Tom Jones and Phillip Mathews, all of which are from the Leominster area.
There remains little doubt that the most popular winner on the card judging by the reception in the winners enclosure was the Penny Grainger trained Glacial River, who made virtually every yard from flag fall under Clare Rowson to win the Restricted with plenty in hand over Nikilorr at the jam stick. The winner is owned by the rider and trained at Keepers Cottage Cookley, Nr Kidderminster by Grainger, who said that on his previous form he deserves to win and should not have been a 33-1 shot.
The best formula in this neck of the words for owning winners between the flags or training them is to be a clerk of the course or a former one. Names that spring to mind include our area chairman Roger Everall, Phil Jones and Eyton’s present clerk of the course John Beddoes to name a few.
Ken Edwards, the former clerk of the course at Bitterley, who lives at Craven Arms, found himself in the winners enclosure after the easy 12 length success of Scallyweld, whom he bred himself. The winner is trained by Geoff Evans at Lowbridge on the Bitterley course. Evans who has 16 horses in training at his yard was pleased to get off the mark for the season. Speaking after the race, he said, “It is good to get off the mark as we have had 10 seconds recently. I was pleased for the owner and I thought Mark (Wall) gave him a great ride and he will be riding a lot more for me in the future.”
Once again the clerk of the course John Beddoes came in for a lot of praise from owners, trainers and riders alike. This was reflected in all the runners at the course. Racecourse commentator Eric Windsor said during commentary that he had never seen so many horseboxes at Eyton, which says it all really.