The North West Hunts Club brought the curtain down on a very successful season in the North Western Area. Clerk of the course Rob Hankey had did a fantastic job with the ground; I walked the track before hand and it was genuine good ground and this was reflected in the runners, which resulted in two races being divided, making a total of eight races on the day.
Once again the Shropshire rider Richard Burton took centre stage with a treble at the Cheshire course, putting him on the 43-winner mark for the season. If Burtie had one hand on the National Riders championship before, then he now has both hands firmly clasped around the trophy and he has an unassailable lead over Julian Pritchard going into the last few weeks of the 2005 season.
The first leg came aboard Livingonaknifedge in the second division of the Maiden. The Classic Memory gelding improved his jumping out of all recognition to land the spoils by a length-and-three-quarters from Beau Jake at the post. The winners jumping had let him down on his first two starts, but he came good yesterday at the third time of asking. Sheriffhales trainer Caroline Robinson said after the race that her charge was on a learning course and added that he would have learned a lot from winning the race. The winner is owned by the Concertina Racing Five syndicate, which is run by John Tyrell from Clitheroe.
The middle leg came aboard Victorias Boy who made virtually every yard under Burton to win unchallenged by 12 lengths from Four Opinions in the North West Club Members race. The winner is trained at Skipton by Wendy Wild for owner Joe Coates, who is also from that neck of the woods. Wild said afterwards that that her charges next outing would be in a hunter chase at Cartmel at the end of the month, a race that he won two years ago and he was third in the race last year.
Burton completed the treble on the Sheila Crow trained Darnil who got the better of a battle with Soundtrack in the Mens’ Open. Both horses never gave an inch for most of the three miles, but Darnil won the battle by a very comfortable 12 lengths. The winner has been a model of consistency for Shrewsbury owner David Rogers, winning five races and finishing runner up three times from eight starts, which is more than enough to ensure that he is crowned the champion horse in the North West for the 2005 season. Winning trainer Sheila Crow from Hadnall thinks very highly of her charge she said, “ I ride him out every day in his work and I know how good he is. He has a lot more speed than people think and give him credit for. I said to Richard (Burton) before the race that the runner up would force the pace, so we decided to take him on and it has worked a treat. He is a really serious horse with plenty of ability.”
The Ladies Open was won by Jane Williams on Madge Carroll, who took up the running three out for a comfortable success over the veteran Class Of Ninetytwo under Sue Sharratt, which was enough to win her the Ladies Area Championship in the North West. The winner is trained by the riders mother, Diana Williams at Enville. She bought the horse in Ireland last November on the recommendation of trainer Tom George and it was a very shrewd buy as this was his fourth win of the season. The recovery of the race was a remarkable one by Kelly Bryson on the second favourite Running Mute. At the last fence before starting out of the final circuit she came out of the saddle sideways and somehow got back on and got her feet back in the irons to jump the next fence, but any chance she had of winning the race evaporated after that blunder.
Northampton trainer Caroline Bailey visits this neck of the woods about as often as Lord Lucan and she made her first ever visit to Tabley a winning one when Persian Silk hacked up under John Russell in the second division of the Club Members races for Novice riders. Russell’s victory ensures that he wins the National Novices Riders Championship, which as Bailey explained afterwards was the reason that she came to the Cheshire course.
The first division of the Club Members race for novice riders went to Monsieur Tagel by four lengths from Young Tomo. It will be day that 32-year-old Kelda Wood from Cholmondley will remember for the rest of her life as it was her first ever winner between the flags. The French gelding is trained at Smeaton Hall, Renbury, near Nantwich by Ann Glasford who bought the horse privately from trainer Ian Williams a week before Xmas.
The first division of the Maiden was won with ease by the mare Lady Lambrini under David Gater, who beat the well-backed jolly Striking Distance by eight lengths. Artful Harry under Tessa Clarke was a further six lengths back in third. Mark Williamson who trains the mare for his wife Lisa at Saighton Hall, near Chester said afterwards that a campaign under rules was now the plan with the mare.
The “Getting Out Stakes” was the Intermediate and punters backed the Paul Morris trained and ridden Lima Bravo off the boards. Favourite backers had to settle for second best to Oh So Droll under Will Kinsey who galloped his rivals into the ground to win by six lengths from the favourite. Kinsey who trains the winner himself at Aston, near Tarvin recorded his 5 th winner of the season, his best tally to date and the winner rounded off a good afternoon for young Kinsey as the gelding is owned by his father Richard.