Sunday 12th June 2005
by Lee Glanville
The third and final Bratton Down meeting this season was blessed with marginally better weather than the earlier fixtures. A cool and overcast afternoon greeted a large crowd who saw a healthy total of 55 runners contesting the six races.
Richard Barber's ultra consistent Rimpton Boy gained the advantage for the National Leading Horse award for the season with his eighth consecutive victory in the Ladies' Open. This puts the popular ten year old grey ahead of his main rival Cannon Bridge, who also has eight wins, but Rimpton Boy's third on his first outing this year gives him the slight edge for this title. Rachael Green rode her usual patient race on Rimpton Boy, delaying her challenge until the final bend before asserting over the runner up Let's Fly up the long final climb. Cento finished a creditable third, but Rilly Goschen's mount Chasing The Bride was always struggling to go the pace and finished a well beaten fourth.
Rilly Goschen entered the day only one behind Polly Gundry in their tussle for the National Ladies' championship (18 wins to 17), but Polly now looks to have settled that issue by winning the 14 runner Restricted on Nickit.
Owned and trained by Sue Smith at Lewdown, the blinkered Nickit had been without a win in his ten previous outings this season, but the rider's determination saw him get the better of runner up Offalevel with a storming run up the final hill. "I gave him a breather running down to the last ditch but he responded really gamely up that final climb" said the jubilant jockey. Neil Harris suffered facial injuries when Karing Kenda fell at the 5th in this race.
Askers Jack achieved his third win in succession when stepping up to Open company. Graham Foot's Seavington qualified nine year old took over from Procedure jumping the second last and soon drew clear despite jumping awkwardly to the left at the final obstacle. Chapners Cross ran on well under Tom O'Brien to snatch second, just ahead of Procedure and Mister Club Royal.
Porto sprang a 20-1 shock in the Intermediate, exactly one year after his last success on this same course. Now trained by Nigel Parker for his mother Rosemary at Sherborne, Porto made all the running and set up a 30 lengths lead by half way. Touch Of Flame gradually reduced the advantage from the final ditch, but Porto still had twelve lengths to spare at the post, with
the favourite Beachtime a well beaten third. The winner, who was bought
cheaply by current connections at Ascot sales in April, was the 8th winner of the season for his Lambourn based jockey Ran Morgan. "I would have ridden him myself" said the trainer, "but I tweaked a knee ten days ago and phoned Ran who was on holiday at Hartland for the weekend." It was Ran Morgan's first ride at Bratton Down.
Six of the 13 strong Open Maiden field were still in contention entering the final mile, but it was the Lamerton mare Bluebell Hill who stayed on the stronger to hold High Rocker and Callitwatulike in the closing stages. The winner, who was tongue tied on this occasion, had run well on this course three weeks ago when runner up to Elegant Eskimo. Owner/trainer Chris Cox, who makes his living as a cattle foot trimmer, bought the eight year old at Ascot sales last October. "She is a game mare who needs good racing ground", reported successful Jockey Tim Dennis, who was partnering his 7th winner of the season.
Stepasideboy gave Guy Weatherley his 18th winner of the season when just prevailing over Bob's Lad in the Hunt race. This was a thoroughly deserved success for his veteran owner/trainer Ivan Webber who works as an agricultural contractor at Tiverton. "I still do all the training and schooling at my age" said the sprightly 70 year old owner". Stepasideboy, who looked to finish sore, is also something of a veteran at fifteen. He won his first point to point nine years ago and has also won over hurdles and fences.
Members: 1, Stepaside Boy, G Weatherley; 2, Bob's Lad, D Luff; 3, Spinning Silver, M Woodward. Five ran, 1/2l, 14l, 6.14.
Intermediate: 1, Porto, R Morgan; 2, Touch of Flame, M Miller; 3, Beachtime, Miss C Tizzard. Seven ran, 12l, 10l, 6.12.
Men's Open: 1, Askers Jack, J Snowden; 2, Chapners Cross, T O'Brien; 3, Procedure, C Heard. 10 ran, 25l, 1/2l, 6.03.
Ladies' Open: 1, Rimpton Boy, Miss R Green; 2, Let's Fly, Miss P Gundry; 3, Cento, Miss C Tizzard. Six ran, 1l, 6l, 6.02.
Restricted: 1, Nickit, Miss P Gundry; 2, Offalevel, J Barnes; 3, Erics Way, D Alers Hankey. 14 ran, 2l, 3l, 6.08.
Open Maiden: 1, Bluebell Hill, T Dennis; 2, High Rocker, C Heard; 3, Callitwatulike, W White. 13 ran, 2 1/2l, 6l, 6.22