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V.W.H.
SIDDINGTON
19th March 2005
by Geoff Handley
photos by Phil Britt

Following the thrills, spills and excitement of the Cheltenham Festival it was back to the rural charms of nearby Siddington. This historic course has held Point To Point racing since 1934 but the Vale Of White Horse Hunt (founded in 1831) actually held races under rules at Oaksey Park in the village of Oaksey. Three Grand National winners competed at Oaksey, Ally Sloper runner up in the VWH Chase went on to win the 1915 race at odds of 100/8 to give Jack Anthony the second of his three winners (he also won on the 1911 on Glenside and 1920 on Troytown). Eromon won the 1907 race at Liverpool (a well backed 8/1 shot) having won the VWH Foxhunters and finally Father O'Flynn won the famous race having won the Open Hunters Chase. Racing finished at Oaksey Park in 1914 and racing moved to nearby Siddington. 

Weather conditions were superb with a clear blue sky bringing out the crowds in force for this annual event unlike last year where the high winds forced the abandonment of this fixture. Not sure what the going was as it was never posted on the number board and I did not hear it announced although those who walked the course thought it was rather dead in patches.
 
Hunt Members  

Only four went to post (same as last year before it was abandoned) and victory went to the favourite Lord Ken who won by 2 lengths from Fair Kiowa. Winning jockey Nick Phillips did well to stay on board as the winner made a bad mistake at the last. Market rival Raka King jumped well in front before weakening in the home straight to finish third. Lord Ken had only completed once this season from four attempts when second at High Easter but has the ability though to score again.


Lord Ken and Nick Phillips take the opening Members Race


Lord Ken and Nick Phillips


Lord Ken beats Fair Kiowa by 2 lengths in the Members race
 

Confined 

Martin Ossie was the hot favouite for this ten runner affair having already winning three times this season at Didmarton, Tweseldown and Cottenham and he duly obliged at odds of 1/3 for rider Julian Pritchard and trainer Dick Bainbridge. Bred by owner David Smith, this eight year old is a progressive and likeable pointer. Always up with the pace, he merely had to be pushed out to win by two lengths from Rockcliffe Gossip. One to take out of this race was outsider Captain O'Neill who was in the lead when taking a crashing fall at the 14th.


Julian Pritchard and Martin Ossie clear the last to take the Confined Hunts race


Julian Pritchard and Martin Ossie


Runner up Rockcliffe Gossip with Miss G Emitage

Mixed Open 
Julian Pritchard made it a quickfire double on board the well backed Royal Jake (5/2 from 5/1) causing the favourite Seef to drift in the market. Royal Jake was always up with the leaders and held on well from a strong challenge from Peter Mason on Love At Dawn who despite looking a bit relunctant early on showed the form that took him to win easily at Dunthrop. The favourite Seef was back in third.

Royal Jake had run twice this year, unplaced in a Sandown Hunter Chase and a promising third behind Katarino at Didmarton. Trained by Andy Hobbs at Ledbury, he can follow up.


Julian Pritchard and Royal Jake after winning the Mixed Open


Julian Pritchard completes a double on Royal Jake with Love at Dawn less than a length away


Seef (Steve Bush) in the Mixed Open race
 

Restricted 

An exciting finish to his nine runner affair with Brer Bear just getting the better of favourite Saint Reverien and Beau Gosse. There was a strong gallop from the outset and George Walters on board Brer Bear pounced two out. Trained by Emma Insley and a winner of a Lockinge maiden last season, he was second last time behind Martin Ossie at Tweseldown. Andy Hobbs was denied a quick double but Saint Reverein should soon be winning again.


Brer Bear and George Walters after wining the Restricted race


Brer Bear gets away from the last with Saint Reverien and Beau Gosse just at the fence in the Restricted race


Race winner Brer Bear leads Tom Ellis on Rommel, Jolly Jake and Ed Walker with Brook Farm Mayfly just behind in the Restricted race
 

Club Members For Novice Riders

Ten went to post for this novice riders event with victory going to the favourite, The Major for Ben Tuckey. Bought at the Doncaster sales by Mike Tuckey, this twelve year old chestnut gelding ran in the Topham last year and has recorded victories at Barbury (to give Ben Tuckey his first win) and Mollington this season. Market rival Carbonado was a close up second and is worth following next time.


Katie Branson and Maltby Son in the Members race for novice riders


The Major with Ben Tuckey holds off the challenge from Carbonado R Shute in the Members race for Novice riders


The Major with Ben Tuckey in the Members race for Novice riders

Confined Maiden (Div 1)
The maiden was split on the day and the first division produced an amazing victory for Silken Thomas ridden by Sarah West. Set off in front Silken Thomas pulled miles clear with a splendid display of jumping galloping the rest of the field into ground. A fence clear for most of the way, he was home and hosed whilst the others were still running and was one of the easiest maiden winners I have seen for years. The programme stated that Silken Thomas lacks stamina and maybe the other jockeys thought he would come back to the field. The two market rivals were both greys, Rohan the favourite came down on the second circuit when still with the chasing pack and Spring Dawn finished runner up.


Adrian Wintle and Che Guevara with Ben Shaw and Party Pops in Division 1 of the Confined Maiden race


Sarah West and Silken Thomas impressive runaway winners of Division 1 of the Confined Maiden race


Sarah West and Silken Thomas winners of Division 1 of the Confined Maiden race
 

Confined Maiden (Div 2) 

This time it was Sherwood Rose who led from start to finish. A well backed 6/4 shot, she soon had the field in trouble and ran out a gamewinner for Mick Harris with Aitchjayem running on for second spot for Felix De Giles. Mental Picture and Mocho Wood both came down at the fourth last when making some headway.


Masitat with Peter Mason in Division 2 of the Confined Maiden race


Sherwood Rose and M Harris comfortable winners of Division 2 of the Confined Maiden race


Sherwood Rose and M Harris take the last to win Division 2 of the Confined Maiden race

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