Eyton on Severn basked in glorious sunshine on Sunday. A large crowd, well in excess of 10,000, enjoyed a really good days racing. It’s been a very good Easter for Shrewsbury rider Richard Burton. He completed a treble at Sandon on Easter Saturday, but more significantly, he completed his 200 th career win aboard High Chimes for the Sheila Crow yard. This was the second of Edward Crow’s nominated “dark horses” from the yard to win this season and remarkably, this is his 11th dark horse to win over nine seasons from eleven selections, which is an incredible 100% strike rate.
Two days later “Burtie” once again took the riding honours with yet another treble, which put him on the 24 winner mark for the season. This time around they were the first three races on the card. The first leg came aboard Pot Shot in the opening Members race. The 1-3 well backed “jolly” beat the only other finisher Oneanthreequarters by 10 lengths, despite jumping to the right throughout much of the race. The winner is trained at Bishops Castle by Pam Sykes and the gelding is co-owned by Richard’s father Rob from Longner Hall at Uffington and Les Griffiths from Tenbury Wells.
Thirty-five minutes later Burton was back in the winner’s enclosure following a brilliant riding performance aboard the giant of a horse, Maringo, in the Open Maiden race. Coming over the last fence, Strong Weld had a lead of two lengths with Waggy under David Mansell in second and Burton third on Maringo but in a power packed finish, the latter prevailed in the final stride to win a thriller by a neck from Waggy with Strong Weld, who looked all over the winner, only third. The giant Kadalko gelding who stands at 17.4 hands was bought as a yearling in France by his owner Richard Kent from Market Drayton, who works at Helshaw Grange Stud. The winner is trained at Cholmondley by Donald McCain Jnr who said afterwards that his charge was still a big baby and added that he was still growing.
The same combination completed a double at the Shropshire course following the bloodless success of Cornish Gale in the Mens Open. The former chaser under rules with Paul Nicholls never came off the bit under Burton to beat the odds on jolly Be My Friend by 25 lengths. This was McCain Juniors first ever double as a trainer. The winner is owned by the flamboyant entrepreneur Derek Malam from Nantwich who bought the horse to run in the Bangor Final, a race that he has won twice before.
Another man with his sights set of the Bangor Final is owner Mick Mann from Solihull following the very cheeky win on his horse Christy Beamish in the Confined. The Paul Jones trained Jolly Jake gelding had far more in hand under Gary Hamner than the length and a half over Karinga Lane suggests. A jubilant Mann said afterwards, “ He has now won his last four races and didn’t he do it easily today. I was third in the Bangor Final a few years ago with Garyspillane but this is a much better horse and I am looking forward to going back to Bangor with him.”
Once again clerk of the course John Beddoes had the course spot on, which was reflected in plenty of runners. In was also a good day for Beddoes as his daughter Sammie made every yard to win the Ladies Open on the Heidi Brookshaw trained Home Made, who was all out at the line to repel the renewed challenge of Tessa Clark on Gaiac by a length. The runner up is trained at Malpas by Nicki Hugo, who is the clerk of the course at Eaton Hall. The winner is owned by Pip Harney, the joint master of the North Shropshire Hunt, who lives at Mobberley, near Knutsford.
Tarporley trainer John Swindells has a very useful type in Braeburn who was not extended to win the Restricted by 25 lengths from the William Kinsey ridden The Sky Is Blue. However it could all have changed six out when the trainers daughter Gemma Swindells made a good recovery after a bad blunder at the fence. The winner is owned jointly by John Swindells and David Wood, who lives in the next village to the trainer at Eaton. Swindells is planning to run his charge next in the Intermediate race at Eaton Hall next Sunday.
One of the best finishes I have seen for a long time came in the first division of the two the half mile Maiden. Ben More under Michael Keel and No Keep with David Greenway in the plate had a battle royal to the line. No Keep was headed four times, but regained the lead on the jam stick to win an absolute thriller by a head. Winning trainer Pete Morris from Malpas said afterwards that he had his charge had been tubed two months ago and it made a hell of a difference to him, adding that being able to breath on his own had given him confidence. The winner is owned jointly by father and son David and Mark Vaughan. The latter lives in Tilston and the former at Colwyn Bay. Morris bought the horse privately for them in Ireland last year.
The second division of the Maiden was just as exciting. It is not often that you see Richard Burton jumping the last with a lead of half a length and getting turned over, but that’s exactly what happened over the last on the Sheila Crow trained mare Saddlers Cloth, when he got touched off close home by three parts of a length by Mark Jackson on Castle Frome. Sarah Jackson trains the winner at Leominster for Dimock owner Peter Nash.