The heavy rain on Friday evening forced the stewards to inspect the course at 12 noon before the track passed the inspection with flying colours. The only change was the going which was changed to Soft with heavy patches. It was certainly a day for point to point enthusiasts as the weather was cold with driving rain for most of the afternoon. Quite a few racegoers needed the services of the tractor drivers to get off the course at the end of the meeting.
Hadnall trainer Sheila Crow and Nantwich trainer Gary Hamner took the training honours with a treble each and Hamner also rode a treble at the Cheshire course as did Shrewsbury rider Richard Burton, which brought his tally for the season to 29, which extended his lead further in the National Riders Championship.
Sheila Crow and Richard Burton achieved the first leg of their treble very easily with Joe Brown in the Open Maiden race. The Overbury gelding beat the only other finisher Strong King by a distance under a very confident ride from “Burtie”. The winner is owned by a syndicate of owners from Staffordshire which are Paul Berrington from Stone, Clive Archer from Fulwood and Alan Longden from Little Haywood. This is the first time that any of the owners have ventured into racehorse ownership and it looks as if they have struck gold because their trainer Sheila Crow thinks very highly of her charge. She said, ”I was very pleased with his performance and he jumped very well and the ground was no problem. He will improve from that race and I will bring him along quietly before stepping him up in grade.”
Forty five minutes later the same combination were back in the winners enclosure with the improving Darnil who was not extended in beating Cutina. The runner up is trained at Maesmawr, Nr Welshpool by Phil Jones, who did an excellent job as secretary of the Tanatside Hunt for many years. The winner was recording his fourth win of the season for Shrewsbury owner David Rogers. This gelding is one of the trainers’ favourite horses in the yard as she explained, ”I ride him out every day at home and I know how good he is. He is so genuine and is as honest as the day is long. He is the type of horse that would lay down and die for you, he always gives you everything in his work and in his races. The Bangor Final on May 14 th is a possible target.”
Crow and Burton completed the treble with Uncle Neil in the Mens’ Open. The Roselier gelding made every yard from flag fall and found a nice turn of foot between the last two fences when challenged by the “jolly” Another Club Royal under Gary Hamner to pull away by five lengths at the line. The winner was recording his fourth win of the season for Nantwich businessman Nick Morgan. Crow was delighted with her charges win, she said, “He stays really well and just keeps improving all the time. He wouldn’t have blown a candle out today and this is a stiff course.”
Nantwich trainer and rider Gary Hamner is walking on water at the moment following his success on Just Cliquot in the Lady Dudley Cup at Chaddesley Corbett the day before which in pointing circles is regarded as the Holy Grail. He picked up some more silverware following the very easy success of Tinarana Lord in the opening Members race. The Teamster gelding had too much in hand for the Donald McCain Junior runner The Eens and the winning margin of four lengths flattered the runner up. The winner is owned by the crazy gang syndicate which is made up of the trainers mother Gwyneth Hanmer from Nescliffe and John and Brenda Shaw from Bridgenorth. Gwyneth said afterwards that their horse would go hunter chasing next.
Hanmer went on to train and ride the middle leg of a treble with Sarah’s Party who ran out a very easy winner of the Restriced beating Burton on the Steve Wynne trained Scarlet Gunner by a very comfortable 10 lengths. The winner is owned by Eric Pennington from Longville and Pam Thompson from Cressage. Hamner went on to complete the treble aboard Flying Through in the two and a half mile Maiden. The winner is owned by former racehorse trainer Peter Milner who lives just down the road from the course at Tarporley.
24 yr old Sarah Holmes from Kenley Nr Shrewsbury rode her first ever winner between the flags when partnering her own horse Cascum Lad to a 15 length success over Tania Harrison on Mytimie. The veteran gelding is trained at Bishops Castle by Pam Sykes, who is currently on holiday in Spain and judging by yesterdays inclement weather, she was in the right place. This was Sarahs third season riding and she was thrilled to finally break her duck.