Saturday 15th April 2006
by Arthur Shone
It made a welcome change to cover a point-to-point meeting without thermals or with about four layers on. Prior to this fixture on a mild spring day every other meeting in the North West has taken place in freezing conditions; the previous fixture in Cheshire has everything from heavy rain to sleet and snow.
It was also a day when Shrewsbury rider Richard Burton completed a notable land mark by riding his 250 th career winner aboard Darnil, who finished alone to win the Men’s Open. Burton went on to complete a treble and his principal trainer Sheila Crow from Hadnall took centre stage once again with a treble, this was her 20 th winner of the season.
Darnil from the Sheila Crow yard finished alone to win the Mens Open with Burton in the plate but it may have been a different story if the Pam Sykes trained Pot Shot had not tipped up at the last under William Hill when upsides. The winner is owned by Dave Rogers from Shrewsbury, who looks odds on to retain the trophy he won last year with Darnil, who was the area champion horse. Crow and Burton went on to win the Intermediate with Which Way Now, who beat the only other runner Tom Brown easing down by 25 lengths. Crow said afterwards that he was a very serious horse who would be going places next season; she added that Burton comes down each morning to ride the horse.
Racing is a game of ups and downs, as was demonstrated by the Goodall family from Sutton-on-the-Hill, near Derby. Their horse Think On was going ominously well before breaking down badly two fences from home under Jonathon Jarrett in the Open Maiden; sadly the horse was so distressed that he had to be put down. This left the race at the mercy of the Sheila Crow trained Kong King, who found a good turn of foot to win going away with the trainer’s nephew Charles Huxley in the plate. It was a bit like the Crow monopoly, as the runner up Hot Chocolat was trained by her brother Gordie Edwards and the winning owner was her other brother Roy Edwards from Blakeley Stud who also bred the winner. Huxley who works for the trainer was recording his second winner of the season. Crow thinks very highly of the winner, speaking after the race, she said, “I have always thought that he was a bit special. Charles rides him in most of his work at home and he gets on very well with him. He is a serious horse who will come on from this race.”
Sheila Crow and Richard Burton were backed off the boards in the Getting Out Stakes, the Restricted to land the spoils with Classic Tilly, but the combination fell at the fourth last, which resulted in a huge groan from the start. This left Anshampshire under William Hill and Proud Andees with Stuart Ross aboard to fight out the finish, the former prevailed by three and a half lengths. The winner is trained by Wolverhampton trainer Paul Jones and ran in the well known Lord Harry colours of Michael Parr.
Forty minutes later the Goodall family were in the winner’s enclosure following the success Of Althrey Dandy in the Ladies Open, who made virtually every yard from flag fall under the trainer rider Carly Goodall to win by a fast diminishing half a length from Trooper under Emma Burton. The winner is owned by the trainers mother Janet and her father Brian said afterwards that his daughter puts a lot of work in getting the winner fit and he added that it was small consolation for losing Think On in the previous race.
Another lady trainer in form is Sherrifhales trainer Caroline Robinson. Her charge Whistling Straights was a very impressive winner of the two mile five furlong Maiden under the champion rider Richard Burton. The combination took up the running two out and pulled clear to beat Apostile Stamp with Sue Sharratt in the plate readily by 8 lengths. The winner is owned by a syndicate, which is made up of the trainers father Jeremy Beasley, Martin Oliver from Holt, near Worcester and the Hibbett family from Clitheroe. Robinson was delighted with her winner; speaking after the race, she said, “He is a full brother to Tidal Bay, who just got touched off in the Aintree bumper. Richard ( Burton) said that he has so much natural ability and he said that he was running away with him in the race. This race will have educated him and he will improve a lot from it.”
Only four runners went to post for the opening Members race, which went to Redskin Raider who made virtually every yard under Sue Sharratt to beat Frightening Fred under John Buxton comfortably by two and a half lengths. The winner is trained by the rider Sue Sharratt at Rugeley and is owned by a syndicate headed by Sue Sharratt, Neil Alsop, Lynn Hartley and Chris Mallard; the latter is a former master of the North Staffs and most of the owners are based in the Eccleshall area.