Heavy rain fell throughout the afternoon resulting in a rather sparse crowd for the final fixture of the South Midlands Area and the last of the four meetings at picturesque Kingston Blount. The tree lined Chiltern Hills were covered in mist and low cloud and even the Red Kite’s had more sense and stayed out of the rain.
The going was described as good but rapidly changed to good to soft after the first race.
A match to start proceedings, hardly the most competitive of starts. It featured the odds on favourite, twelve year old Lord Philip for owner/trainer/jockey Godfrey Maundrell and the seven year old Caber from Karen Lawther’s yard and ridden by Jessie Lodge.
In the race itself Caber led on the first circuit with Lord Philip putting in some rather slow jumps but the favourite gradually warmed to his task as the race progressed, taking the lead at the tenth. As they came down the knoll for the second time it looked all over as Lord Philip strode some five lengths clear and putting in some fine jumps down the far side. However all credit to Jessie Lodge she never gave up on Caber and rallied at the final fence only going down by half a length at the line.
Lord Philip and Godfrey Maundrell hold Caber and Jessie Lodge at the last
This was only Lord Philip’s eighth run with his only previous win being four years ago in a Larkhill Maiden. As for Caber, all three of his wins also came at Larkhill on a sounder surface when trained by Sally Alner but judging by the way he fought back here, the seven year old probably hasn’t stopped winning yet.
Lord Philip and Godfrey Maundrell led back after victory in the members
1. Lord Philip:, (1/4 fav, touched 1/5) Godfrey Maundrell (2l down first circuit, took lead 10th, good jumps down back straight, all out)
2. Caber ( 5/2) Jessie Lodge (stayed on strongly after last)
Open Maiden over 2m 5f for four to seven year olds
A race full of incidents. Starting as the tape lifted for this short maiden with Me Julie the 2/1 favourite being slightly hampered at the start, jumping off last.
The next bit of drama came at the open ditch, the third in this short maiden. Always A Brownie crashed through the wing giving James Ridley a nasty looking fall (he was ok though and rode in a later race) and at the same fence Mayfair Tambourine refused for Jack O’Rourke.
This led the way for Keesiluv and Iris’s Dream to lead on the first circuit but both of them were constantly hampered by one of the loose horses.
Young Rocky and James Owen catch the [remounted] Mad Professor and James Tudor who stalled at the last with victory in sight
The two market leaders, Me Julie and Mad Professor were held up but both gradually got into the race and were in the lead as they came down the knoll for the final time, however there was drama at the next fence as both fell independently of each other handing the lead back to Iris’s Dream/Jonathon Jarrett and Young Rocky/James Owen. The jockey on Mad Professor, James Tudor quickly was back on his feet, remounting and remarkably managed to regain the lead three out as Iris’s Dream virtually stopped to a walk and clambered over the third last. Mad Professor looked all over the winner at the last but virtually refused with James Tudor just about getting him over the fence, this handed the race to Young Rocky to win by three lengths. The winner was trained by Suffolk trainer Joe Turner.
Young Rocky and James Owen
The drama was still not over as the other faller Me Julie was remounted to take third place past the tired Iris’s Dream.
Young Rocky and James Owen are led back
1. Young Rocky (4/1 op 3’s) James Owen (left 2nd 5 out, joined by rmntd horse 3 out, left clear at last)
2. Mad Professor (5/2) James Tudor (small, held up, took lead and going well when fell 5 out,remtd to regain lead 3 out, 2 lengths clear when clambered over last)
3. Me Julie (2/1 Fav) Mark Wall (2 handlers, 2nd when fell 5 out, remntd to take third)
4. Iris’s Dream (5/2,touched 2’s) Jonathon Jarrett (ap, 3rd when left clear 5 out, grad wknd, finished tired)
p. Keesiluv (12/1) David Bass (led till grad wknd,pu 9th)
p. Archietype (12/1) Matthew Smith (lw, mid div,pu 3 out)
Ro Always A Brownie (20/1 op 10’s) James Ridley (crashed through wing 3rd)
r. Mayfair Tambourine (16/1)Jack O’Rourke (ref 3rd)
Eight runners to post, Meggies Lad and Tanager led on the first circuit though the field were tightly grouped for most of the way. The pace quickened as they went out into the country second time around and as they came down the knoll on the second circuit there was yet more drama as Tanager came down. Luckily both horse and jockey James Tudor were fine as they trotted back across the course. Meggies Lad under Richard Mason, bidding for a hat-trick, continued to lead when he was joined at the last by the two market leaders, Razer Blade on the outside and Chaucers Miller bidding for a four timer with David Turner getting a great run up the inside. In a thrilling finish, Razer Blade ran on the strongest to win by 2 lengths. Trained by Gabe Mahon, this twelve year old gelding won three times under rules for top stables including Nicky Henderson and Nigel Twiston-Davies. Nineteen year old Ryan Mahon rode his first winner just a couple of weeks ago at Vauterhill, he is a jockey to watch for the future.
Razer Blade and Ryan Mahon lead back after victory in the Mens
1. Razer Blade (9/4) Ryan Mahon (2 handlers,oht, mid div,good hdwy to join ldr at last,ro well)
2. Chaucers Miller (7/4 fav,op 2’s) David Turner ( hdwy to join ldrs on inside, stayed on well)
3. Meggies Lad (4/1,op 5/2) Richard Mason (made all, joined at last, good effort, can win again)
4. Brown Flyer (25/1) Nick Oliver (alwys bhnd)
5. Running Times (33/1) David Bass (4th 2nd circuit, grad wknd)
Su Tanager (4/1 from 5’s) James Tudor (going well in 2nd when slipped up flat coming down Knoll
Pu Les The Lizard (14/1) Henry Kinchen (mstke 6th pu 11th)
Pu Dunmanus Bay (14/1) Dickie Barrett (mid div,grad wnd,pu 3 out)
If there was betting in running in Point To Point races then the majority of punters would have been on Father Tom, always travelling well for Polly Gundry, the 2/1 second favourite was held up in rear but making relentless progress to seal issues with a cracking jump at the penultimate fence to quickly put four lengths ahead of runner up Move Over for Ruth Tutton. This was the winner’s thirteenth career win from just 25 races, an impressive strike rate and credit goes to connections. Odds on favourite Home By Midnight was overall disappointing, never really getting into the race for Maxine Filby but doing her best work close home and may need a stiffer test of stamina.
Father Tom and Polly Gundry at the last
Father Tom and Polly Gundry led back
Barrels Pal was fourth for Emily Harbour Also ran Lah Di Dah Lad/Rosie Goodwin, Cedar Chief/Hannah Wintle, The Wiley Kalmuck/Zoe Turner, Dramatic Quest/Michelle Woods, Wings Of Hope/Kim Pullen ( ur 4th)
A shock win in the Restricted with victory going to He’s A Dinger for Barry Logan. An Irish maiden winner, this eight year old gelding had fallen in a match on his UK debut at Andoversford and second last time at Ashorne (only two finished). Trizzy was runner up for Peter Mason, travelled strongly and was the only one to give the winner a race, should find a suitable opportunity. Court Award looked dangerous down the back straight stalking the leaders but weakened three out, he finished a tired third.
He's a Dinger and Barry Logan en route to the restricted [no 8 red with blue and white sleeves]
He's A Dinger and Barry Logan clear at the last
The two market leaders were most disappointing. Lucent from Alan Hill’s local yard, a winner here on his last visit over 2m5f was a well backed favourite being backed in the ring from 6/4 to 5/4, he never really got competitive and was pulled up three out, the same could be said for Mr Cee who also pulled up, maybe that just didn’t like the rain softened going. Also Ran (all pulled up) Allfriends/Guiseppe Gigantesco, virtually to after 3rd fence and jumped a fence behind thereafter, Carvilla/Olivia Maylam, La Ganadora/Dickie Barrett, Moss Mor/Henry Kinchin.
With the rain still falling relentlessly together with a chilly wind many of the racegoers had long gone, so had many of the bookies. Those that stayed probably regretted that decision as a gamble was landed on Phil York’s Dante’s Storm. Starting at 6/4 (commentator Mark Johnson stated it was 6/1 early doors, though I didn’t see it) this unraced five year old was given a patient ride, novicey at the sixth and a mistake before the ditch on the second circuit but he soon took control taking it up five out to win cosily, looks a useful recruit to the pointing ranks. As I have said before his maidens are always worth looking at in the market.
Racecourse debutant Dantes Storm and Philip York claim the maiden
Dantes Storm and Philip York are led back
Runner up was Sorbiediditmyway for Jamie Goss who tried to make all and put in some great jumps, Odds on favourite was Ten Pressed Men for Adrian Wintle, held up he could only run on at one pace. Also Ran, Classey Lady/Rosie Goodwin, pu 3 out, It Might Bounce/G.Tawell, to 3 out, pu, Teresa Tank/Henry Kinchen, fell 7th, Troule Loves Me/James Ridley pu 13th
Drag Hound Open
Grasper stretches for the line in the hound race as Nick Quesnel calls him home
Drag Hound Open
There was no single occupancy today at Kingston Blount.
Despite asking at the entrance, it was £20 per car, unless you wanted to pay £12 to park alongside the horseboxes in an adjacent field with no views of the course.
I was very interested in Alan Hill’s letter in last weeks “Weekender” in reply to a disgruntled racegoer. He stated that “we have been warned that at other courses people have been dropped off the course to avoid paying” although at Kingston Blount there is a charge of £5 for pedestrians anyway. The instructions from the National PPSA are clear, a discount should be offered without question. The committee agreed that for all 2007 meetings a discount must be given for single occupants.
The prestigious Stratford-on-Avon meeting charged £14 into Tatts to see top class Hunter Chase action(even cheaper if you booked in advance). Having received no discount either at the Barbury Castle meeting, it is becoming expensive to follow racing between the flags. The attendances have tended to be down this season and I wonder whether the high admission prices have anything to do with it. There now appears to be better value for money for racing under rules. I have found Al’s spreadsheet detailing the admission prices very useful indeed and would like to thank her for her efforts, it would be good to see it in use again next season.