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Vale of Aylesbury with Garth & South Berks
Kingston Blount
Saturday 17th April 2010
by Laura Ellis

Official Ground: Good to Firm

A huge crowd turned out in the sunshine to see a great days racing on well-watered ground. The feature race of the day was The Southern Grand National over 4m 2f.

The first leg of the Alan Hill/John Mathis double opened racing in the Confined when Mad Jack Duncan came home an easy 8 lengths in front of Velvet Dove (Pete Mann). Confidently ridden and kicking clear 5 fences from home, favourite backers were never in any doubt. “He had lost his confidence a little with Alan King, but this smaller scene is suiting him and he will probably go Summer racing next.” Advised Alan Hill of the winner.

Hill and Mathias followed up in the 4m 2f Mixed Open with Mysaynoway on her first appearance on the course since December. Ridden patiently, the winner passed long time leaders Presenting Express (Fenton Ramsahoye) and Euro Bleu (Phil York) 5 fences from home and came home on the bridle by an easy 8 lengths. Based with Alan’s mother, Sheila, the winning mare has overcome ongoing niggles at home, “She has suffered with one poisonous foot after another and I was about to give up but she’s done that really well. John has made that look easy, but she’s quite a tricky ride.” Explained Lawney Hill.

The second double of the day came from Johnny Bailey. The first leg in the 2m 5f maiden when deputising for Peter Mason aboard the promising 4 year old Turtlethomas, Mostly mid division, the winner made good headway to track the leaders 4 out to come home a convincing winner in front of Showman (Pete Mann). “Peter Mason has done all the work with him,” Advised winning owner Norman Thomas, “That’s his 4th run this season so we’ll probably put him away for the year now, or he might head to the sales.”

The largest field of the day went to post in The Restricted where If You Must provided Johnny with the second leg of his double. Suited by the quick ground the winner settled well to make strong headway after the 13th fence and see off the challenge of Sir Ronan (John Mathias) by 1 and a half-lengths. Owned and trained by John Pritchard and labelled as “my best hunter”, the home bred does all his work on grass strips on the farm as well as Hunting and the occasional Racing Rally at Pony Club with Ben Way, John’s step son, who also rode his first ever winner on the horse last year. “He goes best on the quick ground and we’ll probably head to our Members at Ashorne in a couple of weeks.” Advised the winning Owner/Trainer.

Reward for perseverance came in the Open Maiden race when Boddington Lad came home in front to provide Phil Nichols with his first ever winner. Knocking on the door for a while and particularly unlucky on his previous run at Whitfield when getting caught on the line by the remounted Uknowitmakessense, there was no danger this time on the quicker ground and the winner came home a convincing 10 lengths in front of Mister Cee Jay (Jack Watson) and Jolt (Henry Kinchen). “The soft ground just finished him at Whitfield, he’s much better suited to the quicker ground today. It’s great for the family too because he’s home bred, out of our winning mare Goldtrapper.” Advised the winning jockey, 19, who rides out part time at Alex Hales as well as studying at Morton Morrell College.

After a lengthy delay to allow for the return of the ambulance following the fall of Jessie Lodge who suffered a broken wrist, The Novice Riders Race went to Chicuelo who made it 2 from 2 this season, this time partnered by Ella Mahon who shares the horse with her twin sister, Lara. Mostly mid division the winner put in some fantastic jumps to pass long time leaders Baodai (Nico de Boinville) and Claridge to come home in 6 minutes 18.

On topic in The Club Members Conditions was Ashstorm (Graham Tawell) who came home in the tightest finish of the day to see off the ever-present challenge of Ambrossini (Phil York) by a short head with The King of the Angels a further 2 lengths back in third. The winner travelled well throughout and stayed on strongly from 4 fences from home to jump into the lead at the last, “He’s been in great form at home and ran off with Jimmy (Tarry) yesterday so we knew he was in good form. We originally thought we would run him in the 4 miler, but with the ground a bit quicker we thought we would stick to this race.” Advised the winning jockey.

A great days racing with generous sized field, which pay obvious credit to those who prepared the course particularly in regards to the consistent watering which equated to the equivalent of 1 inch of rain. For me, one for the notebook would be Turtlethomas who came home an impressive winner under a good ride from Johnny Bailey.

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