The Albrighton meeting at Chaddesley Corbett opened the new season in the North Western area, albeit outside the area. The weather forecast prior to this meeting had been worthy of an X certificate rating, the met office had forecasted heavy rain and strong winds, but thankfully it did not materialise and point to point enthusiasts enjoyed a dry day, which was a bit on the chilly side
The meeting attracted a decent crowd given the advance weather forecast, those that stayed away missed a cracking afternoons racing. There were plenty of runners and all the usual spills and thrills associated with this great sport.
Racing got underway for 2010 in the North West with the Open Maiden for 4,5,6 &7 year olds. The race went to the Cathy Twiston-Davies trained Rathconrath with her son Sam in the plate, the Bullington gelding made virtually all with a superb display of jumping to win cosily by two and a half lengths from Dammam, with the aptly named Themanfromeyton a distance back in third, the gelding is owned by the clerk of the course John Beddoes and trained by Ben Furnival at Oswestry. The winner was bought as a 3yr old by the trainers husband Nigel Twiston-Davies who gave him to his wife to sweeten him up point to pointing, the trainer said after the race that the penny was starting to drop at last with Rathconrath.
The older Maiden race produced the best finish of the day, coming to the last fence there were virtually three horses in a line, but on the run to the jam stick it was Golden Harvey under Ryan Mahon who found the better turn of foot to beat Burtie by the official margin of two and a half lengths lengths, looked more like three parts of length, Prince Aeneaf was a further half length away. The winner is a former inmate from the Sheila Crow yard, who is owned and trained by Jessica Scott at Harnage, who is also the secretary of the South Shropshire hunt.
The Sophie George trained Island Flyer had too much class for his rivals in the Men’s Open under Luke Morgan, the combination were always holding the runner up Up There winning readily by a length and a quarter. The winning trainer was represented at the course by her husband Tom who trains under rules. Speaking after the race, he said, “Two years ago the winner was favourite for the Hennesy at Newbury, but completed lost his way that is why we put him pointing, he hated the tacky ground, but we had to run him to get him qualified for the Liverpool Foxhunters.
Another decent performer under rules was the ex Paul Nicholls trained Pertinent who was not extended under Dan Collins to win a decent Dodson &Horrell PPORA Club Members race for novice riders winning by 12 lengths from David Griffiths on Prioritisation. The winner is trained by Charlie Whittaker at Radstock, who owned the horse jointly with his grandmother AngelaYeoman, when trained under rules by Paul Nicholls. Whittaker also pointed out that his grandmother owns Taranis with Paul Nicholls, who is currently 25-1 for the Cheltenham Gold Cup.
The easiest winner of the day was provided by the Sue Taylor trained Mad Victor who galloped the opposition into the ground in the Ladies Open under Claire Allen, winning eased down by 10 lengths from Whistling Straits with Immy Robinson in the plate. The runner up is a full brother to Tidal Bay, a leader contender for the champion chase at the Cheltenham Festival. Sue Taylor trains Mad Victor between the flags and her partner Paul Jones trains the horse under rules. Speaking after the race Jones said, “That’s his second win this month, and he has not had a race today he could have gone around again. I will have to start looking for a hunter chase for him now, he is in at Ludlow this Thursday it’s a possibility. I was pleased with the manner of his victory today as he has just kept improving with each race. The winner is owned by The Paternosters Racing Partnership, which is headed by David Hughes from Albrighton, the rest are made up of myself and four other keen sporting people from Shropshire.”
Seventeen runners went to post for a competitive looking Restricted. The race went to Uppertier under Gordon Hopkinson who produced a decent turn of foot to beat Creach Bay going away by 10 lengths with the running on All Thyne Greats a further seven lengths back in third. The New Frontier gelding is owned by the riders mother Clare Hopkinson and trained at Lemming Hastings by Julie Marles. This was only the 21yr politics student at Bristol university’s second winner , his previous win at been on the same horse last season at Ashorne.
Only three runners were declared for the Members race, but they all ran. Victory went to the improving Glidewell under Jonathon Jarrett who galloped his rivals into the ground, in the end the combination finished alone.The winner is owned and trained at Shifnal by Neale Dalton, the chairman of the Albrighton Hunt. Dalton thinks highly of the winner, he said, “He just keeps on improving, he has now won a Maiden and Restricted and now a Members, I will probably run him next in an Intermediate race at Bangor in two weeks time.”