Saturday 2nd April 2011
by Stella Havard
BOUQUETS FOR BRAMPTON BRYAN GROUND CREW
The United Hunt point-to-point meeting at Brampton Bryan attracted a near-record crowd, and the meeting enjoyed a carnival-like atmosphere.
Clerk of the course, Wayne Tuffin and his assistant, Richard Bebbington worked tirelessly to provide perfect conditions at the riverside course, and their efforts were well rewarded, 74 runners going to post during the beautiful afternoon.
The connections of every single winner praised the going at Brampton Bryan. Emma Alvis, trainer of Clive Bennett's Ruari who justified favouritism in the first race, the Confined, said "We wouldn't have run him if the ground here hadn't been so good, he had a leg injury a couple of years ago, and we wouldn't have risked it." Clive Bennett was stewarding at the fixture, and expressed relief that the stable's luck had changed. "That's our first winner this season, let's hope we can put all the problems behind us now!"
Guy Wilson, acting as trainer for his son Hugh, who was in London making a wildlife documentary, greeted Arbour Hill after his Restricted race victory with similar enthusiasm. "This horse has suffered with foot problems, but the course is perfect. This is my first visit here, but it certainly won't be my last!"
Forty Acers, trained just over the county border, was a fairytale first winner for Samantha Manning, who is better known for producing show ponies. The ex-Martin Pipe inmate made all under Josh Hamer to delight owner David Manning. "This is my 41st winner, but the most important one of all as it's the first trained by my daughter." Samantha's partner, Lee Enstone is a former flat jockey, who was quick to thank Donald McCain for the use of his gallops.
Trainer Caroline Robinson was stewarding at the Uttoxter National Hunt fixture and missed Immie Robinson galvanising Whistling Straits at the final obstacle to nip clear and steal the Ladies event from long-time leader, Bosham Mill (Jane Williams). "He's an older horse, and everything has to be right for him –and today it has been," smiled David Robinson.
The six year old mare Pickersleigh (Sam Drinkwater) outgunned the white-faced Sweet Sparkle (Ray Rogers) after the last to land a very satisfying win for owner Mervyn Jones. "Very professional!" commented Mike Daniel, the trainer. "We bought her in Ireland last year, having run in training hurdles."
Kimbolton-based trainer, Sarah-Jayne Davies greeted her 8th winner of the season when the athletic Coddington Lass held off the challenge of Interpleader (Mark Barber) in the two and a half mile Maiden race. It was a sixth victory for her partner, Jeremy Mahot. Owned by breeder, Heather Chapman, in partnership with Antonia Deuters, the mare is 'a busy character, always on the go' and is trained out of the field as much as possible.