Sunday April 17th 2011
by Arthur Shone
The Cheshire Hunt point to point meeting at Alpraham took place in a heat wave, which attracted a bumper crowd. Clerk of the course Hugh Holbrooke had watered the course all week to ensure the going was no worse than good to firm for the fixture. Despite his efforts, it was a case of spot the runner at the Cheshire course, with only twenty horses competing in the seven race card.
The Men's and Ladies Open races were just matches, whilst the Members was a walkover for Ice Tea under Richard Burton, the Glacial Storm gelding is trained by Sian McCain at Cholmondley and was owner Derek Malam's 90th winner as an owner.
Burton completed a double aboard the Sheila Crow trained Enter Paradise in the PPORA Club Members race; the Moscow Society gelding showed a decent turn of foot to win heavily eased by twenty lengths from Shady Anne, who is trained by Sheila Crow's brother Gordy Edwards. The winner is owned by Richard French. Sheila Crow thinks a lot of the winner, speaking after the race she said, "He loved the ground today it was perfect for him, the plan is to step him up in grade and hopefully find a nice hunter chase for him."
Malpas trainer Ollie Greenall recorded his first double as a trainer in his first season training. The first leg came aboard Rydale Lad in the Open Maiden with the trainer in the plate, the combination took up the running on the approach to the last fence and won cheekily by four lengths from Perryston Prince who had finished in front of the winner last time out at Eyton on Severn. The winner is owned by Charles Barnett, the chief executive of Ascot racecourse, a role he fulfilled previously for many years at Aintree and Chester. Speaking after the race Barnett said, "I remember owning a horse than won about thirty years ago in my riding days. I bought this horse as a hunter, and he is not great so I decided to have a go at pointing with him."
Greenall completed the double in a controversial Restricted with Family Guy, who was ridden by Sam Allwood, the combination beat Heezebehindyou under Will Kinsey by twenty five lengths. Witness This, the heavily backed jolly under Stuart Ross unseated the rider at the start, the starter called a false start and then sent the remaining two horses off at the second attempt without Witness This, as Stuart Ross was injured with a suspected broken leg. The Stewards held a lengthy enquiry lasting almost twenty five minutes. The result was that the result stood and they deemed that Witness This had not come under starters orders, which meant that punters got their money back and that racegoers who backed Family Guy saw bookmakers deduct 60 pence in the pound from the winnings.
Only two runners went to post for the Men's Open, which was won in a hack canter by Josh Hamer on Fourty Acers who never came off the bridle to beat Prelude Destruval under Sam Allwood by a distance. The winner is trained at Norbury Common by Samantha Manning and runs in the well known colours of her husband David Manning, who had this horse under rules with David Pipe before deciding to run him between the flags at the start of this season. Hamer who works for Donald McCain rides the winner out most morning on McCains gallops at Cholmondley.
Hamer went on to complete a double in the two and a half mile Maiden aboard Over The Wings, who finished alone after Sir Mulberry Hawk under Ollie Greenall and Sam Allwood on Cirrus Coin had tipped up at the same fence in the back straight. The winner is owned By Jim and Joy Baker and Arnold and Val Davies from the West Midlands and trained by Geoff Evans at Ludlow. Evans was elated when I spoke to him afterwards, he said, "He deserved this win today, I thought he would have won at Eyton last time out, and now he has got his head in front he will improve a lot from the race. Bloodstock agent John Smith bought the horse privately in Ireland from Paul McGill two years ago and he was here today to see the horse win."
The Ladies Open was also a match, which saw Jane Williams on the Will Kinsey trained Le Seychellois make every yard from flag fall to beat Jenny Lane on Luke Lively by a cosy 15lengths. The winner was the champion horse in the North Western Area last season when trained in Anglesey by Richard Hewitt, Hewitt gave up training at the end of last season and sent his horse to be trained at Chester by Will Kinsey, but he retains a half share in the horse with John Stocker. This race was almost a walkover as the owners and the trainers mother Julie Kinsey were stuck in traffic for forty five minutes due to an accident ten minutes from the course, they declared the horse in the nick of time, which was virtually dead on declaration time.