SOME GOOD BATTLES AT BRAMPTON BRYAN!
The large crowd at Brampton Bryan for the Teme Valley point-to-point proved that an abundance of runners are not needed to enjoy a good afternoon's racing, and every finisher was well-applauded.
Clerk of the course, Crawford Gibbons had worked hard to provide the best possible ground in the recent arid conditions, and his efforts were well praised by those who ran their horses.
Six horses went to post for the 'needle match' Member's race, and it looked as if every one of them had a chance as they turned into the back straight for the final time, where events literally took a dramatic turn. Lousa, ridden by Sarah Myhill, one of the official doctors at the meeting, was leading the pack when she slipped on the bend and bought down Catch The Bus and Market Bob. Lathyrus and Barry Denvir luckily avoided the carnage from which all emerged unscathed, and cruised clear to give Ludlow owner-trainer, Robert Cooper his first winner between the flags. Robert, formerly a successful rider on the point-to-point circuits, originally bought the horse for his wife Debbie to ride, but was pleased to supply Barry Denvir's first winner of the season on this occasion. Frustratingly, Barry has only recently been passed fit to ride following a niggling shoulder injury he sustained when riding in Australia. "It's a relief to get one on the board!" he commented with feeling.
Miss Lightning may have seemed a little cavalier in her treatment of a couple of the fences during her front-running victory over Gunnadoit (Rob Hodges) in the Confined, but jockey Jeremy Mahot was unmoved by her disdain, keeping the partnership well intact to land the first leg of a double for both him and the flying Sarah-Jayne Davies' stable. He employed similar tactics with Robin & Maureen Phillips' Tara Gale, who had 15 lengths to spare over Hollow Ranger (Ben Poste) in the Men's Open event.
It looked as if the Davies/Mahot partnership were on for a treble when favourite Sahara's Dream hit the front in the Intermediate, but the raider Comrade Bob swooped in the final strides to grab the glory by a neck with trainer/rider, Peter Mason. Owner, Lt-Colonel Wright, was lavish in his praise for the ground conditions, and the fortitude of his jockey. "Bob's a cantankerous sod at home, and habitually bucks Peter off, but he's a good young trainer."
Pat Tollit is currently a bit under the weather, but sent instructions that Fergal O'Brien was to run Virginia Preuil despite her absence. Pat's granddaughter, Phinie Banks, sent the quirky gelding into the lead at the start of the Ladies Race, and Upton Legend (Sarah Jayne-Davies) was never able to make a serious challenge.
The Restricted race was another two-runner nip-and-tuck affair with only a short head between them at the wire. The handsome grey, Cloud Venture, who has not been the easiest to train, enjoyed making the running with Rob Hodges, but was just pipped on the line by Carbon Emission (Johnny England) giving Ludlow trainer Patrick Hanley his first winner of the season. "I bought him cheaply from Ascot after a tip-off from a friend in Ireland," explained Patrick, who is based with NH trainer, John Needham. "We sorted his problems and then turned him out for a year. We fancied him last week at Bitterley, but he ran out two from home, so Johnny did a heart-stopping job of leaving it late today!"
The judges had another close finish to deliberate for the Open Maiden, with Interpleader (Mark Barber) besting No More Pennies (Ben Poste) by the narrowest of margins. Beautician Sheila Lewis, who trains the 6 year-old for her father, Brian Davies, was thrilled with her charge. "He was a cheap horse, and he's my hunter who does full days- and the kids ride him too!" The family are much better known for their success in the harness racing world from their Brywin's stud near Sennybridge.
Next fixture in the Welsh Border area – Cold Harbour, Sunday May 1st. 2pm. ( Verti-drained & Watering)