Eyton on Severn basked in glorious sunshine yesterday for the South Shropshire meeting between the flags, which attracted a huge crowd. Clerk of the course Johnny Cornes had done a good job of watering the course, which ensured ample runners at the Shropshire racecourse.
Shropshire rider Richard Burton took centre stage after riding his 400th winner in the Men's Open aboard the Angela Rucker trained Cedrus Libani who came home by a distance from Give Me Love. The winner had finished runner up previously to Surenaga in the Lady Dudley Cup and paid the winner a huge compliment after this easy success. The Beneficial gelding is co-owned by the trainer and her husband William Rucker, who was full of praise for Burton when I spoke to him afterwards. He said, "I am so pleased for Richard at reaching this milestone and we are delighted that he has ridden his 400th winner on one of our horses at his local track. I am not sure where Cedrus Libani will run next, it will depend if Richard is still in contention to win another national riders championship."
Burton went on to complete a double aboard the Stuart Ross trained Mr Wickham in the Open Maiden. The Sonus gelding was very impressive winning by a distance from the well backed Overtly Blue. Ross would have ridden the winner himself, but is currently crocked with a broken ankle. The Kelsall trainer was due a change of luck after two of his horses were killed in point to points over the Easter period. The winner is owned jointly by George Crimes and Ed Shaw from Tarporley, who were recording their first winner as owners.
Burton's mount Shales Rock from the Caroline Robinson yard was backed off the boards to win the two and a half mile Maiden, but could only finish a six length second to Don't Look Bach, who made every yard under Dave Mansell with Cirrus Coin was a further length back in third. The winner is trained at Abberley by Zoe Hammond and is owned by Don Constable from Market Drayton. Speaking after the race Constable said, "I bought him at the Tattersall Sales and he has always had ability, I thought he was our best Maiden last year and he was the only one that didn't win." The race was marred by the death of the Stuart Ross trained Flipperty Blue.
The same combination of Hammond, Constable and Mansell completed a double after the success of Timeshift in the Confined, winning by a length from Sam Allwood onboard Chibuku with Shady Anne from the Gordy Edwards yard with Will Kinsey in the plate a further three lengths back in third. Hammond was elated when I spoke to her afterwards, she said, "This is my first double as a trainer and also it is Don's (Constable) as well. He finished second in a couple of bumpers when trained under rules by my husband Mike. I'm pleased for Don as he is a great supporter of the yard."
Constable was the first to congratulate the connections of Witness This after the gelding had won the Restricted under Adam Wadlow by two and a half lengths from Will Kinsey aboard Glenarouske. Last season Witness This had provided Constable with his first ever winner at his local course when winning the Maiden at the track. He was then sent to the Brightwell Sales and was bought by Tarporley trainer Katherine Diggle for owner Jan Wood.
The Aga Ladies Open saw Le Seychellois win his third race in eight days under a very confident ride from Jane Williams. The winner had a ding-dong battle with Hannah Lewis on the Corrine Wynne trained Von Origny but pulled away on the run to last to score by six lengths. The winner is trained at Chester by Will Kinsey and co owned by Richard Hewitt and John Stocker. Le Seychellois was the leading horse in the area last season when trained by Hewitt at Anglesey and is making a strong case to retain the mantle judging on current form. Hewitt said afterwards that his horse is very under rated adding that he should be rated higher than 94 stating that in his opinion he should be rated over 100.
Harnage trainer Jessica Scott, the secretary for the South Shropshire Hunt, won the concluding Members race with Golden Harvey under Leo Mahon, who also rode the Petoski gelding to victory at this course last month at the North Shropshire meeting.