Vine & Craven
Small fields but enough runners to keep a bumper crowd happy in glorious weather at Hackwood Park on Easter Monday, brought the point-to-point season to an end in the Sandhurst Area.
Clerk of the course Bill Welling applied 150,000 gallons of water to the track over three days which resulted in ground no worse than good to firm. Welling's disappointment when it was announced that next Monday's Hackwood Park meeting is cancelled due to lack of entries was plain to see.
There was drama in the J Passey & Son Mens Open race when the leader bypassed the final fence before crossing the line six lengths clear. Inevitably, Rowdy Yates was disqualified - the race being awarded to Penric, mount of 17 year old Zac Baker whose second winner this was.
'I could see Rowdy Yates being steered wide,' said Zac, 'the jockey wouldn't have heard me even if I had shouted - he was ten lengths clear!'
Harry Marriott, 49, was distraught at his blunder, for which the stewards fined him £75. 'I knew we had to miss a fence (the Open Ditch) on the final circuit,' he said, 'but I was confused and just made a silly decision.'
Local champion rider, Philip York, added a couple to his score of winners, keeping national championship hopes alive. York enjoyed a walkover on Seymar Lad in the Fullers Brewery Hunt Club Members Race and followed up on Dawn Display in the Caviste Conditions Race. Dawn Display made all the running - being constantly harried by Medic who frequently lost a length jumping and finally finished a two lengths second. York is now on 22 for the season - just two winners behind Richard Burton.
As a trainer York scored with Nessa in the Fontwell Park sponsored Novice Riders Race, ridden by Tom Cheesman. Nessa has provided the teenager with each of his four successes.
Odds on in the two horse Harwoods Maiden, six year old Can't Touch This beat his only rival Gulfoss very easily in spite of having run mulishly through the race. 'He is much happier surrounded by lots of runners,' said owner/rider Clare Hobson. 'But once we turned for home I was confident of winning.'
This was Clare's 24th birthday, but hopes of a double for her were dashed when she had to pull up Irish Rebel in Dawn Display's race. Golden Tangle gave Hannah Watson a sixth winner for the season when beating Brave Boogie in the Berry Bros & Rudd Mares and Fillies Race.
Fullers Brewery Hackwood Park Members
Fontwell Park Racecourse Novice Riders
J Passey & Son Mens Open
The Caviste Conditions
Berry Bross & Rudd - Maiden Mares and Fillies