Bicester with Whaddon Chase
A large crowd turned out for the second meeting at Whitfield and were rewarded with another competitive days racing.
Doctor Kingsley opened racing in the Hunt Members seeing off the challenge of Good Man Jack (Tim Lane) and even money favourite Betavix (Ben Tuckey) by 3 lengths and 10 lengths. Always prominent under Will Telfer the winner took up the running going towards the last and ran on well to come home in 6 minutes 31.
Briery Star matched this winning time in the Mares Maiden ahead of Old Emily Rose (R. Hatch) and the fast finishing Trifollet (Andy Martin). Second on her two previous runs the winner got a flying start and made it a pillar to post victory under Jamie Goss.
The only race to be split on the day was the Open Maiden: Division 1 going to Mr Mackay under Ruth Tutton who made most of the running to come home half a length ahead of Plettenburg (Sam Drinkwater) and Strong Survivor a further 2 lengths back in third.
Division 2 of the Open Maiden, the fastest by 3 seconds, went to the consistent Wilson's Wonder to provide Mark Wall with his second winner of the weekend. Always close up the winner took the lead 4 fences from home and despite swishing his tail on the run in stayed on well ahead of Half a Litre (Johnny Bailey) and Guilty as Charged.
The fastest time of the day came in the Ladies Open when The Hookie Bookie saw off the challenges of Whistling Straits (Isobel Robinson) and Limerick Leader (Gemma Hutchinson). Bucking in the paddock the winner looked a picture and did not see another rival after taking the lead at the 13th fence under Rachel King.
The Men's equivalent went to Start Royal (James Tudor) who came home ahead of the well fancied Up There (James Ridley) and James Pine (Mark Wall). Always in the first two the winner established a 3 lengts lead two out and came home in front by a convincing 2 and a half lengths in 6 minutes 25.
The largest winning distance of the day came from even money favourite Dammam in the Intermediate under a strong ride from Sam Drinkwater. Kicking for home with just under a circuit to go he saw off the challenge of The Fast Frog two fences from home and finished a convincing 8 lengths in front, with Melteme (Claire Hart) a further 15 lengths back in third. Flinders Bay (Richard Hodson) originally finished third but was disqualified when the jockey was unable to draw the correct weight when weighing in.
The ride of the day for me came in the Restricted from Tom Ellis aboard the odds on favourite Timarello. Reportedly just come into season the mare ran in snatches, was patiently ridden and finally coaxed in front 4 fences from home to finish 2 lengths ahead of Will Scarlet (James Ridley) and a further 10 lengths ahead of Dusky Lory (Bridget Andrews).
Another well organised day's racing at Whitfield and it must be mentioned that to lose this course to the high speed train would be a tragedy.