Saturday 26th March 2011
by Claire Hart
A huge crowd turned out here and were rewarded with sunshine and competitive racing.
The opening Hunt Members saw the 6/4 joint favourite 9 yr old Harry Teal returning to the winners enclosure for the first time since making a winning debut at Barbury Castle back in 2008. Olli Garner kicked on from 4 out and was never in danger from Lord Gunnerslake (Annabel Roberts) second and Aitchjayem (Laura Thomas) back in third. The other runner was Coleraine who fell at the second last when looking booked for third.
Ed Walker made the long journey from Devon worthwhile by training a double for owner Roger Maggs. Ned the Post provided the first leg of this. He was sent off the 4/7 fav of the Confined Conditions race where five went to post. Rustic John (Mark Wall) set a good gallop in an attempt to follow up his previous win at Larkhill but Ian Chanin sent Ned The Post on 5 out and was never headed. Ghonny withthebowe (Emily McMahon) ran on between the last two fences and finished second with Rustic John ending up third.
Michael Hawker's mare Sheknowsyouknow (Mark Wall) may be small but she certainly is a pocket rocket. Though a small field this Mixed Open race was a high standard and she justified favouritism by asserting from the end of the back straight. More Trouble ( James Tudor ) fell 5 out which left the very useful Overlut (Nick Williams) looking like her nearest rival, however she had shaken him off before the third last and went on to win very impressively. Stormy Bob (Mark Wilesmith) the 6/1 outsider ran on past Overlut and finished second. Connections were very clever to place this mare in an Open where she had a stone of weight in hand due to the others penalties; however the manner in which she won this suggests she is more than capable of holding her own in this company whatever the weight difference.
Richard Spencer 22, who works in Lambourn for trainer Barry Hills, rode his first double here taking his tally to 5 winners in total. The Marcella Bayliss trained Ruperts Vision provided the first in the Restricted. Marcella explained 'I only brought him in to work at the beginning of January; he was out in all that snow, he then broke my pelvis within the first week of being ridden by bucking me off so it's a good job he has won! My father owns him and this is his first winner '. Richard had his mount handy throughout and hit the front 3 out and just held off the late run off Ruud Revenge (Robert Hawker) and Santartique (Tom Garner).
The following Pegasus Club race saw Needs Time provide Richard with the second leg of his double. The 2/1 favourite jumped well throughout and went on to win impressively, Oh So Lively ( Tom Evetts ) finished second and Moscow Court ( Julie Hillman ) were back in third. This was a special winner for owners Sir Michael and Lady Connell because Sir Michael Connell had previously won this race as a jockey but never before as an owner.
Luckiest winner of the day was Dante Wager (Ed Barrett) in the Open Maiden. The drama began when the 4/6 Favourite the Pensioner (Chris Smith) had jumped superbly and travelled well throughout and unfortunately fell 5 out which left Hi Wycombe (Charlie Greene) with a clear lead until he tipped up 3 out. Ed Barrett took advantage and kept Dante Wager up to his work to go on and win with Dot Up (Paul Tolman) second. Jumping is the name of the game though and although it is unclear as to how Dante Wager will upgrade his connections enjoyed this win and was the second leg to the Ed Walker/ Roger Maggs double. 'Roger is one of Polly Gundry and Ed's biggest supporters so it is so nice for him' reported Ed's father Robert.