Pendle Forest & Craven
Sunday 1st May 2011
by Will Milburn
The Pendle Forest and Craven Point to Point turned out to be a huge success this weekend, the meeting was blessed with glorious weather and with near perfect conditions on the day, there was no shortage of runners. Jockey in form on the day was rising ladies champion Sam Drake who recorded a double.
The first of her two victories came in the opening Hunt Members race aboard the Maria Bannister trained General Grey and made it a one-two-three in the race for the Bannister family. Sam Drake was always vying for the lead with Sonevafushi until she made her winning move four out and kicked for home, the pair stayed on well down the long run in, to hold off Harry Bannister and his mount Sonevafushi with a long gap back to Oliver Greenall, who was partnering Mcleod.
Sam completed her double in the Ladies Open with her talented stayer Optimistic Harry. Although looking rather lack lustre in two previous race course appearances, there never seemed a moment of doubt this time as Sam Drake always looked confident. The pair disputed the lead with Narciso and Jacqueline Coward; who was having her first ride back from injury, however approaching three out Sam committed her mount for home and was allowed to saunter down the home straight and win comfortably. Wantage Road was back in third.
The Open Maiden on paper looked to be possibly one of the strongest Maidens this season, with the honours going the way of the Gill Walford trained mare Bright Cloud, who was bouncing back from a frustrating string of efforts and recorded yet another success in a race which her trainer has plundered in previous years. Bought as a yearling from Fairyhouse Sales, Bright Cloud was partnered by Mark Walford, with the field spread eagled the pair were never far away and with three in a line at the top of the hill, both jockey and horse dug very deep to gradually get the better of there two rivals and stay on well after the last to score in impressive fashion and will most likely now head to the sales. Murphy's Beau who set a strong pace early on did well to stay on for second, whilst Classinaglass came from a very long way back into third.
The Novice Riders race saw a fascinating display of tactics from the rider of Fresh Fruit who is trained by Sheila Crow. The pair kicked almost twenty lengths clear with a circuit to go and after been steadied approaching five out, the pair kicked again and nothing could live with the ferocious pace. Fresh Fruit was allowed to win easily by a wide margin, with favourite Forsomeonelikeyou been promoted to second after Stagecoach Diamond ran out at the last. No Complaint stayed on into a distant third.
The Confined race saw Noble Persian show his love for this track and record his third back to back success in this race. Always prominent Josh Hamer led a long way from home and although been challenged towards the last by Father Murtagh, the winner always looked to have a bit more in hand and won well. There was a long gap then back to Finney, who is proving a bit disappointing in points.
The meeting also played host to the Sovereign Health Care Restricted final and went the way of Chip N Pin, partnered by Toby Greenall. The pair travelled strongly approaching the last and when Toby asked his mount to quicken approaching the line he found plenty and held of the strong stayer Triggers Sun who ran very respectably after several bad blunders, Next Girl set a good pace early on and looks a very strong stayer and did well to take third for her owner, trainer, rider Sam Drake.
The Mens Open saw the highly talented My Old Piano get back to winning ways for rider Oliver Greenall and make it a double on the day for local owner Tom Bannister. Settled at the back of the three runners for most of the race, Oliver sauntered up to main rival Ask Bobby approaching the last and quickened up to win very easily. Ask Bobby was not disgraced in second whilst there was a large gap back to the third Prelude D'estruval.
Members General Grey Miss Sam Drake
Novice Riders Fresh Fruit P Gerety
Ladies Open Optimistic Harry Miss Sam Drake
Restricted Championship Chip N Pin Toby Greenall
Mens Open My Old Piano Oliver Greenall
Confined Noble Persian J Hamer
Open Maiden Bright Cloud Mark Walford