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North Shropshire at Eyton-on-Severn
Easter Monday 28th March 2016
by Rory Alkin

The meeting took place in spite of heavy overnight rain and the soft ground became testing as racing progressed. Whilst the weather forecast had been poor, the day was surprisingly bright with plenty of blue sky.

The opening Members saw Paddy Gerety set a steady pace on Ring Ben but the combination had no answer when Fred Timmis on Cocacobana overtook him in the straight and went clear for an easy victory.

The two and a half mile Maiden for younger horses was a good contest between Thinking Out Loud and Follow The Bear with the former putting his racing experience to good use winning by a length and a half from the four year old debutant. The five year old winner had been trained in Ireland for owner Don Constable before he moved him to Zoe Hammond a couple of months ago to look for better ground opportunities.

The Mens Open saw the Phil Rowley trained Now Ben return to form under Alex Edwards, winning very convincingly by thirty lengths from Our Mick. In the Ladies Open, Jane Williams on Grandturgeon easily got the better of the leader Gauvain in the straight but she had to work very hard to keep the grey going, eventually winning by four lengths. The jockey trains the winner for her mother Diana.

The Confined saw Kiestown Chief ridden by Ben Furnival take it up five out and steadily draw clear to win from the running on Onetwobeat and That's Mine. The favourite Verano ran poorly pulling up and the stewards accepted the jockey Rob Jarrett's explanation that the horse was never travelling. The thirteen year old winner owned by Tim Garton had been ridden by his daughter Gemma last year winning on him at Brocklesby Park after surviving cancer. Unfortunately, she was unable to attend the meeting due to the imminent birth of her first baby, but she apparently was very emotional listening to the commentary by telephone.

Abbie McCain led from flagfall in the Restricted on her mother Sian's recent Irish acquisition Old Present and still looked to have plenty in reserve when making a mistake at the open ditch four out and unseating. This left Coolna Shuil clear and although Don't Be Fooled did press early in the straight, the former stayed on best to win by three and a half lengths, repeating his Maiden success at the same meeting here last year. The winner is trained by Robert Owen for his mother Maureen and was ridden by Lewis Ferguson who turned 19 on Good Friday and was celebrating his first point to point winner, although he had ridden a chase winner under rules for his boss Paul Nicholls.

The concluding Maiden saw the Jamie Lyttle ridden Harry's Place take it up a mile out but he was outstayed by Rob Jarrett on Upton Kaddy winning by three lengths. The winner is trained by Jeremy Mahot for Peter Corbett and is his second home-bred winner from the prolific dam Upton Adventure who won 26 points for him.

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