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Albrighton Woodland at

Monday 29th May 2000
by Dom Bradshaw

After a rainy night in Watlington, it was time to head up the M40 towards Chaddesley Corbett for the Albrighton Woodland fixture.

There was a shock in the opening Hunt Members race with the outsider, the short runner Burkean Melody (Mark Munrowd), who was 33/1 on most boards, coming home ahead of Just Marmalade (Jane Williams) with the 1999 champion Julian Pritchard on Nick The Biscuit back in third. The favourite Military Man (M. Keel) was well beaten. However, more drama was to unfold after the race,  when an objection was lodged to the winner on the basis that the winning rider, Mark Munrowd, was in fact ineligible to ride in the race, not being a member of the Albrighton Woodland hunt. After a steward's enquiry, it was decided that the matter be referred to Portman Square and that the result should stand. This was the correct decision by the Stewards and though they come in for a fair bit of criticism at times, on this occasion they deserve credit. If the facts are correct, it's likely that the Jockey Club will give the runner up the race.

There was yet more drama in the Confined when Bishops Hall (Alistair Crow) capsized at the last when in a challenging position, leaving Mr Dennehy (Jamie Jukes) to come home ahead of Chassagne (Joe Price) and Spearhead Again (Mark Munrowd). It's hard to say who'd have won if the Crow horse had stayed on it's feet, but the winner, who was a well beaten third at Garthorpe on his previous start, did this well enough. The runner up jumped without fluency throughout and looked to be given too much to do.

Bill Warner's Barna Boy (Mark Hewitt) tore off in his customary fashion and was never headed in the Mixed Open, scoring readily from Jalcanto (David Mansell) and Real Progress (D.J.Renney). The 12yo son of Torus only seems to have one way of racing, but when he gets it right, it's hard to peg him back.
Those who backed the favourite Fresh Prince (Julian Pritchard) at odds on got their fingers burnt, as he was never going or jumping and was pulled up (this explanation was accepted by the Stewards). This wasn't his true running, but it is slightly worrying as this may indicate that he must dictate the pace.

The Crow yard gained compensation for their earlier misdemeanour with Glacial Trial (Michael Worthington) in the Intermediate. Michael Worthington demonstrated why he's one of the best rider's around, staying aboard after a terrible blunder at the last and still managing to ride a finish to deny Achill Sound (Gary Hamner). The winner, a 7yo mare by Glacial Storm, has now won three times for Michael Worthington and looks yet another potential Crow star. She must be followed as long as the winning partnership stays intact.
The runner up, Achill Sound is a model of consistency and although he gained his maiden success here earlier in the season, it would appear that a stiffer course would suit better.
Rising Sap (A. Wadlow) was back in third with Coddington Girl (Tim Stephenson) fourth. Prestige Lord (Lucinda Sweeting), having only his second run after missing 1999, ran well for a long way and could score if staying sound.

A poor looking Restricted was taken in a close finish by Autumn Blunder (Tim Stephenson) who got up in a driving finish to deny Alistair Crow onboard the favourite Alstack, with the once paced Crestwood Lad (Mike Yardley) back in third. On face value, it would appear that the winner will struggle in better company. The runner up previously looked a useful sort when impressively winning his maiden for Brendan Foster at Eyton on Severn and may still take a race of this calibre when the winning partnership is resolved.

The first division of the Maiden produced yet another close finish with Jamie Jukes completing a double aboard Welsh raider Its Freddie, denying the flailing Patrick Millington on Craftbook Marchesa. The winner had previously only shown a glimmer of ability and will have his work cut out to take a Restricted. Like the winner, Craftbook Marchesa had only shown limited ability in her previous runs, but Patrick Millington does seem to have a knack of getting something out of even the most moderate of performers, so her time may yet come.
Wood Buzzard (Ed Walker) was a one paced third and with a bit of luck on his side may take a Maiden next season.
Sadly, the favourite Quixotry appeared to go lame.

The final race, the second division of the Maiden went to Michael Worthington on Barney Bear, completing a double for the rider (the 9/2 on offer looked good value). Worthington got the 9yo son of Scorpio jumping and travelling well throughout and once he took up the running three from home, the rest was history. He seemed to appreciate the shorter course and good going, and on this form a Restricted may not be out of the question, especially if Worthington keeps the ride. The runner up Blacon Point (Tim Stephenson) ran well and may have enough ability to take a small race; the same could be said of third placed Millstock.
The well-backed favourite, See More Action, was beaten a fair way out and his second place behind the useful Acton Bank may be suspect.

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