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REVIEW
SIR W.W.WYNNíS HUNT
EATON HALL

SUNDAY 25
APRIL 2004
by Mal Davies

Richard Burton bagged a couple of easy wins to boost his fight to retain his Champion Jockey title at a sun-baked Eaton Hall on Sunday; if one of them was courtesy of a walkover aboard KARZHANG in the final Intermediate race, the other was nearly as simple as Burton piloted JEMARO to win the Mensí Open by a distance. The 13 year old, winning his fifth Point scored in a hack canter, having toyed with the venerable Lord Of The West, who was so exhausted that he couldnít jump the last, albeit well beaten at the time. He was attended by the vet but seemed sound afterwards. Itís probably time to retire him, as he owes the game nothing now.  This was a poor race for the inaugural running of the Anne Duchess of Westminster Perpetual Shield, as evidenced by the fact that the very moderate Harry Hotspur ploughed on for second.


RICHARD BURTON WONDERS WHETHER TO GET HIS TELESCOPE OUT TO CHECK ON THE OPPOSITION, AS JEMARO WALKS OVER THE LINE


RICHARD BURTON AND JEMARO FAIL TO BREAK SWEAT

The equine turnout was in stark contrast to the massive crowds who flocked to the Cheshire course, and just 32 runners faced the starter in the seven contests. The biggest field of the day came in the opener, the first division of the maiden, won by serial loser ROBERT THE RASCAL, who finally broke his duck at the eighteenth attempt, well ridden by John Barlow. The form of this race will probably not bear close scrutiny, as another long time also-ran, Snitton Salvo (no wins from 21 runs now), was just beaten half a length into second, with the very disappointing Donald McCain trained favourite Heathyards Element only third under Gary Hanmer. Keep an eye on Tidal Beach, a flat bred sort, running his first race in points; despite his breeding, he seemed to get the trip alright, and was given a sympathetic ride by William Hill.


WILLIAM HILL AND TIDAL BEACH SAFELY NEGOTIATE THE THIRD FENCE, AHEAD OF SNITTON SALVO

Hanmer endured a frustrating day, as his well-backed favourite Commander Conn was pulled up on the first bend in the second maiden race. MULLARTíS LAD, just a five year old won readily enough under Stuart Ross, from the long time leader Hendrix (Niall Saville), whose error at the last sealed his fate. Top Weld, as frustrating as ever, could do no better than third. The form of this division of the maiden is likely to stand up better than the first, and the winner looks a useful sort.


MULLARTíS LAD AND STUART ROSS MAKE THEIR WAY INTO THE WINNERSí ENCLOSURE

Nicholls Cross went off in the Confined under Hanmer like a scalded cat, and was nearly a fence clear by the end of the first circuit. But, as often happens, his early exertions took their toll, and the other two runners had comfortably taken his measure by the back straight on the final circuit, and it was the progressive DARE, with John Barlow in the plate, who asserted to score by 15 lengths from the former Ferdy Murphy trained Fornaught Alliance.

Although there were only three declared for the Ladiesí Open, this was a race notable for it being the final Point to Point run of the amazing Balisteros. Winner of 33 of his 81 races between the flags, he is lined up for retirement after running in a Hunter Chase which Kelso racecourse is staging, named in his honour next month, and this was his farewell to the Pointing scene, which he has served so splendidly for so many years.

Unfortunately for the 15 year old, there was to be no fairy tale ending, and despite keeping up a sound gallop, he eventually found the concession of five pounds to the useful JACKIE JARVIS too much in the end, and came home beaten 12 lengths, but not disgraced. The winner is a useful horse in her own right, and at just 7, sheíll win a few more races yet.


SIMPLY A LEGEND - BALISTEROS MAKES HIS WAY TO THE START FOR THE 82nd AND LAST TIME BETWEEN THE FLAGS


BALISTEROS LEADS JACKIE JARVIS ON THE FIRST CIRCUIT, AGAINST THE BACKDROP OF EATON CHURCH


JACKIE JARVIS (Kathryn Diggle) STARTS TO ASSERT ON THE FINAL CIRCUIT

The novice ridersí race went to Annabel Turner, who gave NEW ROSS an excellent ride, to nick the verdict by a length from Di Caine on Wychnor King, with Gemma Garton on Chelsea King back in third. Jockeyship won this one.

The Restricted race was not much better than a maiden, and area leading lady rider Tessa Clark notched another success aboard the sometimes moody THE LORD ROBERTS. At this point, only one having been declared for the Intermediate, stumps were drawn.

The ground was probably the reason for the poor turnouts. It was not so much a case of there being plenty of grass on top as it being silage waiting to happen. There were some boggy patches in the home straight, though on most of the course there was distinct jar, even despite the grass cover.

And just a word for the books; there were plenty of bookies in attendance, (and the Ludlow Hunter chase priced up too, fair play) and all told, the prices werenít too bad. If you werenít able to beat SP in most races, you couldnít have looked too hard.

 

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