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Saturday 24th February 2001
by Dom Bradshaw
Richard Hunnisetts Copper Thistle attempted to open his
account for 2001 in the Mens Open, but had to give second best to River Swilley (Mark
Walford) who got the better of the battle by ½ length.
River Swilley was having his first run for the Walford yard after switching from Louise Alner. His attitude has been challenged in the past, but he did his job well here and is worth following.
Copper Thistle appears to have lost some of his speed but not his enthusiasm and should still pick up a race or two at 13yo, though I wouldnt be tempted to back him at restrictive odds.
Third placed Sounds Strong (Ranald Morgan) was well supported but ran a little flat and couldnt go with the first two when the pace quickened. Hes a well-made horse and should benefit from the run.
Imperial Dawn under new rider Lawney Hill made a winning return in
the Ladies Open. Imperial Dawn took on the front running favourite, Vain Minstrel, from
the start and had got the better of the battle when Vain Minstrel got rid of Sue Sharratt
two from home.
This was an impressive performance by the winner who like River Swilley has been called some unkind names in the past. While remaining in this form, he must score again.
Vain Minstrel was booked for second when departing. He appears to need things his own way and can score again when he can get clear.
Vain Minstrel's departure left Monkey Ago (Jo Foster) a clear second, but he too lost his rider at the last. Even at 14yo, he looks to have retained his ability and should take a race or two in the Yorkshire area this season. Marius (Vicky Russell) was gifted with second place. He was never really in the race, but he can win in less hot company.
Indie Rock (Fiona Needham) came home in third, which was a good run after a year off (he'd reportedly had a life threatening operation last year). Hell strip a lot fitter for this and should be respected in Ladies Opens.
General Assembly gave newcomer Hannah Hall a nice spin round in fourth place and should provide her with a lot of fun this season.
Maitre De Musique (Michael Tate) followed up his good third to
Minella Silver and Lord Harry with a comprehensive victory in the Confined. His fluent
jumping is an asset and he should be able to follow up.
Primitive Man (Simon Walker) gave chase in second. He's still eligible for Restricteds and on this performance he should have no problem in taking one soon.
Misti Hunter (Robert Douro) showed improved form back in third. Hes ultra consistent and is rarely out of the first four, but never seems to trouble the judge. He deserves a small success.
Ardeal (Matthew Mackley) was disappointing in fourth, being unable to quicken when asked. Shes better than this run and should win before too long.
Floruceva (James Tate) was dropped right out at the back but made some late headway to finish fifth. This appeared to be a confidence booster after two disappointing runs and is capable of scoring when more positively ridden.
The first time blinkered Irisheyesaresmilin (Rowan Cope) was well supported, but was very disappointing. His attitude has to be questioned after two bad performances on the bounce and should be avoided until showing a return to form.
Jaffa (Richard Armson) repelled the late finish of Tricky Trevor
(Holly Delahooke) to take the Restricted. The winner, who'd been chasing after winning a
Maiden in 1999, smoothly took up the running on the second circuit and ran on strongly
despite the lay off. Those form students who went back to his Maiden season saw that he
had some strong form in Restricteds (was a short head second to Gillone). Hes an
exciting horse and can progress further.
The runner up was denied on the run in for the second consecutive weekend. Although it would appear that he needs to be held up, his rider looks to be giving him a little too much to do at the moment and if ridden a little closer to the pace, he must score soon.
Tap The Father (William Wales) was a distance back in third. Hes a safe jumper and a real stayer and this course was probably a little too sharp for him. Watch out for him on a testing track with conditions in his favour.
Nottingham winner Dalus Park (Joe Docker) appeared to be travelling well when coming down in the home straight. Its hard to tell if he would have won, but he'd would have probably been involved in the finish. Hes a nice horse and can make amends.
Earlier, Grange Exocet (Adair Pickering) took the Members after Wotstheproblem (Nick Kent) capsised three out when leading. He was remounted to take a distant second. The only other runner, favourite The Vicarene (Jill Dawson) exited on the second circuit.
There were three divisions of the maiden with the fastest (division one) going to the unraced 5yo Jolly Giant, who got up until a spirited ride by Guy Brewer to deny Captain Oates (Fiona Needham) by a length and provide the Walford yard with a treble (earlier wins with Maitre De Musique and River Swilley). This was a very good performance by the 5yo and he can go on. Captain Oates appreciated the handling of Fiona Needham and looked unlucky, as it appeared that the rider had lost a stirrup at the last. If maintaining the partnership, he can take a maiden. The newcomer from the Caroline Bailey yard, 7yo Mr Cooney (Rowan Cope) ran a pleasing race in third and should be noted. The favourite Imlak (Simon Walker) was back in fourth. It may be that this run came too quick after his close second last weekend and hell also appreciate faster going. This run should be ignored.
The second division provided another close finish with Simon Walker on Big Thyne getting the better of Robert Walford on Engaged by ½ length, therefore denying the Walford yard a four timer. Big Thyne, who was placed under rules, is a nice staying type and is capable of scoring in higher grade. The runner up looked to be going slightly the better of the two approaching the last, but hung on the run in. This was a good debut performance by this 6yo son of St Ninian and he should have little difficulty taking a maiden. The safe but slow Magnus Maximus stayed on for third but will need a weaker race.
The final race, division three, went to the heavily backed Hurricane Harry (Stewart Morris). This well built son of Strong Gale had the race from a long way out and won as he pleased. He looks as though he could improve again, though its worth bearing in mind that this was the slowest of the three divisions. Slobadam (Matthew Mackley) stayed on for second and deserves to win a small race. Strewth (Richard Armson) was back in third and looks a short runner.
1. Grange Exocet (Adair Pickering)
2. Wotstheproblem (leading when fell 3 out, remounted)
Only two finished (3 ran)
1. Maitre De Musique (Michael Tate)
2. Primitive Man
3. Misti Hunter
4l, 5l, 2l 6m39s
1. Imperial Dawn (Lawney Hill)
3. Indie Rock
4. General Assembly
7l, 18l, 2l 6m38s
1. River Swilley (Mark Walford)
2. Copper Thsitle
3. Sounds Strong
4. Primitive Streak
1/2l, 10l, 15l 6m44s
1. Jaffa (Richard Armson)
2. Tricky Trevor
3. Tap The Father
2l, dist, 2l 6m49s
Maiden (Div One)
1. Jolly Giant (Guy Brewer)
2. Captain Oates
3. Mr Cooney
1l, 6l, 9l 6m52s
Maiden (Div Two)
1. Big Thyne (Simon Walker)
3. Magnus Maximus
1/2l, 25l 7m0s
Maiden (Div Three)
1. Hurricane Harry (Stewart Morris)
9l, 6l 7m4s