Highlight of the day at the Easter Monday meeting was
yet another treble for Richard Burton, taking his seasonal tally to 24 as
he stepped up his bid to become national Mens’ champion for the first
time. He shared the limelight with another local rider Sammy Beddoes, who
notched a fine double herself.
There was a little overnight rain, and one or two
squally showers throughout the day, but in general the meeting was run in
fine sunshine, with the usual huge crowd. The course had been watered, but
was possibly still plenty firm enough in patches for there to be a lower
than average turnout.
The first few races were frustrating for Burton,
before he mopped up at the end, winning the last three on the reel.
The Members race saw another course win for the tough
old Nothing Ventured, who gave Alistair Beedles another fine ride, to
notch his 11th career win, from just 21 races; the former
eventer remains a credit to connections at the age of 14.
Oneanthreequarters was back in second with the Burton ridden Templenoe
Hare, easy to back, in third.
There was a cracking finish to the Open Maiden, with
Sammy Beddoes’ Point debutant Thatcher's Longshot, trained by Steve
Brookshaw, grabbing, in the end, a conclusive 5L victory from Burton on
hot favourite Donrico. The winner, unplaced in a bumper in his only
previous racecourse run, looks certain to go on to Restricted success.
Lord Harry made his seasonal debut in a five runner
Mens’ Open, and appeared to be very generously priced at 1-2; perhaps
the market know a thing or two, and Alistair Crow was hard at work before
the turn in for home; Lord Harry, rallied well, but a better leap at the
last by Smile Pleeze secured the race for Tim Stephenson, with Lord Harry
a length back in second, and an interesting Gary Hanmer debutant in
Racanteur a further four lengths back in third.
The Ladies Open was full of incident, but most of it
occurred before the horses were in the home turn, and Sammy Beddoes, who
had blazed into a long lead on Pennyahei, put in a great round of jumping
and was never headed, coming home a distance clear of the only other
finisher Cardinal Rule. Favourite Vain Minstrel crashed through a wing,
giving Emma Heaton a bad fall; Cascum Lad, also quietly fancied, also
exited the same way, and Allow, under Hannah Kinsey unseated, though
looked beaten at the time.
The first of Burton’s treble was bloodless win, the
fourth in a row this season for Involved in the Intermediate, winning by a
distance from Freestyler and Gary Hanmer. The winner looks well up to Open
class, and hopefully, he’ll be given a try in that grade before the end
of the season.
The winner of the Restricted, Karzang, is not the most
genuine of characters, but Burton gave him a peach of a ride, and
crucially, seemed to seek out the better ground on the straight before the
turn; he came home an easy ten lengths ahead of Miss Foley, with
Horton-cum-Peel staying on past tired horses for third. Honourable mention
for old Barney Bear, who ran a blinder, and was in contention until 3 out,
before his early efforts told on him and he faded to fifth. The Sheila
Crow Fruity Farm was sent off favourite, which was more than a little
surprising, given that she had beaten very little when winning her maiden,
and she was well beaten when pulling up before the home turn.
Burton then repeated the performance on Pot Shot in
the last, a two and a half mile maiden, again tacking over under the hedge
on the home turn before establishing a commanding lead; the winner’s
jumping looked very sketchy indeed over the last three, and it may well be
that his stamina was giving out, even over this trip. By Alflora, he would
not be an obvious candidate to see out three miles. Owenabue Valley ran
well enough to take second.
This weekend’s action is at Eaton Hall on Saturday
(first race 2.00) and at Brampton Bryan (2.05), and they also race at
Upper Sapey on Sunday (2.00)