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South Shropshire at Eyton-on-Severn
Easter Monday 22nd April 2019

by Rory Alkin

The large Bank Holiday crowd enjoyed glorious weather where the going was mainly good with a few firm patches. The clerk of the course David Bostock estimated that around 300,000 gallons of water were put on the track for the four days before the meeting. It was some undertaking for a circuit that measures over two miles. There was another winning double for Alex Edwards and Phil Rowley in the first two races, courtesy of Bleue Away and Now Ben.

In the opening four, five and six-year-old Maiden over two and a half miles, the Bangor bumper winner Bleue Away made most of the running and had gone clear before three out. The five-year-old mare beat the only other finisher Battletank by an easy thirty lengths and will now be an interesting entry in one of the upcoming bloodstock sales.

In the Mixed Open over the same trip, Now Ben did not have to break a sweat to beat Redkalani by ten lengths. He then ran the following day, but his exertions here may have taken their toll as Virak beat him easily in a match for a Ludlow Hunter Chase.

In the Confined, Bletchley Castle, ridden by Tommie O'Brien followed up his Bitterley success with a convincing performance, going clear of Saturday's Sandon winner Fair Exchange winning by a distance. His trainer Heidi Brookshaw has ironed out his problems and was not sure where he would go next, but on this form, he is capable of running up a sequence.

The PPORA Conditions race was an interesting contest. The heavily-backed favourite Beggars Bush, ridden by Gillon Crow, made all into the straight and appeared to have the measure of his two remaining rivals until he made a total mess of the third last. He lost his momentum and lead to Jonathan Lovegrove-Fielden on Urban Storm who stayed on to beat him by two-and-a-half lengths, with Toby Wynne three-quarters of a length back in third on Royal Deal. The winner trained by Russell Teague was repeating his win in a Restricted at Cottenham in December.

The Restricted was a match but provided the most exciting finish of the day. Stephen Davies on Hawkestone Spirit and Ed Glassonbury on Spoilt Sam raced within a length of each other the whole way round with Hawkestone Spirit winning by a neck. The eight-year-old gelding had failed to win a race in the previous three seasons, and the former owners John Swinnerton and Simon Edwards gave it to owner/trainer Trish Rigby as a gift.

In the concluding Maiden for five-year-olds and upwards, Fred Timmis on Middle Field was in command from four out and stayed on well to win by fifteen lengths from Over The Bridge. The seven-year-old gelding owned by Craig Lodge and Robin Lewis was bought privately in Ireland. It was a first winner for Robin's daughter Rhiannon, who trains it near Newtown. She formerly worked at Sheila Crow's yard and was the groom for her father's prolific winner Fruit Fayre.


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