Alexandra Bell rings home Ni Sin E Mo Ainm in the Timico Mixed Open
Plenty of double layers were put on by the crowd of enthusiastic pointing followers at Barbury Racecourse, who viewed seven quality races.
There were a few light flurries of snow, and with the ground riding good, good to soft in places, Clerk of the Course John White moved the rails so fresh ground was on offer for the runners at the meeting.
Two major sponsors for the 2016-17 pointing season, Timico and Subaru, both ran qualifiers for their respective finals at Cheltenham and Stratford later in the spring.
This year's Gold Cup sponsors at the Festival meeting, Timico, sponsored the Mixed Open – a qualifier for the Timico Mixed Open final at Cheltenham on May 5th.
Alexandra Bell's eleven-year-old Ni Sin E Mo Ainm, ridden by the trainer ,took the race beating 5/1 shot Templebraden and Zac Baker and 5/4 favourite Caesars Milan from the Rose Loxton yard into the minor placings. 'I thought he would be there or thereabouts,' mentioned the trainer/jockey. 'I picked up this fella for £500 from Neil Mulholland and he won an Open for me last season. He travelled so well for me today and I was delighted with the way he won the race.'
The local trainer, from Broad Hinton just over the hill, in the yard once occupied by Andy Turnell mentioned, 'It's a great place to train, we work them hacking around over the hills, I have one other in at the moment – a maiden that will run soon, but this fella's aim is the final at Cheltenham so we are hopefully on our way to the goal.'
Subaru sponsored the Restricted race - the final of the series being held at Stratford on 9th June - which was taken by Sally Alner's Apple's Queen, owned by the T.L.T Partnership. The trainer was watching her runners from the horsebox, still sporting a broken leg due to a kick received early in the season, and must have been delighted with the seven year old's progression from its maiden win at Larkhill at the beginning of January.
Chatting to Mr Percy Tory, part of the partnership owning group, he said, 'He ran over cross country fences in France so we knew he could jump, but he would not like the ground too firm. We have qualified for the series final today, but it would not be a given he'd run. We would have to see, but a hunter chase somewhere would not be out of the question.' Jockey Lorcan Williams, who was rushing off for evening stables with Paul Nicholls, said, 'He is a nice type, he was meant to run last weekend but we hung on for the ground and this meeting, I think he'd be a nice Intermediate type but I'll leave that to Sally and the owners to discuss, but he likes this ground and he jumps well.'
Chepstow Racecourse, a new partner at the Barbury course, sponsored the opening race of the meet, the Chepstow Racecourse PPORA Club Members race for Novice Riders.
Seventeen runners went to post, with the winning jockey from the Restricted Lorcan Williams on the favourite Join Together, again from the Rose Loxton yard going off
But it was Tim Underwood's Tempelpirate who took the race on three out to take the last with a good lead for the jockey riding her first ever winner, Fiona Dennington. 'Credit to Mr Underwood and the team, this horse ran so well for me, we had a plan and it has worked out so well for me, he was the best horse for sure on the day.'
The jockey, who rides out and has worked for Phil York, who rode his 301st winner at Cottenham the day before, was delighted to get the ride on this horse from a trainer who knows a thing or two about this pointing game and later in the the afternoon edged ahead for the Dubarry leading trainer at Barbury award. He mentioned, 'This horse finished second last June to Lough Inch at Garthorpe, pulling up he was making a lot of noise with his breathing, so he had a soft palate operation just before Christmas and today I though he may just need the run. Fiona came to ride work on him the other day and I've seen her ride well for Martin Oliver so I put her up, the rest is history really.'
The Ramsbury Vodka 4,5 and 6 year olds Open Maiden run over 2m 4f was taken by the trainer who was named this week as the Dodson & Horrell trainer /owner of the month for January Laura Thomas with her five-year-old mare Black Sam Bella. Ridden by Johnny Bailey this nice looking debutante looked a little green but still took the race well on ground that was cutting up a little on the course. 'She is such a lovely mare who really loves her work,' mentioned the trainer. 'She is for sale now and I was impressed how she attacked her fences as they picked up the pace coming to the final two. Yes, she was a little green, but still tried really hard to the line. She is a favourite in the yard - I bought her as a three-year-old and broke her in myself, she has never put a foot wrong, I'm delighted for her today.'
Jockey Johnny Bailey said.' I think she could be something very nice, she has pace and stays well, I had trouble pulling her up, she was very novicey today but that's understandable really being her first time out, but you cannot fault her as she has won the race.'
The Jockey Club Estates Open Maiden was taken by Elizabeth Brown's six-year-old Sarazen Bridge ridden by Nick Phillips. Third in his previous outing at the course in January in a 2m 4f maiden, the gelding certainly found the three miles more sto his liking, the trainer mentioning, 'he really didn't have the gears for the two miles four race but today he has run and jumped so well.'
The horse, who has been having some schooling sessions with three day eventer Laura Collett, didn't really put a foot wrong and the trainer – who does all the work with her horses on the valleys and grass hills near her home - mentioned the weather has not really allowed her to prepare her horses as she has wanted. The horse is now possibly en route to Kingston Blount or Larkhill in a few weeks' time and may be one to note, a clever tidy sort of horse that, if coming out of this race well, would be sure to progress.
The two miles four furlongs' Countryside Alliance Mares and Fillies Conditions race sponsored by Fuller's Brewery was taken by Lostin A Fog, last seen at Barbury in the International meeting in one of the divisions of the inaugural bumper races. Owned by the rider then John Reddington and trained now by Thomas Gallagher, this very nice looking five-year-old mare took her first start over fences well, ridden by in-form jockey Shane Roche.
'We like this horse a lot,' mentioned the trainer. 'She probably is ready to run under rules now and we possibly won't see her pointing again this year, she was a bit green running against the more experienced horses, but she is clever and gets herself out of tight spots.' Beating the more experienced Dabinett Moon shows that this mare has a bright future ahead.
As the mist rolled in over the valley and the temperatures dropped, the Vine & Craven members race saw only three go to post, and with only two finishers it was Tracey Bailey's Broadway Symphony who took control of virtually all the race and beat 4/7 favourite Rise To It on the line. The ten-year-old, with a 7lbs, penalty looked weary as he took the final two in sapping ground which allowed the Karen Hobbs charge to catch up and challenge the leader on the short run in. 'He actually wants it a lot softer than it is here today, he loves the mud,' mentioned the trainer. 'He is very special to us, he won his novice at Uttoxeter, and then came to the second last at Chepstow to take his race, put his leg out and damaged his sesamoid bone, they really wanted to put him down at the course, but we got him home, since then he has had various complications. He loves his racing and is so pleased to be back, he's a miracle horse really.'
Zac Baker, on board the ten year old, said on paper he thought he was on the best horse, and despite losing a shoe half way around the course the jockey mentioned, ' I knew Rise To It can make mistakes and my fella jumps well, when Tom Greatrex fell out in the back straight I knew I was in with a shout. If a good two mile four furlongs race pops up, he may be well suited to that distance, he is that quick.'
The next meeting for the Sandhurst area is the Hampshire Hunt meet on 12th March at Hackwood Park just outside Basingstoke. Barbury concludes its 2017 fixtures with the Tedworth Hunt meeting on 9th April.