SUNDAY 18 APRIL 2004
by Arthur Shone
The Cheshire Hunt meeting between the flags at Alpraham, near
Tarporley, has always been a licence to print money. By tradition it has
always been one of the best-supported fixtures in the North West Area and
Sunday’s meeting was no exception with a crowd well in excess of 8,000.
This was despite heavy rain throughout the night, which made the going very
testing underfoot for racegoers and horses alike. In fact just
getting on to the course with a car was a very skilful driving test, unless
one had a 4x4 in the deep mud. There was a good chance of either getting
stuck or losing the exhaust system, which a few people did, but that all
adds to the glorious uncertainty of point-to-point racing.
The meeting could have done with a few more runners but it
turned out to be a good competitive days racing, despite a low turn out in
the Open races. There was also an appearance of this years Aintree Grand
National winner Amberleigh House, which received a good round of applause
from the crowd, as did his charismatic trainer Ginger McCain.
Gingers’ son Donald saddled the odds on jolly Master Club
Royal with Gary Hanmer in the plate in the opening Members race, where he
faced only one other opponent Raiseapearl under Ian Clyde, but it was the
latter won by 20 lengths easing down to record the first shock of the day.
The winner is trained at Faddeley, near Nantwich by Patrick Thompson for
owner Alan Williams.
Worleston trainer and rider Gary Hanmer did not leave his
local course empty handed, following the easy 30 length win by Analystic in
the Confined, who never came off the bridle to give Hanmer his 14th
winner of the season. The winner is owned by Jo Hankey from Knutsford, whose
husband Rob is the clerk of the course at the Cheshire Forest meeting at
More local success was to follow in the Ladies Open, when the
old boy Wandering Light, now a sprightly 15-year-old, ran out a comfortably
six-length winner under Tessa Clarke, beating Cascum Lad in the process.
This is the second time that the winner has beaten the runner up in a week,
as it was the same outcome at Sandon on Easter Saturday. The winner is owned
and trained by Richard Francis at Malpas. Tessa went on to complete a double
in the Getting Out Stakes (Open Maiden Race) aboard Mosscroft Jack, who is
trained nearby at Tarporley by John Swindells.
Alpraham trainer Richard Edwards recorded his first winner
when Border Run under Stuart Ross landed the spoils a shade comfortably from
Step On Eyre. Richard, who works as the travelling head lad for Alan Bailey
at Tarporley, bought the horse at the start of the season for a “monkey”
off Mick Mullineaux. The winner is also a first winner for owner Will Padden
from Norley, near Frodsham, who is going to work for Alan Bailey this
seasons as the stables amateur jockey.
The best finish of the day was reserved for the Open Maiden.
At the second last fence there were five horses in a line and in a cracking
finish Sue Sharratt got back up near the jam stick to win a thriller on
Ridware George by a neck from Jonathon Jarrett on Top Weld. The winner is
owned by Sue Froggatt and trained by her husband Richard, who is the clerk
of the course for the Meynell & South Staffs. Richard trains at Rugeley
The North Western Area chairman Roger Everall won the Confined race at this track 16 years ago with Cute Pam. This time around he landed the Restricted with Cutina, the daughter of Cute Pam, who ran on strongly close home under a confident ride from David Barlow to beat the Whittington winner Clodagh Valley by half a length. The owners son in law Phil Jones trains the winner at Welshpool.