MONDAY 12 APRIL 2004
by Peter Mansell
Polly Gundry and Julian Pritchard dominated Mondays North
Cotswold Point to Point at Paxford with the reigning Ladies Champion landing
a hatrick on Balinova (Ladies), Carat (Restricted) and Emerald Mist (5-6-7
year old Maiden). Pritchard’s recent injury problems became a distant
memory when the Ledbury based rider steered William Lionheart to victory in
the Intermediate before riding a brilliant waiting race to land the Mens
Open with Well Ted.
These three wins put Gundry in an almost unassailable
position as she pursues yet another Ladies Championship and she will never
ride an easier winner than Balinova who hardly broke out of a gallop in the
Her other two victories were much closer contests, although
it is fair to say that neither horse looked likely to be beaten. Carat had
proved disappointing on his last outing but jumped much better on this
occasion to score a hard fought win over Stormy Pass in the Restricted. This
win allowed Malborough trainer James Richardson to continue with an almost
50% strike rate from his runners so far this season.
Sally Rawlins made the long journey up from Salisbury Plain
and the owner/trainer was rewarded when Emerald Mist got the better of a
protracted battle with Che Guevara.
Pritchard teamed up with Berkeley trainer Dick Baimbridge to
gain two successes. Their two winners came as a result of completely
different tactics with William Lionheart recording a pillar to post victory
over Tom Putt in the Intermediate. The winning owner Nick Cook works for
Baimbridge and he should enjoy a good ride if they contest their intended
target, the Berkeley Members.
The Ledbury jockey rode a perfect waiting race on Well Ted
(part owned by JFF photographer Graham Fisher) in the Mens Open. Pritchard
reported that his mount “had nudged the second a bit”.
This was a gross understatement because the 12-year-old made
hardly any effort to jump the fence and Pritchard had to go right to the
buckle end to survive. It appears that Well Ted wanted to keep his rider on
his toes because he made another bad error at the 5th but from
then on the script went as planned. The favourite came with a well timed run
to dispute the lead two out and no quarter was asked or given from this but
Well Ted was slightly quicker away from the last fence and Philtre was
unable to reduce the deficit on the flat.
After two second places on Saturday, Naunton trainer Emma
Baker must have wondered what she had to do to reach the winners enclosure,
but Stennikov came to her rescue with an easy success in the Members.
Ed Walkers mount took up the running down the back straight but idled
once he hit the front and the jockey needed to keep his wits about him as
Sparkling Cascade came with a late rattle at the last. A mistake at this
obstacle ended his involvement in the race and provided Stennikov with an
easy path to victory. The 9-year-old carries the colours of Barry Marshal
who has several horses in training with Paul Nicholls including this
year’s impressive Hennessy winner Strong Flow.
Tim Stephenson horses are running well at the moment and he landed the 8-year-old and upward Maiden with Ski Pass. The Castlemorton based trainer/rider always had his mount in the leading pair and had the race in safe keeping at the second from home.