by Lee Glanville
The third and final Bratton Down
meeting this season was blessed with marginally better weather than
the earlier fixtures. A cool and overcast afternoon greeted a large
crowd who saw a healthy total of 55 runners contesting the six
Richard Barber's ultra
consistent Rimpton Boy gained the advantage for the National
Leading Horse award for the season with his eighth consecutive
victory in the Ladies' Open. This puts the popular ten year old
grey ahead of his main rival Cannon Bridge, who also has eight
wins, but Rimpton Boy's third on his first outing this year gives
him the slight edge for this title. Rachael Green rode her usual
patient race on Rimpton Boy, delaying her challenge until the final
bend before asserting over the runner up Let's Fly up the long
final climb. Cento finished a creditable third, but Rilly Goschen's
mount Chasing The Bride was always struggling to go the pace and
finished a well beaten fourth.
Rilly Goschen entered the day
only one behind Polly Gundry in their tussle for the National
Ladies' championship (18 wins to 17), but Polly now looks to have
settled that issue by winning the 14 runner Restricted on
Owned and trained by Sue Smith
at Lewdown, the blinkered Nickit had been without a win in his ten
previous outings this season, but the rider's determination saw him
get the better of runner up Offalevel with a storming run up the
final hill. "I gave him a breather running down to the last ditch
but he responded really gamely up that final climb" said the
jubilant jockey. Neil Harris suffered facial injuries when Karing
Kenda fell at the 5th in this race.
Askers Jack achieved his third
win in succession when stepping up to Open company. Graham Foot's
Seavington qualified nine year old took over from Procedure jumping
the second last and soon drew clear despite jumping awkwardly to
the left at the final obstacle. Chapners Cross ran on well under
Tom O'Brien to snatch second, just ahead of Procedure and Mister
Porto sprang a 20-1 shock in the
Intermediate, exactly one year after his last success on this same
course. Now trained by Nigel Parker for his mother Rosemary at
Sherborne, Porto made all the running and set up a 30 lengths lead
by half way. Touch Of Flame gradually reduced the advantage from
the final ditch, but Porto still had twelve lengths to spare at the
post, with the favourite Beachtime a well beaten third. The winner,
who was bought cheaply by current connections at Ascot sales in
April, was the 8th winner of the season for his Lambourn based
jockey Ran Morgan. "I would have ridden him myself" said the
trainer, "but I tweaked a knee ten days ago and phoned Ran who was
on holiday at Hartland for the weekend." It was Ran Morgan's first
ride at Bratton Down.
Six of the 13 strong Open Maiden
field were still in contention entering the final mile, but it was
the Lamerton mare Bluebell Hill who stayed on the stronger to hold
High Rocker and Callitwatulike in the closing stages. The winner,
who was tongue tied on this occasion, had run well on this course
three weeks ago when runner up to Elegant Eskimo. Owner/trainer
Chris Cox, who makes his living as a cattle foot trimmer, bought
the eight year old at Ascot sales last October. "She is a game mare
who needs good racing ground", reported successful Jockey Tim
Dennis, who was partnering his 7th winner of the season.
Stepasideboy gave Guy Weatherley
his 18th winner of the season when just prevailing over Bob's Lad
in the Hunt race. This was a thoroughly deserved success for his
veteran owner/trainer Ivan Webber who works as an agricultural
contractor at Tiverton. "I still do all the training and schooling
at my age" said the sprightly 70 year old owner". Stepasideboy, who
looked to finish sore, is also something of a veteran at fifteen.
He won his first point to point nine years ago and has also won
over hurdles and fences.
Members: 1, Stepaside Boy,
G Weatherley; 2, Bob's Lad, D Luff; 3, Spinning Silver, M Woodward.
Five ran, 1/2l, 14l, 6.14.
Intermediate: 1, Porto, R
Morgan; 2, Touch of Flame, M Miller; 3, Beachtime, Miss C Tizzard.
Seven ran, 12l, 10l, 6.12.
Men's Open: 1, Askers
Jack, J Snowden; 2, Chapners Cross, T O'Brien; 3, Procedure, C
Heard. 10 ran, 25l, 1/2l, 6.03.
Ladies' Open: 1, Rimpton
Boy, Miss R Green; 2, Let's Fly, Miss P Gundry; 3, Cento, Miss C
Tizzard. Six ran, 1l, 6l, 6.02.
Restricted: 1, Nickit,
Miss P Gundry; 2, Offalevel, J Barnes; 3, Erics Way, D Alers
Hankey. 14 ran, 2l, 3l, 6.08.
Open Maiden: 1, Bluebell
Hill, T Dennis; 2, High Rocker, C Heard; 3, Callitwatulike, W
White. 13 ran, 2 1/2l, 6l, 6.22