SOUTH MIDLANDS AREA CLUB
by Richard Mordan
Eight runners went to post for
the opening race, the club members, which was won by a comfortable
five lengths by Irilut. Sam Waley-Cohen had the nine year-old
gelding handily placed throughout and they took up the running 5
out when the pace setting Catfish Keith began to back pedal. Two
out it looked like being quite a duel between the eventual winner
and Phillip York on the grey seven-year-old mare Charlie’s
Angel, but the latter went out like the proverbial light and walked
over the line in fifth. Ball in the Net finished in the runners-up
spot, Kildorragh and Heather Irving, who had also been prominent
until about five out took the third place money, albeit a distance
behind, with Catfish Keith staying on again for fourth. Time of the
race was 6minutes 21 seconds.
Nine contested the Restricted
which went to Julian Pritchard on the Dick Baimbridge trained
favourite Martin Ossie. Having lain in second most of the way round
they took over the lead from Native Thunder at the final open
ditch. The winner and eventual runner-up Brer Bear (J Diment)
pulled well clear of the rest. Native Thunder was third and Kalypso
de Laugere, who took the best turned out award, fourth.
The field stream over the second fence in
The third race on the card was
the mens open and a field of eight lined up including Moor Lane.
Quite useful under rules a few seasons back and once favourite for
the Grand National, now 13 he is owned by his former trainer Ian
Balding and trained by Andrew Balding. Sam Waley-Cohen and the
eight-year-old Kerres Noires made the early running but dropped
back through the field quite rapidly after the first circuit.
Coming to the last it was between Kerstino II and Moor Lane.
Kerstino, who held a slight advantage anyway, put in the better
jump to seal victory by five lengths in a time of 6 minutes 16
seconds and give Dominic Alers-Hankey the first leg of a double.
Alska stayed on for third. Father Tom, who would probably won the
mens open at the previous Tweseldown meeting but for tipping up at
the last was a little disappointing here. He seemed to be going
quite nicely just off the pace but found nothing at the business
end of the race and finished a remote fourth. Salford was running a
reasonable race but just starting to struggle when blundering five
The largest field of the day,
twelve, turned out for the ladies open – The Phelioff Ladies
Open race for the Zarajeff Challenge Cup to give it its full title.
The honours went to Alice de Lisle Wells and Mighty Montefalco, a 9
year old Mtoto gelding who had shown a reasonable level of form
under rules when trained by Jonjo O’Neill. The favourite,
Titus Bramble, took second spot with Prince Dundee back in third.
Heaven is Above was a creditable fourth after giving away a
considerable amount of ground at the start when almost refusing to
Heez a Dreamer landed the spoils
in the first division of the maiden. The unraced five-year-old bay
gelding by Naheez, trained by Caroline Keevil and ridden by Dominic
Alers-Hankey was sent off a short priced favourite. At the end of
the first circuit he was a good half-dozen lengths behind the
leading pack and didn’t appear to be travelling that well but
came up the finishing straight with a wet sail to beat Change the
Plan by a neck with a further five lengths back to Master Jed in
third. Eight ran and the winning time was 6 minutes 30 seconds.
Ten lined up for the second
division. The favourite was Brown Bob, another unraced, Keevil
trained and Alers-Hankey ridden five year old gelding, but when he
was carried out by a couple of earlier casualties at the third
fence it meant the field had rapidly been reduced to six. Brownies
Tale and Ben King ran out the winners by 6 lengths from Outlaw
Express in a time of 6 minutes 38 seconds. The only other finisher
was Heather Irving on the grey Ross Gee.
entertainment concluded with a club members race for novice riders
for which nine went to post. Coming to the last it seemed that
Norski Lad only had to jump it to win. Jump it he did but he slowed
dramatically in the last 150 yards and was passed by Ickford Okey
and Emma Harbour. A gallant effort by the winner, as the 13
year-old Broadsword gelding was having his first run for almost two
years. His winning margin was half-a-length with a further ten
lengths back to Golden Jack in third.