SOUTH MIDLANDS AREA CLUB
6th February 2005
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 restricted
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 out.
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 take part.
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.
The afternoon’s 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.