Hornby Castle was bathed in sunshine for the only fixture there this year. The large crowd were greeted by predominately big fields and some exciting racing on perfect good ground.
14 set out for the Confined Conditions Race, which was for horses that had neither won under Rules nor in an open point to point. Sams Way was a warm order following his easy victory in a Mordon restricted on Easter Saturday and when Philip Kinsella kicked for home after four out, he appeared to have things under control. However, Sams Way began to tire between the final two fences and was collared on the run-in by Philip Cornforth on Buddy Girie. Buddy Girie has turned in some decent performances in hunter chases without getting his head in front, having won a couple of points in 2003. Considering that he was thought to be better at slightly less than three miles, Buddy Girie was putting in his best work at the finish here. Third was Sweeping Storm, with Chris Dawson in the saddle. He was highly tried today, as he was at Mordon behind subsequent Grimthorpe Cup winner Shackleton on his reappearance. A lesser confined is well within Sweeping Storm’s capabilities. Sevensider (Jacqueline Coward) was staying on in the closing stages in fourth. Journey raced prominently and paid for it towards the end of the race. After two runs in 2005, he should now be fully tuned up. Just Fluster was hugely disappointing, while Missy Moscow was handy when departing at the 10th.
Journey (Nigel Tutty)
Buddy Girie (Philip Cornforth)
Sams Way (Philip Kinsella)
There were seven runners for the Hunt Members that was for horses hunted with either the Bedale or West of Yore. Grant Tuer got off the mark for the season aboard Trooper Collins, who battled on to land the spoils. Never competitive at Whitwell last week, Trooper Collins is a consistent sort and should hold his own in the future. Runner-up Sajomi Rona (Ian Smith) put in a much better display, leaving well behind his previous uninspiring efforts in 2005. Scenic Storm (Philip Kinsella) took third and has been in reasonable form this year. Urban Hymn fell heavily at the last when looking likely to finish third. Sadly, despite every effort being made by the vets, he was ultimately unable to rise.
Trooper Collins (Grant Tuer)
There was a bumper turnout of 17 for the extremely competitive Restricted. Bexley, the impressive Whitwell maiden winner, was backed off the boards, but his followers soon knew their fate as he got rid of Richard Tierney at the 7th. The honours went to Forty Shakes and Chris Dawson. Forty Shakes bravely held off Bobby Buttons and Tina Jackson by a neck, with the pair clear. Forty Shakes is progressing nicely and deservedly won his maiden at Mordon in March after being unlucky at Charm Park. There is much to like about Maria Myco’s six-year-old and the trainer and jockey have struck up a profitable partnership this campaign. Bobby Buttons only managed his maiden at Charm Park on Easter Monday at the fifteenth attempt, but on this evidence it won’t take that long for him to bag a restricted. He has flattered to deceive at times in the past, however it is worth noting that the twice Tina Jackson has ridden him have coincided with career best performances from Bobby Buttons. Floritchell (Tom Oates) in third is keeping his form well and should find a restricted in the north soon. Queenies Girl (Paul Frank) was fourth. This was a hot race and a smaller event ought to come her way. Lethem Air had been plying his trade in ladies opens, but didn’t sparkle here. The time was the quickest of the day.
Eight horses stood their ground for the Ladies Open and Silver Groom returned to winning ways at the age of 15. The grey has been prone to getting too far adrift in the early part of his races, leaving too much to do late on. Although again held up, Jacqueline Coward didn’t let her mount get out of contention, yet there was still plenty in the tank at the business end. It was Silver Groom’s eleventh success in ladies opens and, if he’s in the same mood later in the season, you couldn’t rule him out from making it a dozen. Runner-up San Francisco fought like a tiger for Freya Hartley, but was unable to peg back the winner. It was another bold display of front-running from San Francisco, who was thought enough of to have a five day entry for the Aintree Foxhunters. He’s a very steady yardstick in these contests and can be relied upon to run his race. The favourite Wilfie Wild, bidding for a four-timer, but his first ladies open, could only finish third for Lynne Ward. He didn’t jump with his usual fluency and looked ill at ease throughout. He should be given another chance though as his hat-trick indicated many fine attributes. In fourth, Imperial Line (Tina Jackson) doesn’t seem to be the same horse as prior to suffering a setback in 2003. Bloomfield Storm may have been placed, though it is unlikely he would have won, but for dislodging Louise Allan on the flat before two from home.
Silver Groom (Jacqueline Coward)
San Francisco (Freya Hartley)
A field of 14 faced the starter for the Mens Open, but they were soon whittled down as if it were a maiden. Salmon Cellar was the first to go, crashing through the wing of the first fence, causing it to be omitted on the next two circuits. Grant Tuer gave Backsheesh a positive ride, hitting the front heading down the back stretch for the final time, and they were never reeled back. Backsheesh isn’t the easiest to train and his appearances are few and far between, but he possesses bags of ability. The rider was completing a welcome double in a year that has seen his yard send out barely a runner. Diamond Monroe was steered into second by Oliver Greenall. Diamond Monroe has no frills, but goes about his business with the minimum of fuss, and will hold a major chance in an open with no penalties. Third-placed Torn Silk (Clive Mulhall) is coming to the boil and should be watched at his favoured Heslaker at the end of the month. Physical Force (Philip Kinsella) in fourth appreciated the decent ground and will be interesting in a confined on a similar surface. Darak might come on for the outing, but Ben From Ketton found things hard going.
Backsheesh (Grant Tuer)
14 horses again lined up for Division One of the Maiden that saw Black Rainbow gain the day under Tina Jackson. She’d been placed on all three completed starts between the flags and the mare settled better today, letting her see out the trip. Kappillan (Philip Kinsella) in second did his best, but found Black Rainbow just too good. He takes the eye in the paddock and has the physique to land a maiden. Kismet’s strong work at the death for Richard Wakeham to take third dispelled the theory that she is happier at 2m4f. Shapani (Chris Dawson) was fourth and has improvement in him, this being just his second visit to a racecourse. Almacash is coming along steadily and will soon be taking a hand in the finish. Lyrann took a fair old tug and was not unsurprisingly a spent force in the final half mile.
The consistent Oso Tilley went one better for Jo Foster to score in the 13-runner Division Two of the Maiden. She had to dig deep on the run for home to repel No Info and Clive Mulhall in second by a neck. Oso Tilley kept on gamely and fenced economically. No Info has run well here before, but it is difficult to know what to expect from her next time. Tango Bojangles (Freya Hartley) showed further potential, running on in third. Kings Bloom (Trevor Glass) was only fourth after a couple of useful efforts at Witton Castle and Mordon. It would be no surprise to see him step up on this. Bally Leader is a bit one-paced, but has the right idea. Tragically, the promising youngster Most Willing suffered a fatal fall at the second last.