The Tanatside hunt committee deserves a lot of credit for making a brave decision to give the go ahead to race at Eyton on Severn. The meeting had been in doubt early the week before, but after a few dry days and the river level dropping, they made the decision to go ahead with racing on Friday. Clerk of the course John Beddoes described the going as good. Also at the course was Racing UK, who will showing races from the course in their point-to-point preview.
The Tanatside were rewarded with a first class quality card that produced a very competitive days racing. Unfortunately this meeting does not attract many spectators, saying that, there did seem a few more than normal yesterday and those that came had value for money with 10 races on the card.
There remains little doubt about the main headline at the Shropshire course following the success of Mister Banjo in the Men’s Open under Richard Burton. The former top class hurdler beat Julian Pritchard on the long time leader, Family Business, by 4 lengths. Saint Reverien, the 6-4 joint jolly, was a further 25 lengths back in third. The French bred gelding was at one time ante post favourite for the Triumph hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival. He was purchased by John Hales for 240,000gns from the Million In Mind partnership when trained by Nicky Henderson and Hales then sent him to Paul Nicholls to train. The combination got off to a flying start when winning at Bangor but after that, the French gelding’s form nose dived. He was pulled up in his last race in 2004, which was the Scottish Grand National at Ayr. When Hales knew he had leg problems, he gave him as a gift to Lucy Sherwood, the wife of trainer Simon to train him to run in point to points for her son Jack to ride next year when he will be 16. As for Burtie, it was a case of being reunited with Mister Banjo, as he rode the French gelding into 7 th place behind Native Emperor in the Amateur Rider’s race at the Cheltenham Festival in 2004. Burton went on to complete a double in effortless style on the Sheila Crow trained Harry Oscar (my selection), which was his 16 th of the season.
Bridgnorth rider Adam Wadlow celebrated his 26 th birthday at the course by riding a double at the Shropshire course which increased his tally to three for the season. The first leg came aboard Chalk It Up, who made every yard from flag fall to win the Members easily by 20 lengths from Altesse De Sou. The winner is owned jointly Ian Anderson, the secretary of the Tanatside Hunt and by David Barlow, the former point to point rider who now lives in Oxford since hanging up his boots. The winner is trained at Llanfechain By Gwynne Owen, who has been training pointers off and on for the last twenty years.
Wadlow had to work a lot harder to complete the double aboard the Richard Hewitt trained Benditbecks in the second division of the Restricted. The Supreme Leader gelding was headed twice but fought back to win a thriller by half a length from Ballingale Dawn with Claire Allen in the plate. The winner is owned and trained by Richard Hewitt at Red Wharf Bay in Anglesey. However, I am not certain that the winner would have beaten Tengrand who was traveling ominously well in the well known colours of Richard French before falling under Richard Burton three out
Why Connie in the Intermediate was the first leg of a double for Berkeley trainer Dick Baimbridge and rider Claire Allen. Aaron’s Run completed the double by following up his Whitwick victory last month in division 1 of the Restricted.
The best finish of the day was reserved for the Ladies Open. Coming to the last fence, the race looked done and dusted with Step And Run jumping the last with a lead of about a length and a half under Jane Williams and full of running but Kelda Wood aboard Shafts Chance also pinged the last full of running and in a desperate dual to the line the former prevailed by a neck; the runner up was in front past the post, but they pay on the jam stick.
Those of us with long memories will remember Tony and Mary Evans riding between the flags in earlier 1980’s .They both won on their mare Rockin Berry and she was responsible for them landing the spoils in the first division of the Open Maiden when a home bred son out of their mare Rock Royale stayed on well under Adrian Wintle to hold the fast finishing mare Lambrini Queen from the Lisa Williamson’s Chester yard by two and a half lengths; the runner up should not be long in winning a race.
Sammie Beddoes, the daughter of the clerk of the course, last visited the winners enclosure at Eyton on Severn on Easter Monday 2005 when she rode the Heidi Brookshaw trained Home Made to victory in the Ladies Open. She took last season off to give birth to her daughter, Catriona and rode her first winner back when Public Esteem stayed on strongly to win the Confined Maiden going away by 7 lengths from Murat. This was Radford trainer Gearoid Costelloe’s first winner in his own racing colours. The Worestershire based trainer is a man to keep the right side of as he has 25 horses in his yard and this was his second winner from just three runners.