Eyton on Severn attracted a massive Easter Monday holiday crowd on Easter Monday but unfortunately it was a case of spot the runner at the Shropshire course with only 25 horses to contest 7 races.
Clerk of the course John Beddoes had watered the track for two days prior to racing, but it was still fast ground. I had a look between the last two fences after the second race and the horses were making a print in the ground, but it is a fact of life that a lot of owners and trainers do not like running their horses on firm ground.
Hadnall trainer Sheila Crow took centre stage at her local course with a treble, in fact, she only sent three horses to the course and all three went in.
The first leg came in the Confined with Merry Path, who made every yard to beat his only other rival Strongtrooper by 10 lengths. The winner was ridden by 20yr old Tim Park, a physics graduate at Lancaster University, who was winning in the colours of his mother Vicky from Milton Green, Nr Chester. This was Tim’s second winner in the plate as he won on Springwood White at Chaddesley Corbett last season. Crow said afterwards that she bought him last August for the owners for their son to ride in point to points, she added that her charge keeps his form well.
The second leg came aboard Clever Liz in the Restricted under a first class tactical ride from the champion rider Richard Burton, his 25 th of the season, and a double at the course. He stalked Times Two for most of the race and made his move two out and landed full of running over the last two fences to win going away by three lengths from the long time leader Times Two. It was pleasing to see the winning colours of Shrewsbury owner Gareth Samuel back in the winners enclosure at his local course, his wife Jane enters all the horses for Sheila Crow. Crow was elated when I spoke to her afterwards, she said, “We bred the winner ourselves, Edward (Crow) has always said that she has a lot of speed. She wants good ground but not as firm as it today. I was thrilled with her jumping and Richard ( Burton) said she found a nice turn of foot when he asked her, she will improve from this race.”
Land Lord completed the treble in the Open Maiden. The Mister Lord gelding was all out at the jam stick to hold the renewed challenge of Louise’s Choice under Sarah Gorse by a fast diminishing half length. The winner was ridden by her nephew Charlie Huxley who went on to complete his first ever double as a rider. Up until Saturday morning Land Lord was owned by Pip Harney, the joint master of the North Shropshire Hunt. He sold his horse last week to Peter Handley, who is a blacksmith from Morton Wood Market Drayton. He was delighted when I spoke to him afterwards. He said, “I only did the deal with Pip on Wednesday night and I have only officially owned him for two days. I missed not having a pointer, I used to have Secret Alliance in training with Sheila (Crow) and he won races for me, so that’s two horses in training with Sheila and that’s two winners, that sounds like a good formula to me.”
This was Sheila Crow’s 16 th winner of the season, she had a very good Easter, as she sent three horses to Bitterley on Easter Saturday, Ballylusky, Lord Bush and The Accordian Man, and all three won.
Only two runners went to post for the Men’s Open, but the result was the same as last year, with victory going to Cornish Gale under Richard Burton who went on to complete a double at the course, beating Charlie Huxley on Shraden Edition by 10 lengths. As for the winning trainer it was a case of flip flopping with the McCains, Donald McCain Jnr trained Cornish Gale last year, this time around the Strong Gale gelding was trained by his famous father Ginger. Winning owner Derek Malam, the flamboyant entrepreneur from Nantwich was recording his 60 th winner as an owner.
Charlie Huxley did not leave the Shropshire course empty handed after he won the two and a half mile Maiden aboard Lord Louis, who quickened up well to beat the long time leader Murat readily by 3 lengths. The winner is trained at Maesmawr, Nr Welshpool by Phil Jones and owned by his mother in law Bridget Everall, who is the wife of our area chairman Roger Everall. The winner was home bred by the Everalls, the dam Cute Pam used to be ridden by Phil Jones and Steve Brookshaw in point to point races. Huxley also went on to complete a double on Land Lord in the Open Maiden.
The Ladies Open was run in an amazing time of six minutes and a second, with victory going to Magicien under Hannah Kinsey who beat the gallant Home Made under Sammie Beddoes by 3 lengths. The old boy Jemaro was a further 4 lengths back in third under 16yr old Immy Robinson, who was having only her second ride in a point to point race. This old boy now 16yrs young is a credit to his trainer Caroline Robinson, when you see horses like this ears pricked at every fence and really enjoying himself , it makes you feel that’s what our sport is about. The winner is owned by Barbara Gibbons from Presteine and trained at Shobdan by Steve Issac. Issac plans to run his charge next in the Lady Dudley Cup at Chaddesley Corbett, and he added that his charge is an April horse and that he would come on for the race.
The Members race was disappointing as it resulted in a walk over for the Claire Rowson owned and ridden Glacial River. The veteran gelding is trained by Penny Grainger.