Tabley clerk of the course Rob Hankey came in for a lot of deserved praise from owners, trainers, riders and punters alike for producing good racing ground. He had watered the track all week and was rewarded with plenty of runners at the Cheshire course.
The biggest crowd that I have ever seen at Tabley were rewarded with an excellent days racing; our area secretary Nick Bostock said that it was the best meeting that he had been to so far this season in the North Western area and on reflection he is probably right.
Hankey had another reason to celebrate after his horse Noble Persian had to come from virtually off the floor to win the Members race by half a length under Gary Hamner from Harry Challoner on Montessori Mio. The Persian Bold gelding was winning his fourth consecutive race of the season, but he had to overcome a bad blunder at fifth from home which saw him almost on the deck. Hamner also trains the winner at his Nantwich yard.
Much Wenloch trainer Lisa Willis completed a double at the course. The first leg came in the Intermediate with Fresh Love who won very easily by 20 lengths under Richard Burton, which was the champion riders 26 th winner of the season. The winner is owned by Mike Rowley from Droitwich, he bought the winner last year from the Doncaster sales.
The second leg came with the old boy No Retreat who galloped the opposition into submission in the Men’s Open coming home by twenty lengths under Will Kinsey from Whistling Straits with Themanfromcarlisle a further 5 lengths back in third. The winner carried the well known colours of Mark Harris from Berrington Hall. Willis said afterwards that her charge would run next in the Bangor Final, a race that he has won twice before.
Will Kinsey went on to complete a double in the plate following the hard fought success on Adams Wine in the Restricted, who got up in the last 50 yards to beat Adam Wadlow on Belligerent by three parts of a length. Ridware Boy was a further 8 lengths back in third. Will Kinsey also trains the winner at Chester. He purchased the horse from Eddie O Grady in Ireland three year ago. The horse is co-owned by his father Richard, who was celebrating his 59 th birthday at the course, the other owner is Dr Nick Halstead from Tarporley.
Hadnall trainer Sheila Crow recorded her 17 th winner of the season after Rorystown Boy, ridden by Barry Denvir, won the Open Maiden by 25 lengths from the only other finisher Cheers Thank You. The gelding is owned by Jim Ratcliffe from Newmarket who has horses on the level in training with Michael Bell and Willie Jarvis. I asked Sheila if Burtie could have ridden the winner, she said, ”When Barry joined me from Northern Ireland this season I promised him the ride on this horse and the owner had no complaints and I am pleased for the lad and for the owner. I have only had the horse for about 10 weeks. He has settled in well at home and he is a good jumper, he did nothing wrong today.”
The Ladies Open was won in fine style by Little Brown Bear in the well known colours of racecourse steward George Barlow. The veteran gelding jumped like a stag and won with his head in his chest under Jane Williams winning by 15 lengths from Redskin Raider with Flashy Boy a further 8 lengths back in third. The winner is trained at Enville by the riders mother Diana, speaking after the race, she said, “He has been hunting all season and really enjoying himself, we had retired him, but he has been so enthusiastic out hunting, that I spoke to George (Barlow) and we decided to give him another crack at racing again, and it has worked out well.”
I cannot remember the last dead heat race in the North Western Area, but that is exactly what happened in the Open Maiden for 5,6& 7 yr old horses. Professor Hegarty looks all over the winner jumping the last fence under Will Hill but Vallum under Stuart Ross landed running and joined Professor Hegarty on the line, the commentator Eric Windsor could not separate them, and neither could the judge Peter Heaton who gave a dead heat. The heavily backed jolly Willie Wong, who is co-owned by Richard Burton was a further 5 lengths back in third .Vallum is owned and trained by Jane Froggatt and was her first winner of the season. Professor Hegarty is owned by David Smith and trained at Worthen by his son in law Willie Bryan. Smith stood down this season as chairman of the South Shropshire Hunt after 20 years in office.