The firm ground had caused the cancellation of five meetings over the May Bank Holiday weekend. However, there were no such problems at Eyton on Severn for the North Shropshire fixture. Clerk of the course John Beddoes and his team of helpers carried out extensive watering at the course, which paid dividends as they only had 118 entries declared, so to have 38 runners yesterday was a good result. The crowd was down on previous years, maybe it was down to an unfavourable weather forecast or the new start of 4.00pm or perhaps a combination of the both. However those that stayed away missed an excellent days racing.
Richard Burton had one hand on the national riders championship prior to to the fixture; he now has both hands firmly clasped around the trophy after completing a treble at his local course, putting him on the 34 winner mark for the season.
He rode his 32 nd winner aboard Willie Wong in the two and a half mile Maiden, but in doing so he had to come from virtually off the floor after slipping up on the bottom bend in the back straight. In the end it was a vintage riding performance from Burton who got up in the very last stride to beat Iris’s Dream by a head in a thriller. The horse is co owned by Burtie and fellow riders Will Kinsey, David Greenway and top national hunt jockey Richard Johnson, who was at the course to watch his horse win. Speaking after the race, Johnson said, “I have never had a share in a horse before. Richard bought the horse and rang me up to offer me a share. It seemed strange standing in the paddock as an owner, I didn’t really know what to do. I am really pleased that he has won and I would think that in time he would make a decent horse under rules one day.” The winner is trained at Hadnall by Sheila Crow and Willie Wong was the second of the two horses nominated by her husband Edward as the dark horses to follow from the yard, the other one The Accordian Man has won two races this season. This is the tenth season that Edward Crow has nominated his dark horse selection or selections from the yard and his record is now 15 winners from 16 selections, a remarkable strike rate. Sheila Crow has always rated the winner highly, speaking after the race she said, “I have always thought a lot of him and to win after almost coming down and losing so many lengths is the stamp of a good horse. He will improve a lot from that race and he will be a serious horse next season, he really will.”
Burtie completed the double in the Men’s open on Honest Yer Honour who was a very impressive winner beating Merry Path on the bit by 20 lengths. An Capall Dubh was a further 15lengths back in third. Sherrifhales trainer Caroline Robinson has always held her charge in high regard. Robinson was delighted to see her charge back in the winners’ enclosure, she said, “It is nice to have him back. He has plenty of ability, but has had a few injuries. In the last 10 days he has really pleased me in his work at home and we were hopeful today and in the end he has done it very well. There are a few races than I could run him in but the Bangor Final in a couple of weeks looks the most likely at the moment.”
Burtie completed the treble with ease on the mare Go Classic in the Confined. The combination were far too good for Claire Allen on Snowtre winning easing down by 10 lengths. The Eens from the Ginger McCain yard was a further 4 lengths back in third. The winner is trained at Bishops Castle by Pam Sykes, which was her third winner of the season. Sykes said afterwards that the mare got struck into at Cottenham last season and that she had given her plenty of time to heal. She was also full of praise for all the hard work that the clerk of the course John Beddoes and his team had done in getting the course fit for racing, she said, “They have done a wonderful job with the watering at the course it is in great condition.” The winner is owned by Sally Edwards from Welshpool, Frank Cornes from Shrewsbury and Clive Gittins from Chirbury.
It was also a good day for Richard Burton’s long time partner Hannah Kinsey following the success of Magicien in the Ladies Open, who was winning his second race in three days. The 2-7 jolly ran out a comfortable three length winner from Sue Sharratt on Seize The Moment. It is no wonder that Shobdon trainer Steve Issac thinks the world of this horse as he has now won 9 times for him; Issac plans to run his charge next at the Wheatland meeting at Chaddlesley Corbett. The French bred gelding is owned by Barbara Gibbons from Prestiene, who is the former master of the Team Valley Hunt.
Hannah’s brother Will also found the winners enclosure after Kings Reason easily accounted for the odds on jolly Tengrand winning going away by 10 lengths with Gaucho was a further 12 lengths back in third. Kinsey who also trains the winner at Chester was recording his 8 th winner of the season in the plate. Macclesfield owner Ann Cardwell has had horses in training for the last seven years, but this was the first one she had had in training with Kinsey. I suppose if you reflect that Kinsey owns a share in Willie Wong, then how many people have a winner as a trainer, rider and owner with two different horses?
A lot of people will feel that justice was done when Beautiful Dawn won the Open Maiden under Sammie Beddoes beating Heezbehindyou by a length and a half. The gelding looked all over the winner at Bangor when falling at the last fence with the race at his mercy; he then picked up an injury after an accident on the road which gave his trainer Heidi Brookshaw concussion. This was Brookshaw’s third winner of the season, not a bad strike rate as she only has three horses in training. The winner is owned jointly by Elaine Fearnall and Nev Jones, the latter who farms at Bangor on Dee has also had winners under rules with Alan Bailey.
The opening Members race was won by Lord Louis who recorded his second success at Eyton this season, after holding off the late challenge of Clever Liz comfortably by a length and a quarter under a very confident ride from Charlie Huxley. The runner up is trained by Huxley’s aunty Sheila Crow. The winner is trained at Maesmawr in Welshpool by Phil Jones and is owned by his mother in law Bridget Everall, the wife of the North Western area chairman Roger Everall. The Everalls bred the winner themselves, the dam Cute Pam used to be ridden by Phil Jones and Steve Brookshaw between the flags. The gelding landed a touch in the ring as he was backed down from 4-1 to 10-11 favourite at the off .