The new 2008 season between the flags in the North Western Area finally got underway at the second attempt with the rescheduled Albrighton meeting at Weston Park.
The course, which celebrated twenty five years as a point to point venue, looked in excellent condition and was a credit to the joint clerks of the course, Martin Kemp and David Smith.
There was a couple of minor problems on the bend by the first fence, which held up racing a couple of times whilst remedial work was carried out, but nothing major and I’m certain that this will be put right for the Meynell & South fixture on Sunday March 16th.
The racing was excellent and the weather was mild and sunny, more in keeping with a Spring day. The crowd was reasonable for a rescheduled fixture, but attendances are always down when meetings are rearranged.
Adam Wadlow took the riding honours with a double at the Shropshire course. The first leg coming aboard Belligerent in the Restricted, who found a decent turn of foot to repel the persistent challenge of Beautiful Dawn under Sammie Beddoes by two and a half lengths with Upton Adventure was a further 6 lengths back in third. The winner is owned and trained at Bridgnorth by Belinda Clarke who was sending out her first runner of the season.
Wadlow completed a double on the Sue Taylor trained Christy Beamish in the combined Members race, the combination beating the gallant old boy Jemaro by 7 lengths but he made the winner work hard at times. The trainer was represented by her partner Paul Jones who used to hold the licence; their yard at Pattsall is only a mile from the course. Jones said afterwards that there was a hunter chase at Bangor next month that he would possibly run in. The runner up Jemaro looked a picture at the ripe old age of 17 and loves his racing, he attacks his fences with ears pricked and is such a credit to his trainer Caroline Robinson and has been a great schoolmaster to her children especially Immy. To me and a lot of people in this sport horses like Jemaro are what point to point racing is all about and that is taking nothing away from a very useful winner in Christy Beamish, which was his second of the season. It was a good day for Taylor as her charge Bravery Scotch won at Thorpe Lodge.
Madeline Barr, who trains a stones throw from Southwell racecourse at Farnsfield, sent out a very useful winner in Galaxy Bound, who was never extended to beat Sahara’s Dream by 4 lengths with the trainer’s son Fraser in the plate. Barr now in her third season as a trainer took out licence to give her son some riding experience as he rides out most days for Owen Brennan and John Harris, this was his second winner between the flags this season.
The opening race of the new season, the Intermediate contest was a thriller. Coming to the last fence Richard Burton on the Sheila Crow trained Clever Liz and Will Telfer on Real Definition jumped the fence as one and they remained locked together on the run to the line with the latter getting the verdict by a head from professional judge under rules, Nick Bostock, who is also our area secretary. Overbury Pearl was a further 8 lengths back in third. The winner is trained by Emma Lloyd at Gorsley, Nr Ross on Wye, who has held a licence off and on for the last 10 years. Speaking after the race, she said , “I am ecstatic, I really am. I have only had him since December, he was given to me as a bit of a throw away. We only have three horses and he is my third winner overall. We are very lucky because Peter Scudamore lets us use his gallops which is great. The horse is owned by The Little Bull Hill Racing Club, which was named after our cottage and we lease the horse to them and all of them are friends of ours, and I am really pleased for them today.” It is ironic that rider Will Telfer works five days a week for his boss Sheila Crow, who trained the runner up.
Richard Burton was aboard the favourite Reflected Glory from the local yard of Caroline Robinson in the next race on the card, the Men’s Open, but had to settle for second best to the Sophie George trained Lord Of Illusion who won a shade cosily under Charlie Daily by two and a half lengths. The winning rider works for the trainers husband Tom who trains under rules. The trainer was represented at the course by her husband who said afterwards that the horse had been up for sale and that around 10 people had been to look at him, but nobody made an offer so we decided to keep him.
With Burtie failing to find the winners yesterday it was left to his future wife Hannah Kinsey to fly the flag with Flashy Boy in the Ladies Open. The Roselier gelding made virtually ever yard from flag fall to win gamely by three parts of a length from Snowtre. The gelding was trained last year by the rider’s brother Will, who relinquished the licence to concentrate on being assistant trainer to Donald McCain Jnr at Cholmondley. However his mother Julie who trains at Chester used to train before and this was her first winner since her return to training, it was also a double celebration as she owns the winner as well. Sadly the Caroline Robinson trained Musally suffered a fatal injury in the race and had to be put down.
Will Kinsey rounded off a good afternoon for the family, when winning the Confined Maiden on the Paul Hogarth trained Mister Bloom who won readily by five lengths from the joint jolly Ben Ryan under Nick Oliver. The winner who is trained at Chelford, Nr Knutsford, is also owned by members of the Hogarth family consisting of Harry, Jeremy & Lindsay.