Last Saturdays’ North Staffs meeting between the flags at Sandon near Stone was very much one for the diehards with the weather; it was a bitterly cold afternoon with the odd snow shower thrown in for good measure. The wintry conditions resulted in a much smaller crowd than normal, those that stayed away missed a really good days racing.
This meeting staged the feature race in the area, which was the Scally Muire Ladies Open worth a monkey in prize money. It was fitting therefore that the contest should be won by the class horse in the race Christy Beamish, who was not extended under Sue Sharratt to win by 20 lengths from Mytimie. The winner is trained near Wolverhampton by Sue Taylor for Solihull owner Mick Mann, who has had horses with Paul Jones for many years. Jones, who plans the campaigns for the horses trained by his partner Sue Taylor, was delighted with the performance of the winner. Speaking afterwards, he said, “We will see how he comes out of this race, the plan is still to go for the Punchestown Festival, but I will also enter him for Liverpool as well, as he always seems to go well there. I am really pleased to have won the feature race in the area, that’s what its all about winning the really good races, and I am so pleased for Mick (Mann), he has been with me for years.”
Sue Sharratt went on to complete a double in the Members race aboard Scotmail Too who made every yard to finish alone. Sharratt also trains the winner at Ridware for owner Paul Dawes from Overpeoever in Cheshire, he bought the son of Saddlers Wells at the Doncaster sales last year.
Ballylusky won the Men’s Open in a hack canter under Richard Burton, coming home by a distance from Harry Challoner aboard Lascar De Ferbet. This was Burties 12 th winner of the season, which leaves him 7 behind the current leader Ollie Greenall. The winner is trained at Hadnall by Sheila Crow for owners William and Angela Rucker. The winner was notching up 8 th victory in two seasons, which is a credit to his trainer Sheila Crow.
Harry Challoner did not leave the Staffordshire course empty handed after the shock 25-1 winner Bobsourown landed the Restricted readily by 3 lengths from the gamble of the race I’m An Optimist with Richard Burton in the plate for trainer guy Landau. The winner is trained at Warrington by Alex Ashman, who was recording her first winner as a trainer, the owner Eric Chapman has had 60 winners under rules in his colours, but the first between the flags, he has been very patient as well as the winner has had niggling injury problems for the last 4 years states his trainer.
There was another shock result in the Open Maiden when Trinket Too defied his odds of 20-1 to win the race under Ollie Finnegan with more in hand than the 4 length margin over Musical Weld from the Gordie Edwards yard, the runner up should not be long in winning. As for the winner who is owned and trained by Gemma Dewhurst at Cholmondley, it was a case of a proper point to point horse, as she had bred and broken in the gelding, she told me that she had put a bottle in the fridge to celebrate when she got home to the fact that she had got him to run at a course, I expect her tipple tasted even sweeter in the evening. As for the rider, he was recording his first winner between the flags in the UK, as he had previously ridden winners in Ireland. The trainer seems to have been around for ages, those of us a bit long in the tooth will remember her other good horse Brown Esquire.
Eighteen year old Penley schoolgirl Lucinda Dutton rode her first ever winner at Weston Park last week, she has now doubled that tally after Bak On Board won the Novice riders race easily from Pot Shot. The winner is trained by her father Geoff at Marchiel, Nr Wrexham, he bought the Sula Bula gelding at the Ascot sales last year. The one to note from this race was Touch Closer who came from another county to take third.
There was a bit of a touch landed in the 2m 5 furlong Open Maiden after Murphys Fusilier landed the spoils readily under Jonathon Jarrett from the well backed Shales Ay Jay. The winner was backed down from 20-1 to 7-1 at the off, and the winning trainer Helen Needham and owner Jim Callow from Kidderminster said afterwards that they were aware of a gamble on their horse, but said they never had a penny on. Punters who took part in the plunge have the former national champion point to point rider Andrew Dalton to thank for their winnings, as the trainers horsebox broke down on the M6 motorway, so she rang up Dalton who collected her and the horse and brought them to Sandon.