OLIVER Greenall, 21, has his first National Men’s title well sealed up. The Yorkshire-based rider partnered his 54th winner of the season at sun baked Bratton Down on Sunday to equal Ashley Farrant’s record, which has stood for four years. Greenall, whose father Peter (now Lord Daresbury), was champion point-to-point jockey four times in the 1980’s, added two winners at the Tiverton Staghounds fixture on Sunday to his double at Trecoed in Pembrokeshire the previous day. “A fabulous weekend,” the young jockey said. He added: “I have three or four likely rides at Umberleigh next Saturday to see if I can beat Ashley’s record”.
Greenall rode a confident race on the useful Network Oscar, who was seeking his fifth win of the season, and stayed on strongly to beat Zesta Fiesta and Gin ‘N’ Fonic to win the Men’s Open. The seven-year-old is owned by Eric Brook and trained at Sherrif Hutton by David Easterby. “He is probably our best pointer this year,” said the trainer, who added that the Grimthorpe Cup is his long term objective for next season.
The Yorkshire contingent had to settle for second best when evens favourite Pristine Condition, owned by Lord Daresbury, could not catch the free running Parsifal in the Intermediate. Claire Allen was content to give her seven rivals a 20 lengths start on Parsifal, but the nine year old had pulled his way to the front by the fourth obstacle and was never headed after that. Parsifal became the 500th point-to-point winner to be saddled by his trainer Dick Baimbridge, based at Hill in the Berkeley country, and whose training exploits span five decades.
It was left to Big Daves Legend to provide Greenall with his double in the Restricted. Mervyn Woodward made a bold effort to steal the race on Captain Machell, but was caught by the winner at the final fence and went down by two lengths despite rallying gamely on the run in. Big Daves Legend is owned by his breeder Pam Pengelly, and trained by Ollie Bush.
The same owner was back in the winner’s enclosure when the Roselier grey That’s My Boy, ridden by Amanda Bush, took the first Open Maiden. “I felt confident all the time,” reported the winning rider, who sent her mount to the front after jumping the last and soon stretched clear up the final climb.
Fleur De Nikos was an impressive all the way winner of the Ladies Open, following up her recent Stratford hunter chase victory in the hands of 20-year-old Jenny Carr. “Fleur De Nikos needs this better ground and we have now worked out how to ride her best,” said owner/trainer Alan Walter. Carr now leads the Devon & Cornwall Area Lady Novice Riders’ and is only one win behind joint leaders Lucy Jones and Gina Andrews for the equivalent National title.
Polly Gundry is home and dry for the Ladies’ Championship – both local and National. She rode her 39th winner of the season when John Jordan’s Ashwood took the second division of the Maiden, despite losing several lengths when hanging badly on the top bend. Polly now needs another winner to equal Polly Curling’s record of 40 winners for the Ladies’ title which she achieved in 1995.
The success of 13-year-old Harnage in the Hunt race might not have broken any records, but this gelding was securing the Hunt race prize for his owner Rodney Grant for the fourth time, twice with Harnage and twice with Spinning Silver. Harnage was giving his rider Caroline Farrant her first winner this year.
Members: Harnage (Caroline Farrant) 1; Grey Ciseaux (Eleri Apps) 2. 1/2l; 6.03.
Intermediate: Parsifal (Claire Allen) 1; Pristine Condition (Oliver Greeall) 2; Antonine (Nick Olier) 3. 3l, 10l; 5.53.
Men’s Open: Network Oscar (Oliver Greenall ) 2; Zesta Fiesta (Danny Cook) 2; Gin ‘n’ Fonic (Ian Popham) 3. 7l, 6l; 5.51.
Ladies: Fleur De Nikos (Jenny Carr) 1; Saint Romble (Katherine Hobbs) 2; Gemster (Polly Gundry) 3. 8l, 8l; 5.46.
Restricted: Big Daves Legend (Oliver Greenall) 1; Captain Machell (Merv Woodward) 2; Spella Park (Danny Cook) 3.
Open Maiden Div 1: That’s My Boy (Amanda Bush) 1; Ninah (Merv Woodward) 2; Karley (Polly Gundry) 3. 6l, 3 1/2l; 6.02.
Open MaidenDiv 2: Ashwood (Polly Gundry) 2; Catch You Later (Will White) 2. 15l; 6.04.