photos by Graham Fisher
The Tanatside meeting at Eyton-on-Severn produced top class competitive racing with 110 runners at the course to contest a marathon 9 race card. The Shropshire racecourse was once again a credit to their clerk of the course John Beddoes, who came in for much praise from owners, trainers and riders.
There is no substitute for class as Christy Beamish, last years Aintree Foxhunters winner demonstrated in the Ladies Open, when winning in an exercise canter under Claire Allan by a very easy 8 lengths from Pirate Flagship. The winner is trained by Sue Taylor and owned by Mick Mann. Taylor trains the horse between the flags and her partner Paul Jones trains the horse under rules. Speaking after the race Jones said, "Obviously we would have to consider running him in the Foxhunters at the Cheltenham Festival now, I know he has not run well there before, but he is so well in himself, just looking at him after the race he would not have blown a candle out."
One man who knows all about winning at Liverpool is Ginger McCain, who has won the Aintree Grand National four times, three times with Red Rum and once with Amberleigh House. Since he retired from training under rules he has trained quite a few winners between the flags, mainly for the flamboyant owner Derek Malam. The combination struck again in the second division of the Open Maiden with Pack Drill under Brian Toomey, who stayed on strongly on the run in to win a thriller by three parts of a length from Dan Maguire with Lotomore Court a similar distance back in third. McCain said afterwards that the owner had a landed a real betting touch on the winner.
Richard Burton took centre stage with a four timer at the Shropshire course, in fact he won with his only four rides of the day, to put him on the 12 winner mark for the season. He opened his account with his very first ride of the day in the opening Members race aboard the Joanne Priest trained History Master who won readily by 10 lengths from Chalk It Up. Priest who trains at Abberley said afterwards that she had decided to run her charge between the flags to get his confidence back, before he goes novice chasing later on in the year.
Proud Andees provided Burton with the second leg in the Men’s Open, he brought the French bred gelding with a perfectly timed run to win by two lengths from Kilarney Prince, with Shady Anne from the Gordie Edwards yard a further length away, the latter will not be long in winning on that run. As for the trainer Gary Hanmer he missed greeting his winner as he had been knocked over by a loose horse whilst standing by the second last fence in the novice riders race. Speaking on his way back hospital, he said, “I was just standing by the second last fence with one of my owners, when one of the grey horses followed another horse through the wing of the fence and I happened to be in the way, I feel like I have been 12 rounds with Mike Tyson, my ribs are bruised and I have sprained my back, but I will be ok, but I will not be riding out for a few days. I was pleased with Proud Andees performance with a 7lb penalty, the plan would be to run him in the Bangor Final." The winner is owned by Sarah Thomas from Oakenholt in Flint.
Gunner Be Quick in the well known colours of the late Edward Crow won the Restricted in a vintage ride from Burtie, getting up on the run in to win by a length and a half from Tommy Thunder, with Willie Wong a further 8 lengths back in third. Winning trainer Sheila Crow was elated when I spoke to her afterwards, she said,"I am so pleased to see him win in Edward's colours. He has always been a decent horse, but he never seemed to have a great deal of luck last season. He just needs to prove himself a bit more and then I will try him in a novice hunter chase."
Alison Dare has ridden more point to point winners than any other lady rider with a total of 287, she has now established herself as a successful trainer. She provided Richard Burton with a four timer with New Series in the second division of the two and a half mile Maiden, the Humbel gelding was not extended to beat Gem Mill by 7 lengths, with Uppertier a further 10 lengths back in third. The winner is owned by a syndicate called The It’s All In The Stars partnership, run by Bruce Akerman.
The first division of the two and a half mile Maiden saw The Rainbow Hunter with the stylish David Bass in the plate win unchallenged by 22 lengths from Moscow Mule with Nosey Gunner a further 8 lengths back in third. The son of Rainbow High is trained at Moreton Le Marsh by Scott Joynes who bought the horse for Miss Seely as an unbroken 3 yr old at Ascot Sales two years ago, he said afterwards that he taken time to mature and that he was very confident he would win today.
Good Time Willie ran out a very impressive winner under Will Hill in division 2 of the Open Maiden, the winner took up the running two from home and pulled clear to win by 15 lengths from Double Tangle, the staying on Karshaan was a further 6 lengths back in third. The winner is trained at Worthen by Willie Bryan for his father in David Smith, who is the chairman of the South Shropshire point to point committee. Bryan was elated when I spoke to him afterwards, he said, "He has always had ability, he used to be trained under rules by Peter Bowen, but he injured a leg at Bangor, so we have had to be patient with him, I am hoping he will progress enough to go to the Bangor Final, as it is a race that David Smith likes to have runners in, he couldn’t be here to watch the race as he is on holiday in South Africa."
The novice riders race went to 16yr old Sam Twiston-Davies on Grenfell who turned the tables on Eskimo Jack who had beaten him previously at Dunthrop, the mare won by a couple of lengths from Eskimo Jack with the staying on Chicuelo a further 5 lengths away. The winner is trained by his mother Cathy Twiston-Davies. Speaking afterwards, she said," I am pleased for Sam that’s his second point to point winner and he won under rules at Ludlow last week, he is very dedicated he rides three lots out every day before school. I will look for an Intermediate race for her next, it was lovely ground out there today and she relished it."