A treble for Nick Pearce and a seventh successive Open win for Bee An Bee were the highlights at Godstone Races (Sat 28th Feb), on a day when a fair-sized crowd saw six favourites win in eight exciting races, on perfect racing ground and with weather that improved throughout the afternoon.
It didn't all go to plan however: Star Gift, odds-on favourite in the opening race, the first division of the Maiden, was turned over by High Toby and Philip York and the popular local veteran Carryonharry, now 15 and going for his 15th Ladies Open win, was run out of it by Worcestershire raider Angela Rucker on Blue Business. Both horses were sired by Roselier, but Blue Business, four years younger and receiving weight, found more on the run-in to beat his half-brother by half a length.
Claire Allen took the second leg of the Maiden on the well-backed The Last Optimist by 12 lengths, and Letterman came back to his best form to win the Conditions race, first leg of Nick Pearce's treble for his patron Simon Tindall. Stuart Robinson and Bee An Bee were barely troubled to win the Mens Open by a distance. Although David Maxwell and Noakarad De Verzee tried to mix it with the relentless Bee An Bee they were a spent force on the final circuit and it was the accomplished veteran Valley Henry who finished second.
Say Grace was backed off the boards to win the Mares and Fillies Maiden, and duly did so with visitors Present Love and Trenley Lawn filling the places. Iphar, runner-up in two Godstone maiden races last year, put his nine rivals to the sword in the Restricted, David Maxwell taking him to the front at the 14th fence and drawing away to win by a distance.
The Pearce/Tindall treble was sealed by Jack's Present, the seven-year-old mare, in the concluding Hunt race. Nick Pearce bided his time but was in total command by the final open ditch and the winning distance was 15 lengths.
The next meeting in the South East is at Detling on Saturday March 14th, featuring the 4-mile Kent Grand National.