This years meeting differed from the past several years as the ground was riding very much on the testing side, making the day an emphasis on stamina. Although the damp weather persisted through out the afternoon, the beer tent appeared to do exceptionally well, with people queuing out the door.
The first race on the card was the Confined Conditions race, which went the way of Laura Mason and Wantage Road. Laura held her mount up in the rear and slowly made good progress through the field and jumped to the lead at the last to be ridden out towards the line and win, much to Laura’s uncle’s amazement (David Easterby), who believed the horse needed firm ground. Cop Howe travelled well into the straight and kept on for third, with Jake Greenall and King Among Queens coming from a long way back for third.
The Mason family made it a double on the day with the very progressive mare Poppy Day in the Ladies Open. Always going well Joanna Mason had to work on her mount turning into the straight, however stamina kicked in and the pair powered clear from two out to win emphatically. Nawaadi looked dangerous for a long way and ran his best race to date in second, whilst the old timer Wilfie Wild ran yet another creditable race back in third. Poppy Day may now take her chances in the Grimthorpe Gold Cup and will surely be the one to catch if she does.
The Restricted race looked one of the more competitive Restricted’s this season and saw 13 runners take part. Blazing Bull, Adieu Mari and Rich Hill all turned into the straight with a chance, however Blazing Bull and Adieu Mari both pulled well clear from two out and the better jump from Blazing Bull sealed it, with a short gap back to Adieu Mari and an even longer gap back to Rich Hill. The winner towered over everything else and will stay pointing for this season.
The Mens Open looked a one horse race on paper, however My Old Piano had to work very hard in the testing conditions. Several sketchy jumps had favourite backers worrying as the much improved Fox Point served it up to My Old Piano, both of whom were locked together all the way up the straight, Fox Point jumped two lengths up at the last, however Jake Greenall galvanised his mount to win by a head, with That’s Racing in a distant third.
The Open Maiden race was split and Division1 saw only two of the twelve runners complete. What A Cliché led into the straight and looked the winner two out, however One More Gypsy was driven home and made very heavy weather of it to win. Reef Dancer was travelling very well until falling four out. David Easterby bred the winner and bought the Dam Gypsy Race out of the money his mother had given him to buy a car when he was younger.
In Division2 three horses managed to finish and went the way of The Poor Man and Jake Greenall, to give the young jockey his first treble. The pair led between the last two and went on to win well. Red Roxy continues to improve back in second whilst Flag Hill filled third. The form figures of the winner were non to inspiring, which meant connections of Jake Greenall were non too happy for him to take the ride, however after one jockey remarked that the horse would win, they soon changed their minds. The Poor Man was bought unseen out of Ireland very cheaply and is also half brother to the useful pointer Always Right.
The Members race was very competitive this year and went the way of Lewesdon Duchess who took up the running 3 out and eventually went on to win easily, with Buckshaw staying on into second and trailblazer Texas Ranger, who could never really establish a big lead like he likes to, faded into third.
Confined Wantage Road Miss Laura Mason 14-1
Hunt Members Lewesdon Duchess C Dawson 5-2
Restricted Blazing Bull C Dawson 5-1
Ladies Open Poppy Day Miss J Mason EvenFAV
Mens Open My Old Piano Jake Greenall 1-3FAV
Open Maiden Div1 One More Gypsy Jake Greenall 9-4FAV
Open Maiden Div2 The Poor Man Jake Greenall 5-1