The bumper crowd at Eyton on Severn were treated to a really good days racing, and with the two and a half mile Maiden divided they had an extra race to watch, making eight races in total on the day. There were large fields plenty of runners, it is what you would call a proper race meeting. The course looked in excellent condition, it was a credit to the clerk of the course John Beddoes, with many owners trainers and riders describing the ground as perfect.
The feature race on the card was the Men’s Open, which went to the Sian McCain trained Ice Tea under Richard Burton, the combination took up the running five out and pulled three lengths clear of the Phillip Rowley trained Billyvodden in the well known colours of Juliet Minton. The winner is owned by the flamboyant entrepreneur Derek Malam , who purchased the horse in the summer with a view to having a runner in the Bangor Final. Cholmondley trainer Sian McCain was very bullish about her charges chances in that race. Speaking after the race, she said, “Bangor Final here we come, he will improve a lot from that race. Providing it does not come up soft at Bangor then nothing will beat us in the Bangor Final, at the end of the day he is a class horse.”
Burton went on to complete a double on the card on the Caroline Robinson trained Shales Big Wood in the second division of the two and a half mile Maiden, the combination came home unchallenged by 20 lengths from Ten Ace with Skoobiddle a further 6 lengths back in third.. The son of Karinga Bay is co owned by Roy Swinburne and Louise Powis from Pattingham, who pick up the trophy as their race was a second faster than the first division at 5m 11s. Speaking after the race Robinson said, ”I love the family of this horse as I train his half brother Shales Ay Jay. He has come on a lot from his last race at Bangor. He pleased me today with his jumping, saying that he always jumps well at home. I will run him next in a Restricted and hopefully he will progress further.”
The first division of the two and a half mile Maiden went to Chan Bahlum, who was given a very confident ride by Lorna Brooke, who set off to make every yard and did so by 14 lengths from Tara Rose with John Flook in the plate. The winner is trained at Pennybont on the Welsh borders by the riders mother Lady Sue Brooke who bought the horse two seasons ago from Patrick Millington.
Another horse and rider to make every yard was Lord Bellamy in the Resticted , the gelding won easing down by 25 lengths under Mark Wilesmith from Golden Harvey with Quick Bay a further two lengths back in third. The disappointment of the race was the heavily gambled on Rash Call from the Sheila Crow yard, who was beaten when falling at the second last fence. The winner is trained at Dymock by the riders father Martin Wilesmith, who said afterwards that the plan had been to stretch the opposition and he added that it worked a treat.
There was a cracking finish to the Ladies Open, on the run to last fence there were virtually three horses in a line, but in a driving finish the spoils went to Sue Sharratt aboard Scotmail Too who found a good turn of foot on the run in to beat Petit Lord under Angela Rucker by a couple of lengths, Murphys Million under Immy Robinson was a further length back in third. It was a good performance by the winner, who was second two days previously at Sandon and she did well as the horse was nearly taken off the course by the loose horse. This was a notable landmark for the rider as it was her 60th career winner, she now qualifies for the veteran riders title in the area, but she is still very hard to beat in the area ladies championship, a great competitor who is a great credit to our sport. Sharratt trainers the winner at Eccleshall and co owns the horse with Di Cope who is the entries secretary of the North Staff Hunt, and her mother Dorothy Cope.
The opening Members race was won in good style by the Phil Jones trained Lord Louis who won with plenty in hand under Will Kinsey, beating his brother in law Richard Burton by 10 lengths on Go For Bust. The Sir Harry Lewis gelding is owned by Bridget Everall, the wife of the former North West point to point area chairman Roger Everall. Welshpool trainer Phil Jones said afterwards that his charge had come on from the Bangor race, where he was second and added that the Bangor Final would be his aim this season.
Nomadic Dreamer trained at Morville by Philip Rowley was a very impressive winner of the Confined under Liam Payter, the combination pulled clear from the third last fence to win easing down by 7 lengths from the staying on Glidewell, the jolly History Master under Richard Burton was a further 3 lengths back in third. The winner is co-owned by Ann Tolhurst and Juliet Minton. The winner was bought two years ago in Ireland by the co-owners husband David Minton, a well known bloodstock agent for 15,000 euros. Minton said afterwards that the winner was progressive and added that he may run in a hunter chase at Exeter next, but his main aim is the Intermediate Final at Cheltenham in May. The winner is a half brother to Big Fella Thanks, the current ante post favourite for Saturdays Aintree John Smiths Grand National.
They say that everything comes to he who waits, well in the case of owner Don Constable that wait has been thirty years of trying to have a winner at his local course. He finally achieved his goal in the Open Maiden when Witness This carried his colours to victory easily under Dave Mansell from the long time leader Gem Mill. The winner is trained by Zoey Hammond, it has been a good weekend for Constable as he had a winner with Blinding Lights at Sandon two days before.