Oxford University Hunt Club
Official Ground: Good (Jockeys reported ground riding on the lively side of good.)
Finally, a South Midlands Area meeting that survived the weather and spectators who braved the cold were well rewarded with a competitive days racing.
More Trouble continued to prove himself as the course specialist in the Confined, making it 5 wins from 5 appearances at Kingston Blount. The 2/7 Favourite made all under James Tudor to see off the challenge of Ambrosinni (Phil York) and Lord Attica (Rachel Reynolds) in 6 minutes and 13 seconds by 1 and a half lengths and 3 lengths respectively. “He’s a different horse with blinkers, he’ll still probably only do as much as he needs to, but that’s 6 from 6 with blinkers and we hope to head for a Hunter Chase later in the season,” said Trainer Alan Hill.
Alan quickly followed up this training success with another when Balladeer came home 4 lengths in front of Home by Midnight (Hannah Watson) under a perfectly timed ride from Gina Andrews in the Ladies Open. Balladeer, was brought from Henrietta Knights with the hope that Alan’s daughter, Gabby, will take the ride later in the season. Home by Midnight, also returning from a lengthy absence is worth noting and should find reward next time out.
One training double was quickly followed by another when trainer-rider Phil York took the Men’s Open on Euro Bleu (11/10 Favourite). He saw off the ever-present challenge of Northall Lad (Joe Docker) to finish 2 lengths in front. “He’s not really too fussed on the track or the ground, but we’ll probably look for a Hunter Chase a bit later on in the season,” explained Phil York.
The second leg of the double came in Division 2 of the older horse maiden when Dawn Display made amends after his disappointing run at Godstone last time out to come home 5 lengths in front of Free From Magee (Johnny Bailey) under a typically persuasive ride from Phil York who explained, “He’d always shown a lot of promise at home so we knew he had it in him.” Unfortunately, Mister Cee Jay who originally finished 2 and a half lengths second was disqualified when the rider, Jack Watson, failed to weigh in.
The ride of the day came in the Intermediate from Adam Wedge, who provided a ‘never say die’ spectacle, when The Camarengo came off the bit a full circuit from home. Responding to Adam’s ongoing urgings, he caught the long time leader Killnascully King (Nick Phillips) going to the last and provided trainer Andrew Corbett and Andrew’s grandmother Felicity McFarlene with a well deserved win, “I have had a runner point to pointing for 40 consecutive seasons,” explained Felicity.
Reward too came for Ben Poste in the Restricted when the impressive 5 year old Dream Article saw off the fast finishing The Nun’s Legacy (Hannah Watson) and Bynack Mhor (James Tudor) in a neck and neck finish. “Ben was supposed to ride him 12 months ago but broke his back in a fall at Bangor, so it’s great he’s won on him today,” explained trainer Caroline Griffiths, “I brought Dream Article with a view to hopefully win with him and then sell him but he’s so lovely to do at home and now, typical girl, I’ve fallen in love and can’t part with him!”
Division 1 of the older horse maiden went to Ben Tuckey, aboard his father’s Betavix. Confidently ridden, he sat off the pace until making strong headway 3 out and eventually caught long time leader Boddington Lad (Phil Nichols) after the second last. “We thought he would probably stay and as soon as I felt he was jumping well I was pretty happy,” explained Ben, “He’s a bit unlucky at home because he has to work against our Open Horses, like Chilling Place, but we’re thrilled and he’ll probably head to another local meeting like Whitfield next.”
Division 1 of the 2.5 mile maiden went to David Thorpe’s Quenzo Conti (Mark Wall) who came home 4l in front of Oujamaflip (Pete Mann) who was left in front at the 13th and should make amends soon.
The faster division of the 2.5 mile maiden went to the Jimmy Tarry trained Easy Dancer (Tom Ellis) who followed up on his recent 3rd at North Carlton to Byways Boy (who went on to win his restricted today at Brocklesby Park). Sitting handy throughout, he was driven upsides Mister Tibbs (Henry Kinchen) 2 out and after a better jump at the last found extra to get up by a neck. “Good ground is key for him,” explained Tom.
Overall a great days racing with good-sized fields and some fantastic finishes. Ride of the day for me was Adam Wedge on The Camarengo and one for the notebook would be Dream Article.