The Cheshire Forest meeting at sun drenched Tabley attracted a massive crowd who were treated to nine races on the day as both Maidens had to been divided .Clerk of the course Rob Hankey did a fantastic job watering the course, he came in for much praise from owners trainers and riders.
The General Lee was a very impressive winner of the AGA Ladies Open under Lorna Brooke winning cosily by six lengths from Proud Andees. Well Saved fell and brought down the favourite Kicks For Free in the process, which brought a huge groan from the crowd. The winner is trained at Bridgenorth by Phillip Rowley and owned by Jim Squires from Wolverley. Rowley said afterwards that the winner will be aimed at the Aga Ladies Final at Cheltenham on Wednesday May 4th.
Another horse bound for the hunter chase meeting at Cheltenham is the Gary Hanmer trained Ballyeightra Cross who was not extended under Miles Seston to win the Men's Open by ten lengths from the well backed jolly My Old Piano under Tom Greenall. The course specialist Le Seychellois was a further length and a half back in third. Hanmer thinks a lot of his charge who is owned by Steve Evason. Speaking after the race, he said, "He goes next to the Intermediate Final at Cheltenham, I was going to run him in the race last year, but we decided to let him mature a bit more, but he has really strengthened up this season. He is a nice progressive type who keeps improving."
The Rodeo Clown won a very dramatic Red Mills Intermediate race under Jack Quinlan beating the hotpot That's Ben from the Sheila Crow yard in the very final stride to win by a neck. The winner was two lengths down jumping the last but rallied well to get his head in front.. The winner is owned and trained in Newmarket by John Ferguson who is the bloodstock agent to Sheikh Mohammed. Speaking after the race, he said, "I bought him last year of Michael Stroud in Ireland. I was told that Tabley was a beautiful course and that they always produced lovely ground. I have found both to be true, the clerk of the course has done a brilliant job of producing good racing ground."
However Sheila Crow and Richard Burton did not leave the Cheshire course empty handed after completing a double. The first leg came aboard Captain Scarlett in the first division of the Open Maiden, the combination took up the running at the last fence a won readily by three lengths from Derek Smith on Overtly Blue, with Lambrini Classic third. The winner is owner by the Crow family and is well thought of by the trainer. Speaking after the race, she said," We bought him last August at the Fairyhouse Sales as an unbroken four year old. We only named the horse three weeks ago, when Richard (Burton) rode him three weeks ago he told me that he thought he could be very good, he will definitely improve from this race and is a nice prospect to have in the yard."
The second leg came in the second division of the two and a half mile Maiden with the Derek Pugh owned Walcot Lathyrus who pulled clear to win unchallenged by 15 lengths from Time Gentlemen.
Another trainer in double figures at the course was Chester trainer Will Kinsey, who also rode both winners. He performed heroics to land the Restricted with Echo India after the saddle slipped back on the run to the last, in the end it was a good riding performance to win by a length from Gillon Crow on Sea Robber, the fast finishing Fairymount was a further half a length back in third. The winner is owned by Ann Cardwell from Macclesfield. Kinsey had to work equally as hard to complete the double on Joe's A Boy in the second division of the Maiden, in the end the combination was all out to hold the sustained challenge of Mr Wickham by three parts of a length, the long time leader Vrondi was a further six lengths back in third.
The opening Members race saw The Gary Hanmer trained Noble Persian under Miles Seston jump the last with a two length lead and finish third behind Broken Reed and the winner Reasonably Sure under 19 year old Derek Smith who was recording his first winner between the flags, Smith also works for Will Kinsey. The winner is trained at Manley by Richard Edwards for owner Elizabeth Gorse, who was given the horse as a gift by Kelsall trainer Stuart Ross.
The first division of the two and a half mile Maiden went to the Zoe Hammond trained Kruzhlinin under David Mansell, they ran out easy eight length winners from Shales Rock.
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