The North Shropshire Hunt staged a cracking days racing at Eyton on Severn. With the exception of the Men's Open and the Members the fields were good. There was a reasonable crowd, which was well down on the traditional Easter or May Bank Holiday meetings, but with Easter being so late this year it would have meant racing twice in week if the North and South Shropshire Hunts had stuck to their usual dates, but they will be back to normal for 2012. The going was quick but saying that, the course looked in good nick and was a credit to the clerk of the course John Beddoes.
The North Shropshire Hunt staged the feature race in the area at Eyton on Severn, which was the Scally Muire Confined race. The race produced a cracking finish between Richard Burton on Timeshift and Robert Jarrett aboard Glidewell, neither jockey or horse gave an inch and in the end Glidewell found the better turn of foot to win a thriller by three parts of a length. The winner is owned and trained at Shifnal by Neale Dalton, the chairman of the Albrighton Point to Point committee. Dalton was elated when I spoke to him afterwards, he said, "He is improving all the time - he has only raced ten times in his life. I feel that this was the best race that he has won so far, and I would like to think that he would have a chance running in the better races now."
Only two runners faced the starter in the Men's Open, bookmakers only put up odds for the distances or for a horse to finish alone. Victory went to the Sian McCain trained Ice Tea under Richard Burton, to be honest the horse had no more than an exercise canter beating Reasonably Sure by a very easy twenty lengths. The winner carried the well known colours of his flamboyant owner Derek Malam and is now destined for Aintree, as McCain explained afterwards when I spoke to her, she said, "He is in the best form of his life and we will go next to the Liverpool Foxhunters next month, he jumps and stays really well and should be suited by Liverpool."
The Ladies Open was a remarkable race and one that will live in the memory for years to come. Coming to the last the Corrine Wynne trained Von Origny had a lead of about eight lengths with the rider Hannah Lewis looking around for dangers. Despite riding with only one rein Lorna Brooke galvanised the jolly Kalmo Bay who jumped the last running and got up in the last ten yards to win an incredible race by a length, the time of 5min 59seconds was very fast. The winning trainer Raymond Owen who is in his first season training at Llandyrnog, Nr Denbigh described himself as speechless adding that he thought the horse was booked for second, the winner is co owned by his wife Bethan and Len Parry.
The opening Members race saw the Sheila Crow trained Enter Paradise in the well known colours of Richard French go off at unbackable odds of 1-6. The Moscow Society gelding won as an odds on shot should do under Richard Burton beating the Gordy Edwards trained Maddy Lewis by 10 lengths. The runner up was ridden by 18 yr old Charlotte White who was having her first ride in a point to point to point, she rode the course like a veteran. Sheila Crow said afterwards that the winner deserved an easy race and would be aimed next at a hunter chase at Hexham.
Harnage trainer Jessica Scott has found the perfect formula to win races, she just puts a rider on the horse with the surname Mahon. Her charge Golden Harvey won his Maiden at the course with Ryan Mahon in the plate, Golden Harvey won the Restricted at the meeting with Ryan's younger brother Leo in saddle, who was recording his first ever point to point to point winner at the expense of Witness This, whose rider Oliver Garner fell off a length past the post. Scott is also the secretary of South Shropshire Hunt, who will be holding their meeting at Eyton on Easter Monday April 25th, hardly suprising then to learn that Golden Harvey's next race will be in the South Shropshire Members race.
The two and a half mile Maiden saw Bedrock Fred make virtually ever yard under Sam Painting to beat the staying on Mick The Miller by 4 lengths. The winner is trained at Marlborough by Elinor Tanner, whose mother Carolyn Tanner was for many years the correspondent for the Horse And Hound and presently does the "Scene and Heard" column on Weatherbys point to point website. The trainer also bred the winner herself and admitted that racing the gelding left handed was not ideal adding that he goes right handed at home and when you look at the breeding by Monsieur Bond you would imagine a six furlong sprinter not a horse that gets two and a half miles plus.
The first division of the Open Maiden produced the best finish of the day between Family Guy under Sam Allwood and Thomas Hardy with Nick Slatter aboard, the former getting the better of a head bopper to win by a neck. The winner was the second winner of the weekend for Malpas trainer Ollie Greenall in his first season as a trainer. The winner is owner by Yorshireman Eric Brook who has had horses in training with David Easterby for years, a few years ago he was the leading owner with 19 winners, all of whom were ridden by Ollie Greenall; Brook currently has four horses in training with Greenall.
The final race on the card was the second division of the Maiden, which had a bitter sweet conclusion to it. Naval Hero under Tim Park galloped his rivals into the ground to win unchallenged by 15 lengths from Perryston Prince with Rydale Lad in the colours of the Ascot MD Charles Barnett a further two lengths back in third. The winner is trained by the trainers mother Vicki Park at Milton Green and co owned by the trainer and Frank Noel from Tarporley. Unfortunately the rider jumped off the horse after passing the post as the horse went lame. The gelding used to be trained on the flat at Chester by Lisa Williamson and was bought privately by the trainers husband Alex a couple of years ago.