A huge crowd here enjoyed some competitive racing where except the two Open races all were well supported.
21 declared for the opening Maiden so a split on the day saw 11 go to post for the first division. Karantino (Jonny Bailey) was sent off the 6/4 favourite and led from pillar to post jumping and travelling brilliantly. She had the field well strung out after a circuit and the only one to stay with her was Lincs Lad (Jonny England) who ran well on only his second start to be beaten by 8 lengths. Wee Alfie (Ruth Tutton) was third beaten a long way. Karantino is trained by Gerald Bailey and owned by Richard Bowers and they also enjoyed success later in the day with this mare's sister.
The faster division was the second where debutant Just Harry provided Joe Docker with his 100th winner. Receiving a huge cheer this 5yr old is owned by the Docker Family so it made Joe's success very special having ridden his first winner on a family horse called Raise an Argument a few years ago. Favourite Jacks The Lad (Ryan Hatch) laid down a challenge at the second last but this classy 5 year old who is out of Just Cliquot who won a Hunter Chase and 7 point to points proved too strong after the last.
Only four went to post for the Ladies Open. Scotland Yard (Gina Andrews) was a very disappointing Favourite and it was reputed that the ground was too soft. A very close finish saw Rainbow Tree (Alex Dunn) come out on top with Master Wolfe (Claire Hart) second. Alex paid tribute to her brother 'John is only 14 and rides him every day at home, he has completely re-juvinated him.' Mulligan's Pet (Heather Kemp) finished third.
Dale Peters who had only ridden 3 winners before this meeting made his name known by completing a double here, the first in the Mens open. Only two went to post and both had won on there previous starts. Valance ( Richard Armson) was the odds on Favourite and looked as if he had it won but a late rally from Rare Gold who was even money at the off pinged the last and won by half a length providing Dale with the first leg of his double.
Keeping it in the family was Pennytino in the confined race, whose sister had won the first maiden, ridden confidently by Nick Pearce she jumped well and went on to win impressively by 12 lengths. Major Euro (Will Telfer) finished second and Menelaus (Joe docker) Back in third. Disappointing were favourite Bluegun (Gina Andrews) who eventually pulled up and Walters Laddie (Jonny Bailey) who finished fourth.
Biggest field of the day was in the Novice Riders race where 12 went to post. Point Proven who was recently third behind the useful Coolefind provided Dale peters with the second leg of his double. Jumping well throughout he justified his odds of 10/11. Dale who had ridden 3 winners before yesterday enjoyed having his first double and looks a young rider to follow.
Gina Andrews finally enjoyed success in the Restricted race aboard Nigel Padfield's Kings Chase. This 9 yr old by Zaffaran jumped brilliantly throughout and went on from 3 out to win by 3 lengths in the end from Caged Tiger (Heather Kemp). This was Gina's 14th winner of the campaign and helps in securing her position at the top of the national women's championship.
A thoroughly enjoyable days racing where the Oakley Hunt must be thanked for providing well watered ground.
We look forward to the next meeting within the area at Kimble on Easter Saturday.