THE 15 runner Men's Open featured some useful performers under rules with the ex-Irish gelding Offshore Account just holding Nenuphar Collonges and Fresh Air And Fun in a tight three way battle up the run-in.
Formerly a Grade 1 winning chaser for Charlie Swann, eleven-year-old Offshore Account was the first winner to be trained by Tracey Bailey, who has a small yard at Chilton Foliat near Hungerford. It was something of a family affair because the winner is owned and was ridden by Tracey's brother Nick Sutton, who acquired him privately last autumn. "My 20 year old daughter Pandora rides Offshore Account at home", said the delighted trainer who would like to aim him at the Cheltenham or Aintree Foxhunters.
The Ladies' Open also looked a classy contest and went to the well backed Picaroon who drew clear of course winner Surenaga in the closing stages. A winner five times under rules, Picaroon was bought privately by Katherine Smith-Maxwell last summer and was ridden by her daughter Alex Dunn. The seven-year-old is trained at Cowbridge in South Wales by Abbi Vaughan and looks well up to hunter chase standard.
Light Touch gave 23 year old Vicky Wade her second winning ride in the Restricted for Novice Riders'. The Luso eight-year-old is owned and trained by the rider who works at the Jeremy Scott stable at Brompton Regis and rents a box adjacent to the yard.
Lucy Gardner's Call Me Sir jumped to the front four out in the Hunt race and stayed on well to hold the favourite Madam Noso. "He was disappointing over hurdles and has had his problems", said Sue Gardner adding that this half brother to Glacial Call will probably be aimed at Ladies' races.
The ground became progressively softer during the afternoon as persistent drizzle turned to steady rain. The Open maiden races attracted large fields and amazingly 18 of the 19 entries for the first division were declared against a safety factor of 16. Cedar Point took the first nine runner section with a convincing performance under Suzy Berry. "I got him for only £600 at Ascot last October", smiled winning trainer Charlotte Budd who trains the eight-year-old at Enmore near Bridgwater for a small syndicate she runs called the More-Enmore Racing Club.
The other split section went to six-year-old Buried Gold who scored by a distance as his nearest pursuer Kiristani tired from the third last. This good looking gelding is owned by Graham and Celia Cotton and John and Ros Senior. He was ridden by Ryan Bliss who also trains him at his yard near Frome, and turned him out looking a picture.
Richard Hawkins partnered his second winner of the season when Hope And Praey produced a solid staying performance to beat his 14 opponents in the second Maiden. This Double Trigger six-year-old is owned by Simon Stacey and trained at Calverleigh near Tiverton by Barry Sanderson.
Will Biddick made all the running on Jamesdoubleyou to win the concluding Maiden. The heavily backed Storm Jack made good headway from the rear on the final circuit, but the winner was not stopping and had 10 lengths to spare at the post. The home bred winner was a first success for his owner/trainer Liz Egerton from Pandy near Abergavenny.
Restricted Novice Riders'
Open Maiden Division1 , Part 1
Open Maiden Division 1, Part 2
Open Maiden Division 2
Open Maiden Division 3