FLINT & DENBIGH
Sunday 26th February 2006
by Arthur Shone
photos by Graham Fisher
Sunday’s Flint & Denbigh meeting between the flags at Bangor on Dee was a very historic event because it was the first time that racing had taken place at the North Wales course on a Sunday in its 147 year history. It was also the first time that horses had raced right handed at Bangor on Dee without getting disqualified because, as most people are aware, they race left handed under rules on both the hurdle and chase courses.
The day produced a cracking days sport and a decent crowd on what must be said was a bitterly freezing afternoon. With the exception of the first two Maiden races and the first division of the Maiden there were plenty of runners at the course and a marathon card of 10 races. There was a delay of around twenty minutes between the 4 th and 5 th races whilst the clerk of the course Ed Gretton carried out some alterations on the bottom bend after riders Richard Burton and Gary Hanmer had expressed concerns about the safety of the bend and as a result, the times between the races were shortened to 30 minutes from thirty five.
Hadnall trainer Sheila Crow and the champion rider Richard Burton took centre stage with a treble.
The first division of the Maiden was an incident packed affair, despite there being only six runners. The well backed 5-4 “jolly” Kilbeggan Blade got no further than the first fence giving Rob McCarthy a nasty looking fall in the process. Next to go was Ben The Grass, who slipped up on the bend at the third then with a circuit to go, Lathyrus was taken off the course by the loose horse. This left Mapilut Du Moulin under Marcus Price and According To This (my selection) with Gary Hamner in the plate to fight out the finish with the latter prevailing by three parts of a length. The rider of the runner up performed miracles to stay in the plate after the saddle slipped at the last fence. The winner is trained at Cholmondley by Kelda Wood who was getting off the mark for the season. The trainer is one of four owners of the horse, the others are Fiona Jackson from Whitchurch, Derek Rutter from Bickerton and Peter Jones from Shrewsbury.
According To This and Gary Hanmer (right) take the Open Maiden Div1 from Mapilat Du Moulin
Kelda Wood’s next door neighbour, Donald McCain Junior, was also in the winners enclosure following the success of Cornish Gale in the Mens’ Open beating Phyllis easing down by 10 lengths with the long time leader ,Springwood White, 4 lengths further back in third. This was the trainers first runner of the season and McCain Jnr said afterwards that the Aintree Foxhunters was the main target for the winner. The winner is owned by the flamboyant entrepreneur Derek Malam from Nantwich.
Cornish Gale and Dan Fitzsimmons take the Mens Open for the McCain yard
McCain Jnr and owner Derek Malam were back in the winners enclosure in the Confined following the success of the veteran gelding The Eens, who made light work of 12st 9lbs under Ed Bourne to win going away by 4 lengths from Gary Hanmer on Master Jock. It is ironic that The Eens should win at Bangor because he won his first chase at the course with Steve Wynne in the saddle.
The Eens (Ed Bourne) is an easy winner of the Confined
The second division of the Maiden went to the Sheila Crow trained Silver Orchid (my selection) under Richard Burton, taking up the running at the last fence to win going away by 6 lengths from Inch Over with Boldini a further 7 lengths back in third. The winner is owned jointly by Wales and Tranmere footballer Gareth Roberts and Simon Howarth, who retired as a footballer with Tranmere following a broken leg.
Silver Orchid and Richard Burton are clear of Inch Over in the Open Maiden Div2
Burton and Crow went on to complete a double in the PPORA Club Members race with Clever Liz, who won a thriller by half a length from Over Round. The Glacial Storm mare almost pulled herself up coming to the last fence but rallied on the run in to get back up in the shadow of the post to beat David Sherlock by half a length in a thriller. The winner carries the well known colours of Gareth Samuel who used to own the prolific winning horse Whatafellow.
Richard Burton has to call on all his strength to get Clever Liz (right) home ahead of Over Round in the Mares Maiden
Granary House and Dave Mansell exit left at the second in the Mares Maiden
Half an hour later the same combination completed a treble with Lord Bush who made every yard in first division of the Restricted to beat Captain Jack by 10 lengths. The winner is owned jointly by Richard French from Eccleshall and David and Anne Carding from Walcot and was bought privately by Sheila Crow from Henry Bromhead in Ireland.
Lord Bush lands the treble for the champ in the Restricted Div1
Rumours were rife before racing that the Steve Wynne trained Kildare Minor was a good thing for the third division of the Maiden and those that listened to the whispers never had an anxious moment. The Old Vic gelding was ridden with a lot of confidence by Oliver Greenall and pulled clear from the second last to win easing down by 8 lengths from Striking Distance. Iris’s Dream, running in the famous colours of owner Robert Lester and trained by Pete Morris at Malpas, was a further 10 lengths back in third. The winner is trained at Malpas by Steve Wynne for owner Dave Manning also from Malpas. Wynne said afterwards that his charge was bought for 15,000gns at the May sales and added that the winner would make a decent novice hunter chaser.
Kildare Minor and Oliver Greenall are clear at the last in the Open Maiden Div3
Thirty five minutes later, Oliver Greenall was back in the winners enclosure following the success of the David Easterby trained Trooper Collins in the Intermediate, beating the well backed favourite, Shraden Edition, under Richard Burton by two and a half lengths. The runner up is owned by the area chairman Roger Everall and trained by his son in law Phil Jones. Winning trainer David Easterby was delighted with his charges performance when I spoke to him afterwards. He said, “I am absolutely over the moon. We thought we would come here with a favourites chance I thought Oliver rode the race to perfection and he will improve from this race.” The winner is owned by Oliver’s father, Lord Daresbury, who is the chairman of Aintree racecourse.
Trooper Collins and Oliver Greenall just get the better of Shraden Edition in the Intermediate
Shrewsbury trainer Heidi Brookshaw got off the mark for the season following the success of Home Made under Tessa Clarke in the Ladies Open. The Homo Sapien gelding found more on the run in when challenged by the jolly The Wee Bishop under Clare Allen to win readily by a length and three quarters. The winner is owned by Pip Harney who is the joint master of the North Shropshire hunt. Brookshaw said afterwards that the winner needed good ground and that she would campaign her charge in Ladies’ Opens for the rest of the season.
Home Made and Tessa Clark just lead the The Wee Bishop at the last in the Ladies Open
The Getting Out Stakes went to Strong Weld under David Sherlock who beat Weallwayswillbeone by 5 lengths. The winner is trained at Welshpool by Russell Teague who also owns the horse with Mrs Serina Gowling.
Strong Weld and David Sherlock – winners of the Restricted Div2