Vale of Lune at WHITTINGTON
Saturday 22nd April 2000
by John Bulman
This has become a popular point-to-point with horses represented from several different
areas including the North West, Yorkshire and the Northern area.
The course is well located just off the M6 near Kirby Lonsdale and no doubt offers a more appealing day out for many than the 3+ hour journey that faces Northern horses if they travel up to the Fife P-to-P at Balcormo mains.
On the whole we were quite lucky with the weather, avoiding the heavy rain that seemed to fall every where else over the weekend.
The members race got us under way at 2.00pm and was a weak race as it often is.
The Crooked Oak was a comfortable winner at around 1/2 favourite, ridden by Gareth Thomas. The winner received the Nenni trophy. Nenni won this race 9 times in a row and it is doubtful if any of these horses here would be any where near as good!
The next race was the confined and 8 horses went to post. An exciting race saw Blank Cheque and David Coates come from well off the pace to snatch the race on the line from Three Saints, with Pennine View running a promising race in third. The unlucky horse in this race was Trivial which unseated Pauline Robson at the second last when just about to lay down their challenge.
Hello Me Man won the ladies but was left well clear when Oat Couture unseated S. Johnstone at the last when looking to be going easily. Tale Bridge was well supported in the betting but was never really going to be a danger, plugging on to take second. Oat Couture and jockey S. Johnstone are still improving and should gain compensation soon providing the jockey can stay on board!
Myttons Choice was a game winner of the Mens Open under Charles Barlow, holding on from Kilminfoyle and Paul Robson. This signified a return to form for the Shirley-Bevan yard after what has been a quiet season by their standards. Russian Castle was beaten a long way back in third but ran a nice enough race. Shanballymore and Vicosa were disappointing, never really looking likely to trouble the leaders.
Pauline Robson gained some compensation for her earlier fall off Trivial when winning the Intermediate on Mrs Waggotts Allrite Pet. Taking it up 3 out, the mare stayed on too strongly for Perambulate who was showing a welcome return to form in finishing second. Seven Four Seven stayed on from the rear to finish third but looked to be given too much to do by his owner rider, Compensation could await Seven Four Seven if ridden handier next time.
The final race was the Maiden and this saw a popular tip for Mrs Angela
Stephensons Lardante, which was running in Addington Boys colours and was ridden by
James Ewart who is connected to Ferdy Murphys yard. In the event, however this one
never really troubled the judges.
The race went to the front running Dere Street and Tom Oates. Up in the front rank for most of the way, Dere Street Kept finding more under pressure and held Red Spice by a length on the line. Punters were rewarded with a generous starting price of 4/1 considering the winner had been pursuing the useful Dun Rose until falling at the last in its previous race at Kelso.
All in all an enjoyable day out and a bit of an adventure into a different area for me! The Northern horses fared well, with 2 winners in Allrite Pet and Dere Street, this could have been 4 if Trivial and Oat Couture had completed.