The Vale of Lune meeting yesterday attracted a huge bank
holiday crowd, but unfortunately was a bit short on runners. This is
unfortunate, as the Clerk of the Course, Chris Hodgkinson, has done a
cracking job with the track, not just with the drainage, but with every
aspect of the course. Unfortunately there are four meetings in the North
West taking place over the Easter period that means that not all fixtures
will have an abundance of runners.
The easiest thing to do punting wise yesterday was to latch
on to the odds on favourite and then do your money with the old enemy.
Probably the best formula for finding a winner is to punt on
to any horse trained by the Fords from Tarporley, who seem to win the
opening Members race with regular monotony. Yesterday was no exception as
they won the race again, this time around with Camden Fellow at a very
generous 4-1, who came home unchallenged by 20 lengths from Aly Daley under
a very confident ride from Caroline Hurley who owns the horse as well. This
was the 19-year-old rider’s third winner of her career. The winner was
trained by her boss Carrie Ford at Tarporley, who emulated her husbands win
on Rolling Ball in the Aintree Foxhunters in 1996 by winning the 2004 race
with Forest Gunner a fortnight ago after coming out of retirement. I am also
very grateful to Caroline’s’ father Geoff for his email suggesting that
I become the chairman of the Richard Burton Fan Club. I never thought of
that but I would suggest that after “Burtie” wins his second consecutive
National riders championship it would be a good idea if Mr Hurley sends his
CV into the Racing Post and applies for the position of his agent when it is
Grand National winning owner John Halewood of Amberleigh
House fame was on hand to present the trophy to Joe Coates following the
success of the veteran Blank Cheque in the Halewood International Confined
race. Borden Run looked all over the winner at the last but tired which
allowed David Coates to win going away by 3 lengths on the old boy. The
Idiots Delight gelding is a wonderful advert for our sport as this is his
ninth consecutive season racing between the flags. It not difficult to see
why the riders sister Wendy, who trains the horse, completely dotes on him.
Everything comes to those who wait as Wendy Gibson discovered
in the Ladies Open aboard Yorkshire Edition who made virtually every yard to
beat the odds jolly Jackie Jarvis under Katherine Diggle by two and a half
lengths. This was the 27 years old riders first ever winner, which as she
admitted afterwards, had been a long time coming. The winner is trained by
her boss Chris Dennis who trains near Scotch Corner. The winner is owned by
Sir Robert Ogden who had Ellis Park in training with Dennis last season but
this was his first winner that Dennis has trained for him.
19-year-old Harriet Bethell having her first ever race ride
made it a winning one on Dolphin Square in the Intermediate beating the well
backed Master Club Royal under Michael McAllister comfortably close home.
Considering this was the Harriet’s first ride in public, she kept a very
cool head on her shoulders when Master Club Royal poached a good lead on the
final circuit and she timed her run to perfection to get up in the shadow of
the post. On this performance she will definitely be a leading contender for
the Yorkshire Ladies area championship in the not too distant future.
Only four runners went to post for the Land Rover Mens’
Open, but there was only ever one horse in it. Dorans Magic under Niall
Saville recorded a bloodless victory over the marginal favourite Victorias
Boy. The winner, who is trained by Annabelle Armitage, near Brandsby, looks
so fresh when he came back in that I suspect he could have gone around
Malpas owner and trainer Richard Hewitt is well known for laying out a horse to win the Members race at his own hunt meeting, the Flint & Denbigh. He has a very strong contender for the 2005 renewal following the bloodless victory of Clodagh Valley in the Maiden under Will Kinsey.