pleasant late afternoon sunshine brought out the racegoers in their
thousands for this annual event. The crowds are very enthusiastic, cheering
every horse and thronging both sides of the course from the final fence to
the winning post. The heavy rain in the morning meant the going was soft.
1. Open Maiden (Div 1)
This was dominated by the two market rivals, Fergalís Friend (Marc
Goldstein) and Kupto (Paul Cowley), fighting out the finish. Fergals Friend
looked to have sealed issues as they turned into the home straight but he
was getting tired on the uphill finish and made a bad mistake at the last
which Kupto took full advantage to get up close home. Iím not sure of the
official distance, as the commentary volume was so low. The runner up is
only a five year old & following his promising debut run at Bitterley,
he looks to have a bright future. Another to run well in this seven-runner
field was the debutante Froghole Flyer. The third favourite was always up
with pace before weakening and pulling up in the home straight and looks as
though he will come on for the run.
Only six runners. The bookies couldnít split Carthago (Micky Harris) and
Coolefind (Stuart Morris) who drifted from odds on to odds against. Despite
drifting, Coolefind won well. Held up at the back, he made smooth headway on
the final circuit and ran on strongly up the hill to beat his market rival
by 2 Ĺ lengths. This six year old has now won four of his six points and is
a likable individual well worth following.
3. Open Maiden (Div 2)
Victory at last to Northsprite who fully deserved this after being placed
fourteen times. Always up with the pace, he was well ridden by Jon Trice-Rolph,
merely having to push him out to win. This comes on the back of his
encouraging second last time at Clifton-on-Dunsmore. Runner up and the only
one to make a race of it was Sovereign Dove. This five year old ran a most
promising run last time in the rain at Mollington & will have no
difficulty winning a maiden for the Hutsby yard. The big disappointment was
the favourite Greensleeves who was Polly Gundryís only ride of the day.
She was always in the rear and pulled up at the end of the first circuit.
Maybe this six-year-old grey mare simply didnít act on the going as her
fair fourth at Upton-on-Severn last time was on good/firm.
4. Hunt Members
Fred Hutsby soon gained revenge for his last race defeat as he drove home
the favourite Prate Box. This fourteen year old had a cracking season last
time winning at Dunthrop and here at Ashorne. He also ran well behind County
Derry at Uttoxeter. On his last run this season he was fourth in a Hunter
Chase at Hereford and he simply had too much class for this field, beating
market rival Stormy Pass by 5 lengths.
5. Mixed Open
A disappointing turnout of just three runners from twenty-three enties.
Victory went to Sir Dante giving jockey Fred Hutsby a double on the day.
Always in the lead, he won easily from the only other finisher, the one
paced Celtic Season and Stuart Morris. Rowan Cope was soon hard at work on
the Caroline Bailey trained Red Rebel, but again like last week it was all
to no avail as Red Rebel was tailed off eventually pulling up. He is one to
6. South Midland Area Club Members (Novice Riders)
All five runners were lady ridden. The odds on favourite (2/5) was Aircon
(Rebecca Hutsby) who won a poor Ladies Open last week at the Atherstone.
This moderate ex chaser had run twenty six times without winning and was
there to be taken on and was by Ela-Agapi-Mou and Dawn Ball. Third of four
last time at Mollington, the two market rivals jumped the last together but
Dawn Ball got the better of the tussle to win by 3 Ĺ lengths.
By the time of the finale (7.30pm), many of the big crowd had already
departed. It was a very disappointing end to the evening with just three
runners. The long odds on favourite was Alvero, the mount of Micky Harris.
The only other two runners were Wonderful Remark (Gerry Maloney) &
Romanybaan (Paul Ikin), both runners at the Atherstone last Sunday. Alvero
tried to make all but the steady pace didnít seem to suit him and he
jumped left at a number of fences. Wonderful Remark took advantage running
on strongly to beat the favourite. A lucky winner last week, she will make a
bold bid for a hat trick. Alvero is better than this and ended last season
with an easy win in an average maiden at Chaddesley Corbett, he was a
promising second last time at Upton.
The last five runnings of this event has seen an average of over seventy
runners, this eveningís racing saw just forty one runners taking part
which was slightly disappointing. Maybe it was down to the soft underfoot
conditions? The eyecatchers were Fergalís Friend and Coolefind.