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Bicester with Whaddon Chase at Edgcote near Banbury
Sunday 18th April 2021

by Russell Smith

BEN Bromley praised Vivaldi Collonges after their sparkling victory in the Edgcote Gold Cup Mixed Open at the behind-closed-doors Bicester Hunt with Whaddon Chase meeting at Edgcote, near Banbury, on Sunday.

The 18-year-old rider took up the running on the gelding, trained by his boss Phil Rowley at
Morville, near Bridgnorth, going out on to the final circuit of the 3m 5f contest, sponsored by
Equine Bio Genie.

Galloping on strongly, the 12-year-old forged clear to pass the post 19 lengths ahead of King Of
The Clothe and Jack Andrews. Bromley said: "He is just everything I could have really asked for to start out with. He is such a gentleman at home and to take me round the course on the bridle all the time I couldn't ask for anything else. He is a very good jumper. You can rely on him to make up lengths. He is just brilliant."

There was no public admission due to Covid-19 restrictions, but owners were allowed to attend
and Anthony and Anna Bromley were thrilled to see their son's triumph. Anthony said: "We were not sure whether to run, but when we walked the course it was amazing. They have done a fantastic job."

Organisers were rewarded for producing good ground with 97 runners on a nine-race card, which
opened with Summer Sounds and Alice Stevens successfully defending their crown in the Bicester with Whaddon Chase Tim Price Memorial Hunt Members, Subscribers & Farmers Race.

Jumping superbly at the head of affairs in the contest, sponsored by Gade Property
Developments, the 12-year-old held off Idee De Garde and Phoebe Taylor by a length and a
quarter to repeat their 2019 win when the fixture was last held.

Fran Nimmo, who trains the Jackson-Stops & Fisher Partnership-owned gelding at Ettington, near Stratford, said: "He is a star. If every horse was like him I would be delighted."

Gloucestershire owner Jason Warner landed a first training double with Edabean and Ahead Of
The Game, both ridden by James King.

Edabean hit the front at the third-last in the second division of the Jockey Club Maiden for Mares and Fillies, before powering up the hill to hold off Walk In Clover and Luke Scott by two lengths.

The Brookthorpe handler said: "She kicked me last night on the knee and it got to the point where I nearly passed out, but I am all right now. We may go to Cheltenham for the mares' hunter chase for an evening out."

Warner and King struck again when Ahead Of The Game bounded clear from the second-last to
take the second division of the Restricted over 2m 5f, sponsored by ECB Equine, by eight lengths from Cave Queen and Luke Humphrey.

Warner said: "He was impressive. I think the ground is a big factor for him. He likes a sounder
surface."

Hannah Lewis saddled Lady Trifaldi and Grageelagh Girl from her Upton-upon-Severn stables,
near Tewkesbury, to record her second training double - the previous one coming at Black Forest
Lodge in 2008.

Tom Broughton, who works for Fergal O'Brien, sent Lady Trifaldi into the lead at the fourth-last in the first division of the Mares' Maiden, and the six-year-old coasted home by 17 lengths from Viva La Vega and Lauren Poole.

The daughter of Arcadio was last of 13 finishers on her only other start at Boulta, before being
bought by owners Nigel Lilley and Bob Haycock from Nathan Deakin, who lives in Wales.
Lewis admitted: "We didn't really know what to expect. She did it really professionally, but it was a bad race."

The trainer then saw her colours carried to victory when Vicki Sollitt, her business partner in
Hannah Lewis Equestrian Services, gave Grageelagh Girl an inspired ride to take the Oriental
Club Owner-Trainer Conditions Race (Level 3).

She swept into a clear lead on the 10-year-old after the sixth-last, and then made a great recovery as the ex-Fergal O'Brien inmate blundered at the final fence to come home 19 lengths ahead of Workbench and Solly Woods.

Sollitt, who enlisted in the Reserve Forces after leaving the Royal Navy in December 2018, said:
"She did jump, but threw me straight up in the air and I thought I can't fall off now."

Ellie Jefferson exceeded her own expectations when taking the first division of the Restricted on
Danny Archer.

Jefferson, who works for Christian Williams, trains the six-year-old, sent to her from Ireland by her father, Cosie McGirvern, at Jonathan Tudor's yard at Merthyr Mawr, near Bridgend.
After her mount fended off Aclassagold and Zac Baker to score by a length and a half, she said: "I came for a ride round and it is a bonus to have a winner as well."

Jefferson picked up the trophy for the best ride of the day presented in memory of jockeys' valet
David Sunderland, who passed away in December 2019.

Baker had earlier got Guttural up in the final stride to pip Zertopek and Will Biddick by a short head in a thrilling finish to the Open Maiden, sponsored by Savills.

Baker, a housemate of owner-trainer Phillippa Taylor's daughter, Phoebe, at Nigel Twiston-
Davies's Naunton yard, said: "It was very tight. My horse is game and experienced. He managed
to draw ahead of him up to the bend and just get his nose in front on the line."
Taylor, who is based at Stratton Audley, near Bicester, added: "I bought him at Doncaster last year out of the Gigginstown sale. When there were no point-to-points I ran him in a couple of hunter chases."

Aston Rowant trainer Alan Hill, just denied with Zertopek, saddled Sir Mangan to take the PPORA Club Members Novice Rider Conditions Race (Level 1), sponsored by BB Country & Equestrian.

Ben Sutton sent the 13-year-old, owned by his father, Nick, into the lead going out on to the final circuit, and his mount maintained the gallop to foil Definite Dilemma and Conor Houlihan by a length.

The winning rider said: "It felt a long way to the line, but he is such a legend of a little horse and just keeps trying."

The main card was preceded by two pony races, sponsored by Country Equestrian. The 138cm
and Under event saw a dead heat as The Jobs Not Straight, ridden by Tom Hutsby and trained by his father, Fred, for owner Richard Prince, was joined on the line by Vino Star and Megan
Ridsdale.

Fern O'Brien, daughter of trainer Fergal O'Brien, took the 148cm and Under race on Shes A Lady.

 

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