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Hannah on hand to guide veteran racer to emphatic victory

By Western Daily Press  |  Posted: May 10, 2014

  • The winner Queens Silk – main picture top – (Yvonne Webber, orange sleeves) leads the field during the Devon & Somerset Staghounds Charity Flat race at Holnicote on Sunday. Inset above: Mister Moonax (Hannah Hawkins) canters to post before winning the Modbury Harriers four-mile ladies' open at Flete Park on Saturday PICTURES: BRIAN ARMSTRONG

  • The winner Current Event – main picture, top centre – (Megan Nicholls, blue and white) jumps alongside third-placed Baily Bridge (Poppy Skipper) during the Cattistock novice riders' race at Littlewindsor on Monday. Inset above: Gwanako (Megan Nicholls) canters to post before winning the Cattistock ladies' open at Littlewindsor PICTURES: BRIAN ARMSTRONG

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Mister Moonax may be 14 years old but proved that age was no barrier when outstaying his three rivals in the featured four-mile Ladies' Open on near perfect going at Flete Park, writes Granville Taylor.

Jopero and Hannah Welch took the quartet along until the final ditch, before giving way to Sunken Secret (Pippa Glanville). Mister Moonax had been stalking the leaders however, and Hannah Hawkins sent him to the front between the last two fences to score convincingly.

Mister Moonax, wearing his customary cheek pieces and tongue tie, is owned and trained by Hannah's father Andrew Hawkins on Exmoor. "He loved this undulating course which kept him interested. He likes faster ground, but had Lymphangitis before Christmas which delayed his re-appearance until Easter Monday," reported Andrew.

Hannah, who will celebrate her 21st birthday in two weeks time, is studying at Exeter University and rides out for Leslie Jefford. Will Biddick and Robbie Henderson continued their National jockeys title battle with one winner each. Biddick rode his 32nd winner of the season when The Doom Bar easily landed the odds in the Open Maiden. "He jumps and stays," said the rider, who also trains the five-year-old, who was bought for 9,500 euros at Fairyhouse last August. "He should have won at Kingston (St Mary) but I rode him the wrong way," confessed the champion jockey, who could soon be tempted by offers for his promising jumper whose dam won a Tramore bumper.

Robbie Henderson is enjoying his best season and reached the 23-winner mark with a comfortable success on Before The War in the Confined. Owned by Stuart Jarrett and trained by Ed Walker, this eight-year-old is, "better in the spring," thought the rider. The gelding followed up his recent course win at the expense of front running Notus de la Tour.

It was certainly a case of horses for courses at Flete Park on Saturday since Ambitious Pursuit and Right Enough also repeated their Easter course successes. Ivybridge school girl Pippa Glanville had ridden her first winner on Ambitious Pursuit at Easter, and the combination followed up in impressive style when defeating their 11 rivals in the Restricted. Owned and trained by Pippa's mother Lee, six-year-old Ambitious Pursuit sailed into the lead down the hill and went on to win unchallenged. The useful looking grey Right Enough was similarly untroubled in landing the Men's Open, giving jockey Tom Chanin his fourth winner of the season. Robert Chanin trains the nine-year-old for Reg and Mandy Hand and said: "I was worried about the step up in class but he stayed well."

Sava Bridge had plenty of "P's" in his previous form figures, but had caught a few eyes when pulled up three fences out at Upcott Cross in his last run three weeks ago. Early 20-1 soon evaporated and 5-1 was being called at the off in the two and a half miles Maiden. Jimmy Cole showed plenty of faith in his seven-year-old and soon had him jumping boldly out in front. He came home untroubled in the end to score by nine lengths. Sava Bridge, who is by the Irish Derby winner Zagreb, had run in Ireland as recently as March 9.

Jockey Rob Hawker celebrated his 21st birthday at the end of last week and rounded it off in memorable style with a first and last race double at Vauterhill, North Devon, where the rain held off until the fourth race, writes Granville Taylor.

Whispering Wild , trained by Michael Watson for a small syndicate, set the ball rolling for the young jockey in the Hunt race. This promising eight-year-old was always holding runner-up Justforthebuzz in the closing stages.

Carheney River rounded off a good day for the rider by giving him his fifth winner of the season in the Open Maiden. Owned jointly by trainer Karyn Heard and Mick Evans, this good looking Flemensfirth gelding was never out of the first two.

"He is lucky to be here because he got himself trapped in the horse box at Trebudannon on Easter Monday and had to be cut out by the fire brigade," reported Karyn Heard. The nine-year-old showed no ill effects anyway, coming home 30 lengths clear of his 11 rivals.

Steeltown found the Mixed Open easier than his recent Cheltenham hunter chase assignment. He had finished a creditable third in that event, and made virtually all here in the hands of Jamie Thomas. "We bought him at Ascot sales out of Tom Taaffe's yard and he is a careful jumper," said John Symes, who owns the former hurdles winner with his wife Floss.

Kayley Woollacott trains Steeltown, and spent a busy afternoon saddling a total of six horses in all. Her yard provided second and third in the Restricted which saw a very easy winner in Harry's Kap. Jockey Ed Barrett was partnering his fifth winner of the season on this lightly raced gelding who readily followed up his recent success at Upcott Cross. "He knows his job and stays well," commented owner/ trainer Ray Alford.

The Confined provided a tight finish with front running Ned White gamely holding off the late challenges of Print the Money and Cottage Acre. "He is honest but has not had his ground," said in-form trainer Robert Chanin, whose son Tom was the successful rider.

Whenharrymetsally was sent clear by Matt Hampton four out in the Intermediate and had enough in reserve to hold the late efforts of Soul Native and My Rebel. The King's Theatre mare was bought at Fairyhouse as a four-year-old and runs in the colours of Andrew and Hannah Broggio. "She has improved from her last run but really needs softer ground. We will look for a Confined next," remarked her Bishops Nympton based trainer Keith Cumings.

Point-to-point horse racing action heads back down to the track at Trebudannon, near St Columb Major, this weekend where the Fourburrow host their second event tomorrow, writes Donna Harris.

The Carrs of Truro sponsored Open Maiden race for colts and geldings heads up the action at 2pm. Eight are entered, and Rock Of Fife, trained by Edward Swaffield, could go off favourite after his second at Badbury Rings, 12 lengths ahead of another entry Ellviss. Myladtommy ran last Monday at Vauterhill, so may find this race comes too soon. Indian Dancer, from the Dean Summersby team, is another to note, having run third here in April.

In the Roberts of Trevarthen sponsored Members race Yufo and Checkerboard could have a re-match of their battle here last season when Checkerboard got up to win by half a length. Knoxhill Archie could go well for trainer Lizzie Luxton if finding his old form.

The mares' Maiden race could see the Les Jefford-trained Queens Law go well after her second here at the Easter meeting, having led under jockey Leanda Tickle, until the last fence, when What About Will got up to win by two and a half lengths. Wivannie, from the Nikki Frost team, has been in the frame on four out of her five runs so far this season and is another to consider. As is Combeshead Lass, who was running well here also at the Easter meeting, before weakening three out and finishing fourth.

The Brewin Dolphin sponsored mixed open race could be a match between the Emma Oliver-trained Double Bank, having run close seconds at Kilworthy and in a Hunter Chase at Newton Abbot, and the Ed Walker-trained Hameldown Tor, having been in the frame on all three of his point starts this season including second in the Bonhams Men's Open at Badbury and third behind Doctor Kingsley in the final at Cheltenham three weeks ago, when he was in contention but hung right on the run in. Double Banks' connection may have chosen to run him in the Hunter Chase at Newton Abbot on Thursday.

Brackenwood, for the Frost team, is another to consider after his recent Intermediate win at Stafford Cross, when under jockey Bryony Frost, coming home a neck ahead of Rosey Roo.

Chris and Serita Perkins sponsor the Open Maiden race, in which Carheney River won his maiden at Vauterhill last weekend, leaving the door open for Forty Knights to improve on his third here at the Easter meeting, where he had led until three out in a race won by Wee Fly.

The Tremaine Plant Hire- sponsored Restricted is the final race of the day. Raffa, trained by Richard Mitford Smith, won his Maiden at Kilworthy when sent off favourite of the 12 runner field, coming home six lengths ahead of Dernier Dance. He dissapointed at Woodford when sent off favourite.

Mausefalle ran second here at the Easter meeting, only half a length down to Devon General. He had won his Maiden at Cothelestone with a comfortable win, and looks to be the one to beat. What About Will from the Neil Harris team won his Maiden here under jockey Vicky Wade at the earlier meeting. He, too, looks to have a promising future.

Viewing at the course is excellent, with the spectators area set above the natural amphitheatre. On-course facilities include hot refreshments, bar, bookies, tote and trade stands.

Entrance is £10 per car and driver, £20 car and passengers. Location is St Columb Major, signed off A30 and A39. Post code TR9 4LP. See the website www.p2phorseraces-dc.com

Megan Nicholls took the outright lead in the National Lady Novice Riders list with a double at Littlewindsor. The Rose Loxton-trained pair Gwanako (Ladies Open) and Current Event (Novice Riders' race) provided the 16-year-old's two successes.

Gwanako recorded his sixth consecutive win to stay in contention for the National Leading Horse Award. "We'll keep him ticking over for the rest of the season to aid their title challenges," said Rose. "He'll run at Chaddesley Corbett on Sunday and Cothelstone next Wednesday. His job this season was to be a schoolmaster and he's been awfully good at it."

Current Event barely broke sweat despite some hesitant jumps on the first circuit. "He lost his confidence in the Grand Sefton over the Aintree fences in December, then stood off too far, panicked and took a purler with Megan at Paxford on Easter Monday," revealed Megan's father, Paul, who jointly owns the seven-year-old with John Gane and Ian Fogg. "He'll run in a couple more points this season then maybe one over shorter distances next. Rose has done a great job with the horses. They look superb. She's given them a new lease of life."

Trainer Jack Barber was in double form with Posh Totty, who walked over in the Hunt race, and the impressive Rock On Oscar, who quickened clear of his three rivals to take the 2m-4f Maiden under Will Biddick. "It's the first horse we've sent to Jack, he's done a good job, and it will be the first of many," said Paul Nicholls, joint-owner with Chris Barber, Dave Bennett and Ian Fogg. Bought for €34,000 at Tattersalls Ireland Derby June 2013 Sales, Rock On Oscar may contest one more point-to-point before joining the champion trainer to pursue a career under Rules in the autumn.

John Meaden's Champagne Rosie (Michael Legg) overcame a recent injury scare to defeat Round Tom and Posh Totty in the Men's Open. "She would have run at Cheltenham last Wednesday but suffered from pus on a foot and wasn't 100 per cent," revealed trainer Charlotte Davis, whose mother, Angela, had been taken to Yeovil Hospital after dislocating a shoulder while plaiting Champagne Rosie at the racecourse two hours earlier. "I'm so chuffed for John, who wanted her to win an Open to prove how good she is" beamed Charlotte. "She's a fabulous mare. When she's on it, she's on it!"

Robbie Henderson pulled one back on Will Biddick by taking the two remaining races on the card. He led off aboard Restricted winner Otis Tarda, who led in the straight to record his first win for almost exactly two years. "I won on him at Badbury Rings myself," recalled North Petherton trainer Suzy Berry. "I was given him as a project after he broke down at Trebudannon and Robbie has given him a peach of a ride. When he came in, I said I couldn't have ridden him better myself."

Robbie doubled up on 3-mile Maiden winner Madam Be, who caught long-time leader The Copper Jug (Will Biddick) on the flat. The winner is trained by Ed Walker for John Burbidge, who bred the four-year-old out of his top-class Horse & Hound Cup winner Mrs B. "She should have won when falling at the last at Wadebridge and was second to a subsequent winner (Ambitious Pursuit) at Flete Park, so was sure to win sooner or later," smiled Robbie afterwards.

Angelic (Tamby Welch) and She's A Lady (Jamie Perrett) took the 2014 Wessex Area Open Pony Race Finals.

RESULTS

Cattistock at Littlewindsor, May 5 – Hunt Members (1 ran) 1. Posh Totty (J Barber) walked over. (Jack Barber)

Open Maiden 456&7yo, 2m4f (4 ran) 1. Rock On Oscar (IRE) (W Biddick, 2-5F); 2. Letham Cottage (D Andrews, 4-1); 3. Kilda's Rock (A Doyle, 3-1). 5min 29. Dist, 10l. (Jack Barber)

Restricted (7 ran) 1. Otis Tarda (IRE) (R Henderson, 12-1); 2. Dancing Solo (W Biddick, 5-2); 3. The Cat's Away (IRE) (A Doyle, 2-1JF). 6min 32. 3l, ½l. (Suzy Berry)

Ladies Open (2 ran) 1. Gwanako (FR) (Miss M Nicholls, 1-6F); 2. Civil Servant (Miss E Kelly, 5-1). 6min 34. 20l. (Rose Loxton)

Men's Open (4 ran) 1. Champagne Rosie (M Legg, 7-2); 2. Round Tom (FR) (W Biddick, 4-7F); 3. Posh Totty (J Barber, 2-1). 6min 29. 3l, 2l. (Charlotte Davis)

CA Club Members (Nov Rdrs) (3 ran) 1. Current Event (FR) (Miss M Nicholls, evensF); 2. Dashing John (Miss N Parker, 7-4); 3. Baily Bridge (Miss P Skipper, 3-1). 6min 31. 10l, dist. (Rose Loxton)

Open Maiden (4 ran) 1. Madam Be (R Henderson, 4-7F); 2. The Copper Jug (IRE) (W Biddick, 5-2); 3. Walker Ridge (IRE) (Miss C Atkinson, 5-2). 6min 29. 1l, 3l. (Ed Walker)

Byerley Bear and his owner Roger Knowles remain on target for National titles after the nine-year-old's gutsy win in Holnicote's Ladies' Open. The Exit To Nowhere chesnut is the current co-leader of the National Leading Horse Award table (he and Tempelpirate each having seven wins) while Roger heads the AGA Dual Control Owners Championship list.

"He'll run in Stratford's AGA Final (which is scheduled to take place on May 30) but we need to decide whether to run in the meantime," mused Roger. "I don't think we'll beat Tempelpirate for the Leading Horse Award, but he could run at Cothelstone next Wednesday."

Byerley Bear made the early running and fought back after being overtaken by Quedillac and John Daniell at the end of the final back straight.

"I felt the other two started racing too early," reported jockey, Leanda Tickle. "Byerley Bear has a brilliant turn of foot and I wanted to use it approaching the last, not then."

Men's Open winner Certain Flight sauntered home under Will Biddick, who never moved a muscle throughout the 3-mile contest. The nine-year-old, who ran well for a long way in the Cheltenham Foxhunter, has now won ten point-to-points and a hunter chase and was making a quick reappearance after winning at the Berkeley seven days earlier.

Aiteen Thirtythree will be aimed at Bratton Down's 4m-1f Mixed Open on May 18 after completing a pointing hat-trick for the Bilbrook-based Parker family in the Novice Riders' race. "He's won the three races for us but we're learning about him all the time," said owner, Tracy Parker, mother of winning rider Natalie. "Today's track was probably too sharp, but we know he stays and we think he's probably better going left handed. Bratton Down should suit him ideally."

Ace High and Conor Smith turned the opening Staghunters' Cup into a procession after taking the lead with a circuit to race. The 10-year-old is owned by D&SSH joint honorary secretary and stud groom Janet Ackner and Mark Wheeler after being gifted by breeders Peter and Jill Emery. Ace High is out of Celtic Native, who won eight of her first nine races, and traces back to the late Edward Courage's famous line of steeplechasers such as Spanish Steps, who finished in the frame in three 1970's Grand Nationals.

On Your Max, who broke a bone in his knee 11 months ago, proved his recovery by winning the first Maiden. "He suffered an off-fore knee bone break when his leg bent the wrong way like a nutcracker at Bratton Down," revealed owner Sally Alford. "He didn't need an operation, but was in plaster from elbow to foot and cross-tied (to prevent movement) in his stable for nine weeks."

Last Edition took the second Maiden after three horses had jumped the last in unison, although Ed Barrett's efforts aboard the winner cost the jockey a £100 whip fine. "This has been a long-time coming, as she's been in the frame seven times," smiled Upton trainer Leslie Jefford. "Credit also to owners Roger and Linda Newton (who owned the top-class Bally Blue) who have been very patient."

George and Debbie Beilby's Carrickmines and Matt Hampton followed up their April Cothelstone success in the Confined and the consistent Tucumcari deservedly ended a run of three second placings by winning the Restricted under his Barbury Castle trainer Laura Thomas.

Barnstaple's Yvonne Webber made all the running aboard Queens Silk in the Charity Flat race, which has already raised over £16,000 in aid of the Devon Air Ambulance.

RESULTS

Devon & Somerset Staghounds at Holnicote, Sunday, May 4Hunt Members (4 ran) 1. Ace High (Conor Smith, 4-6F); 2. Talab (C Gethings, 9-2); 3. Father Owen (S Turner, 12-1). 6min 32. 12l, 20l. (Janet Ackner)

Open Maiden (Div 1) (9 ran) 1. On Your Max (R Henderson, 16-1); 2. Grey Dream (FR) (D Noonan, 6-1); 3. Big Mick (IRE) (G Hiscock, 10-1). 6min 38. 8l, dist. (Ed Walker)

Open Maiden (Div 2) (10 ran) 1. Last Edition (E Barrett, 8-1); 2. Derniere Dance (FR) (J Guerriero, 7-2); 3. Vingt Sur Vingt (S Houlihan, 7-1). 6min 37. ½l, 4l. (Leslie Jefford)

Ladies Open (5 ran) 1. Byerley Bear (IRE) (Miss L Tickle, evensF); 2. John Daniell (Miss A Bush, 5-4); 3. Quedillac (Miss B Andrews, 6-1). 6min 31. 1l, ½l. (Robert Chanin)

Men's Open (3 ran) 1. Certain Flight (IRE) (W Biddick, 2-9F); 2. Kostaquarta (IRE) (J Barber, 3-1); 3. Standing Order (T Addiss, 12-1). 6min 36. 1½l, dist. (Keith Cumings)

PPORA Club Members (Nov Rdrs) (10 ran) 1. Aiteen Thirtythree (IRE) (Miss N Parker, 4-5F); 2. Jive Master (IRE) (C Curtis, 16-1); 3. Took My Eye (IRE) (R David, 33-1). 6min 27. 1½l, 1½l. (Kevin Parker)

Confined (5 ran) 1. Carrickmines (IRE) (M Hampton, 3-1); 2. Double Dizzy (J Newman, 4-1); only two finished. 6min 25. 4l. (Debbie Beilby)

Restricted (13 ran) 1. Tucumcari (IRE) (Miss Laura Thomas, 7-2); 2. Double Fun (M Woodward, 25-1); 3. Bob Lewis (E Barrett, 4-6F). 6min 29. 2l, 4l. (Laura Thomas)

Bedrock Fred, who relishes a sound surface, can record his fourth consecutive win between the flags in Saturday's Minehead Harriers & West Somerset Mixed Open, which has attracted 14 entries.

The Larkhill specialist – the eight-year-old has contested his last six races at the Wiltshire venue – showed his well being when staying on strongly to win at the Hursley Hambledon. Potential opposition includes the Borradailes' Classic Swain, who gave current National Leading Horse Byerley Bear a race at Trebudannon, Bonhams Final third Hameldown Tor, consistent Hunter Chaser How's My Friend and course specialist Eslin Bridge, a winner at both Holnicote meetings last season, but pulled up at Cothelstone in April. The fascinating entry is Nicto De Beauchene, the winner of four handicap chases and a March 2013 Taunton Hunter Chase under Rules, but Bedrock Fred is the suggestion.

Nicto De Beauchene will get the vote for the Confined if connections target the 10-entry contest. Stafford Cross winner Level Spirit, dual 2014 winner King's Bench and Thetalkinghorse, in the frame in all six outings this season, are three more contenders. Devon General won a Trebudannon Restricted in good style and may be the one to chase up Nicto De Beauchene.

Devon General and Thetalkinghorse are among the seven Intermediate entries and must be respected if taking their chance. Pete Bugler's Milborne St Andrew winner Carlos Gardel and David Rogers' Sir Wattty, a winner at Wadebridge in March, are two more for consideration. The vote goes to Subtle Sovereign, who impressed when running up an early season hat-trick before failing to cope with recent winners Steeltown and Carrickmines at Kingston St Mary.

I'm Not Telling was a ready winner at the Hursley Hambledon and can follow up in the Restricted. Luke Price's What An Article, unbeaten in his two completed outings to date, must be respected if making the journey from Wales, but Eclipse Award won at last season's corresponding contest and may give punters a sporting run for their money.

Monday's Littlewindsor winner Current Event and Join Together stand out among the eight entries for the Novice Riders' race. Francis Du Mesnil was a good third to Join Together at Stafford Cross and Clew Bay Cove will probably set a fast pace but the "Megan Nicholls selected" runner is the automatic choice.

The Hobbs family have won the last seven runnings of the Hunt race, but have no representative this season. In their absence, Dashing John should have little difficulty overcoming Sunday's Devon & Somerset Staghounds third Took My Eye.

Crackacan, who has finished second, third and fourth in his four outings to date, can open his account in the 21-entry Maiden.

The course is just off the A39, three miles west of Minehead and two miles east of Porlock. First race: 2pm. Admission: £20 per car; £10 single occupant; £5 pedestrian.

Seven races are scheduled, the first at 4.30pm, preceded by the Wessex Pony Racing Novice Finals at 3.30pm. The course is north of Taunton, three miles NE of Bishops Lydeard and signed off the A358.

The Members' race during Sunday's Wheatland point-to-point at Chaddesley Corbett has attracted runners from all the major stables in the local vicinity, writes Peter Mansell.

Two trainers based in the Bridgnorth area are represented, with Middleton Priors-based Belinda Clarke entering Alcanson and Best Director, while Morville trainer Phil Rowley's selection includes Mor Brook, Ocean Venture and Overplan.

Caroline Robinson from Sheriffhales has four, with three of them named with the Shales prefix: Shales Army, Shales Ay Jay and Shales Home Mix, plus their stablemate Whistling Straights.

Enville's Diana Williams will be keen to have a winner and What A Bluff could meet that objective following his impressive win at Woodford.

The runners in the Restricted are much of a muchness but Tom Weston has his string in such fine form that it is difficult to look beyond Cold Knight. It has been suggested that Maybe Plenty's poor performance was caused by anxieties in the preliminaries at the last meeting, so it may be worth giving him one more chance.

You ignore runners from Sheila Crows Hadnell stable at your peril but Abbeyview has a lot to do in the Conditions race, as has Burtolli Boy, who should appreciate the conditions.

Kazuri Kate and Moorland Sunset are others to note, but recent form suggests Numbercruncher and Perfectly Willing will prove difficult to beat.

Findlays Find will be expected to follow up his recent Dudley Cup victory in the Men's Open, where he could meet another winner of the big race in Surenaga. That one seems to be a light of former days judged on this season's performances, while it is difficult to make a case for Brimham Boy, Gullible Gordon and Rye Cross, which leaves Quantum Theory as a potential rival to Findlays Find.

The Ladies Open could provide an appetising clash between Gwanako (a winner at the last meeting) and Palypso de Creek and on current form it is difficult to split them. The latter is normally ridden by Claire Hart but she has other potential mounts in Rossmore Lad and Vincitore – the clash between the big two would be the highlight of the weekend's meetings.

Master Tim has been placed in Irish point-to-points. Owner Don Constable has placed this one in the care of the Princess Royal's daughter Zara Phillips. He struggled in heavy ground in Ireland but could benefit from better ground and his run will be followed with interest.

A number of horses in this race have been placed in similar contests but are still waiting to make the breakthrough. Twilight Fox from the Williams stable at Enville has been entered at several meetings in recent weeks but failed to turn up so it may be the case that connections are waiting for suitable conditions before they let the five-year-old mare take her chance.

She will be better prepared than most and will be given every chance, but inexperience may find her out in the closing stages.

Maisemore Park is Tash Seely's favourite course because her three successes have all come at this popular riverside venue, writes Peter Mansell.

Miss Seely, who is part of a major veterinary practice in Bourton on the Water, scored an easy win on Brize Norton in the North Ledbury Members on Sunday afternoon.

Pickersleigh made a valiant attempt to repeat last year's success but there was little the mare could do as Brize Norton swept by half way down the back straight, before the favourite drew well clear of his rival in the home straight.

"He was good, he really enjoyed that," claimed the rider afterwards. Her partner was reluctant to go out of the paddock prior to the race but showed much more enthusiasm on the course. "I took a chance at the sales because he only cost £400."

The race for the Area Title has become a battle between Tom Weston and Mark Wall and the Hindlip-based rider was the first to strike at this meeting. The recent Cothelstone winner Red Mile headed the market. Sam Painting sent him to the front from the start, but he was never jumping with any fluency or accuracy. It transpired later the horse had lost its two front shoes, but whether the horse's poor performance was as a result of that is undetermined.

Tom Weston's mount improved to join the leader at the fourth from home and soon established a winning lead that was extended all the way down the home straight.

Mark Wall is not giving up his Jockeys Title without a fight and the reigning champion reduced Weston's lead by outscoring his rival by two wins to one, these being provided by Flying Gnu in the Mares and Fillies Race, followed by Cardinal Rose's success in the Confined.

The Coln Rogers-based jockey was seen at his best on these two horses and his presence in the saddle probably made the difference between victory and defeat. Knight Blaze and Flying Gnu had the race to themselves along the riverside before the mare threw in a prodigious leap at the 13th, which helped her extend her advantage. The partnership were three lengths clear on the final bend but Wall had to resort to the whip between the final two fences, where the mare was swift to respond.

It was evident she was not going to meet the fence on a perfect stride, but Wall had anticipated the problem and let the mare sort herself out. They survived the mistake without losing any momentum and clung on to claim victory by a neck.

The six-strong field for the Confined could be covered by the proverbial blanket for most of the contest but half a mile from home the race developed in earnest, with Cardinal Rose and Woody Waller pulling clear of their rivals in the home straight. The latter's effort petered out approaching the last and Cardinal Rose ran on strongly to claim victory by two and a half lengths.

Mark Wilesmith got a rousing reception after his victory on Lucy Lockwood's Golanzine in the 2½ mile Maiden. Dave Mansell and, Hasten Well set the pace and with the exception of Golanzine, the challenges of the remaining runners was dismissed with ease.

Hasten Well maintained a narrow advantage round the final bend and looked poised for victory at the second from home, but Wilesmith and Golanzine drew level with their rival approaching the last, from which they emerged with a slender lead that was maintained on the run to the judge.

The winner ran numerous times in Ireland and came to his present connections via Colin McKeever, who was of the opinion the horse would be better suited to English conditions. The horse's jockey and trainer Mark Wilesmith admitted it's "nice to get back into the winners' enclosure".

Westbury on Severn-based Hannah Lewis and Overlut had no more than an exercise gallop after their victory in the two-runner Ladies Open, where they had too much pace for Light Touch during the second half of the race.

Midnight Harry and Sam Painting caused a major surprise in the three-mile Maiden. The eight-year-old son of Midnight Legend had failed to finish in any of his seven previous outings, but showed an impressive turn of foot in the home straight to see off the challenge of the favourite Tullydonnell Flyer.

The stewards enquired into his improved performance with the horse's Herefordshire-based trainer Ray Rogers explaining "the horse had a torrid season last year but has improved this season and had run exceptionally well on his favoured ground".

RESULTS

Members 1. Brize Norton Miss T Seely 2-5 fav; 2. Pickersleigh; 3 ran

Ladies Open 1. Overlut Miss H Lewis 1-5 fav; 2. Light Touch; 2 Ran

Restricted 1, Soutine T Weston Evens; 2. Hampshire Cross; 3. Red Mile; 4 Ran

Fillies & Mares Race 1. Flying Gnu M Wall 4-5 fav; 2. Knight Blaze; 3. Kilbricken Rose; 4 ran

Confined 1. Cardinal Rose M Wall 4-6 fav; 2. Woody Waller; 3. Raleagh House; 6 ran

3-mile Maiden Open Maiden, 12st (10 runners); 1. Midnight Harry S Painting 12-1; 2. Tullydonnell Flyer; 3. Rainbow Trout; 10 ran

Open Maiden (2 mile 5 furlongs) 1. Golanzine M Wilesmith 2-1; 2. Hasten Well; 3. Ballycanal; 6 ran

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