MONDAY 3 JUNE 2002
by Pete Mansell
large crowd, which attended yesterdays Albrighton Woodland meeting at
Chaddesley Corbett, reserved their biggest cheer for Phillip Needham after
the 37-year-old had ridden Percy Medlicott to success in the Members.
Broome (Kidderminster) based rider is in his first competitive season of
race riding but there were no signs of inexperience after this partnership
were left in the lead when Hoodwinker unseated Jane Williams at the 13th.
Military Man came with a strong challenge turning into the home straight,
but Needham threw caution to the wind over the final three fences and
Percy Medlicott responded gallantly with a magnificent jump at the last
securing victory. His wife Helen and father in law Jim Callow have enjoyed
considerable success with Forest Fountain and Philtre in recent years but
none of those victories has given them more satisfaction.
Michael Keel had been hoping to enhance his chances in the National Novice
Riders Title on Military Man in the Members but the favourite failed to
deliver the goods. Later in the afternoon the Kidderminster rider joined
Lee Bates at the top of the table following Dantes Inpharno's hard fought
win in Division I of the Maiden.
recalled that his grandfather Jack Fowler had ridden numerous winners in
the colours carried by Jean Woods 8-year-old back in the 1950's while
Dante's Inpharno has been knocking at the door all season, so this victory
was not coming out of turn. Michael Hammond produced Alston House between
the final two fences but Keel secured victory with a good jump at the
winners for Evan Williams on Sunday gave the Welsh based rider breathing
space in the battle for the Riders Championship, but Julian Pritchard
refuses to accept defeat and fought back with two winners at this meeting,
which means that Williams leads his rival by three wins with just 10 days
and 3 meetings remaining.
had a disappointing ride on the favourite Asthefellasays in the Confined
and it seemed as though Willams was going to extend his lead in the Title
race until his mount Simply Better suffered a fatal injury between the
final two fences. This left Devilish Charm and Richy Spate to canter home
to victory in the colours of Clifton on Teme Businessman David Lee.
and Pritchard were two of the main combatants in the Mixed Open but
Williams's attempt to match strides with Mounthenry Star resulted in Hee's
a Dancer's departure at the 6th. Left well clear, Pritchards
mount galloped his rivals into submission to keep alive his Title hopes.
Pritchard teamed up with Shropshire trainer Pam Sykes to land his second winner of the afternoon on Digitalis on the Restricted. Rob Burton's 9-year-old mare was none too fluent at her fences but benefited from the assistant of the ex-Champion who produced his mount with a well timed run to pass the leader Itscinders between the final two fences.