by Pete Mansell

This area has seen the emergence of several promising young riders over the last three months and 21-year-old Richey Spate has to be included in that category after his double on Simply Better and Sallioko at Sundays Cotswold Vale Farmers meeting at Maisemore Park. 

Simply Better was attempting to repeat his Ledbury success of a fortnight earlier in the Restricted and he eventually came home a distance clear of the favourite I'm Dreaming. Spate produced the 9-year-old with a well-timed challenge turning into the home straight and they quickly asserted their superiority over the final two fences. The winner carries the colours of the rider's father Carl, mine host at the Bluebell Inn at Ryall, near Upton-upon-Severn. 

Spate's mount Sallioko was all the rage in Division I of the Maiden, but the mare did not jump with any particular fluency and still had a significant amount of ground to make up turning into the home straight.  

Although she made significant inroads into Migsy Malon's advantage she was still 4 lengths down at the last, but with the race seemingly in her pocket Evan Williams's mount stride suddenly began to shorten dramatically and Spate's perseverance was repaid when Sallioko flew past her toiling rival to pull the fat from the fire. The winner is yet another in the long line of home bred horses that the Shail family have produced on their Castlemorton farm. 

22-year-old Anna Clifford from Frampton on Severn recorded the first win of her career on Heavy Hustler in the Novice Riders event. The favourite Pebble Beach set out to make every post a winning one but Heavy Hustler was never far away and came to join issue at the second from home. Nick Oliver's bravery at the last should have secured victory, but Miss Clifford rallied her mount so effectively that they outstayed the runner up in the final 50 yards. 

The rest of the afternoon belonged to Julian Pritchard with the ex-Champion landing a treble on Tirley Gale (Members), Autumn Blunder (Confined) and Romany Chat (Mixed Open).  

His win in the Members proved to be the proverbial steering job but it did provide a first training success for Nicky Brookes, while Autumn Blunders victory enabled Martin Jones to make a welcome return to the winners enclosure. Now based at Redmarley, Jones trains the winner for trio of owners, which include Ken and Alwyn Hughes and his father Peter. With regular pilot Andy Martin remaining loyal to Secret Truth, Pritchard came in for the ride on Romany Chat, who had no difficulty following up his success at Andoversford last weekend.

Pritchard has ridden over 250 winners between the flags but his win on Belmont King in the Lord Ashton of Hyde Trophy at the Heythrop meeting came about in farcical circumstance when Dave Mansell took the wrong course on Rusty Fellow after the final obstacle had been safely negotiated.

Geoff Barfoot Saunt teamed up with Dick Baimbridge to land two winners at Saturdays Ludlow meeting at Bitterley. The Ledbury jockeys first success was provided by Sunshan in Division II of the 5, 6 & 7 year old Maiden. He produced the winner with a well-timed run to grab the lead at the last and hold the renewed challenge of Command Con on the run to the line.

Northern Deal had impressed at Paxford and there was much to like about his victory in Division II of the Restricted. In front from flagfall, the 7-year-old came again after being headed by Oh So Droll on the flat and quickened clear to score an impressive win. 

A Baimbridge treble looked on the cards in the Ladies but Split Second eventually had to settle for second place behind the eventual winner, Nicky Sheppard's Eastnor trained Upton Adventure.