by Pete Mansell

Brother Prim and Caught at Down provided Upton Snodsbury rider Mark Rodda with a double during Tuesdays Croome and West Warwickshire meeting at Upton-upon-Severn.

Brother Prim came through to dispute the lead with Brown Buzzard at the 15th and these two horses had a protracted battle down the home straight and Rodda needed to pull out all the stops to hold the runners up challenge. The winner was home bred by Les Taylor at his Naunton Beauchamp Stud.

Rodda teamed up with Martin Weston's Caught at Dawn in Division I of the Restricted. Once again Rodda came out on top in a close finish, producing Caught at Dawn with a well-timed run to catch the long time leader Conkerdor half way up the run in. Weston acts as Clerk of the Course at Upton and his 15-year-old son Tom hopes to commence race riding on the Hindlip trained gelding next year.

Mervyn Jones from Malvern has enjoyed considerable success with Kingsthorpe (2nd in the Mixed Open) in recent years and he looks to have acquired a useful replacement in Musical Tassell, who took the Mares Maiden under Michael Keel.

On the Bone looked the winner approaching the last, but Musical Tassell sprinted clear of his rival on the flat. The mares Upton-upon-Severn based trainer Mike Daniells put the improvement in the mare's performance down to the extensive schooling sessions she has received at the hands of Geoff Barfoot Saunt. Unfortunately the Ledbury rider was unable to reap the benefits as he was committed to ride Frank'ies Fay in this contest. 

Julian Pritchard has hit a rich vein of form over Easter and another double took his three-day tally to seven. Both wins were vintage Pritchard, who produced Cariad Cymru with a perfectly timed run to land Division II of the Restricted. Mr Max was one of the first runners to come under pressure in the Confined but Pritchard persevered and they caught Bansha House in the last 75 yards.

The Novice Riders Mixed Open resulted in an emphatic win for the Sam Waley Cohen ridden Down. The 11-year-old led from the 14th and was left well clear when Gentry ran out at the third from home.

Division I of the 3 mile Maiden produced another close finish. Shilo and Tina's Adventure had the race to themselves coming to the last but the latter just got the better of her rival to win by half a length. The 10-year-old mare is trained by Clive Davies at Kimbolton and carries the colours of West Midland bookmaker Stan Nixon.

The second Division went to the Giles Smyly trained and Nick Sutton ridden Rodney Trotter. Favourite backers had cause for alarm as they started to lose ground down the back straight but Sutton was just bidding his time and he had his mount back in contention at the penultimate before sprinting away from his rivals at the finish.

Brooks and Tash McKim took Division I of the 2 1/2 mile Maiden but it was a close call. He looked unbeatable with three to jump but his stride began to shorten at the next and Agua Ardente finished so strongly that he would have got up in another 20 yards.