by Mal Davies

A fantastic four-timer for Gary Hanmer was the feature of the day at Eaton Hall on Sunday. The conditions underfoot were immeasurably better than the venue’s first meeting of the season earlier in the month, but the field sizes were still disappointing for a sizeable crowd.

Hanmer got off the mark in the opening Members’ race, powering EXCUSE ME SIR to a six-length success from Richard Burton on the veteran Three Saints. Gentry was a poor third, a distance back. Win number two was achieved a shade cosily on heavy odds-on shot GARRYSPILLANE; the Paul Jones horse, runner up in the prestigious John Corbett last season eased to a three length win from Burton on Analystic, with the brace Kentucky Gold back in third place for Charlie Barlow. Barlow had earlier taken the maiden aboard MR MOONBEAM who was too good for Bernie Wharfe on Pure Grit. One to watch (eventually pulled up) is Pristeen Spy, a Teenoso five-year-old out of the prolific winner Sikera Sky; he was given a school, and never placed to challenge, but won’t be long winning his maiden when put in a race.

WHITEGATES WILLIE made his seasonal reappearance a winning one, taking the Mens’ Open, to notch Hanmer’s treble, and his one hundredth win between the flags to boot. Prices as generous as 9-4 were about, in what was a weak looking heat. Weak Moment again made Alistair Crow work hard, and could not follow up his win here last time, eventually finishing third behind Ask Antony. The winner should be given a chance under Rules soon.

The Ladies’ Open at the last meeting here was a walkover, and the same practically occurred again, as the amazing BALISTEROS notched his second win in as many days, by finishing alone under Pauline Robson at odds in the region of 1-10. It was no more than an exercise canter, and he should continue to mop up easy racers if the opposition is as poor as it was here.

Only three went to post for the PPORA members’ race, and the outsider of the trio, MERRY CHRISTMAS (who posted the fastest time in the quagmire at the last Eaton Hall meeting), won with ease for Ray Owen, with favourite Seven Four Seven a disappointing second.

The best race of the day was the concluding Restricted, and it was again a Hanmer-Burton one-two as impressive maiden winner LORD DIXON short-headed Charlie Keay.