by Dom Bradshaw

Sikander A Azam made a sparking introduction to point-to-points at Sunday’s Burton fixture at Market Rasen, which boasted a ten race card after the restricted was divided on the day.

Ridden by the highly promising Thomas Greenall, he made eye-catching headway throughout the final circuit in the Confined and was smoothly brought through the field to score by six lengths in the fastest time of the day. Beforehand, there had been doubts regarding his stamina , as he’s a winner of six races under rules but none of his victories has been over further than 2m1f. However, any doubts were soon cast aside and he appeared to see out the trip with no problems. Make no mistake, this is a quality horse and has the assistance of a good up and coming rider in the shape of  Thomas Greenall and it’ll take a good ‘un to catch them.
Runner up Mr Pendleberry (Nicky Tinkler) did little wrong and looks a shade unlucky to have come up against two of the season’s smartest performers, Sikander A Azam & Good Vibes, in his two starts. His turn will come.
Springlea Tower (Richard Hunnisett) ran his usual game race a further length back in third and will find easier opportunities than this.
Anneka Louise (Matt Mackley), making her seasonal debut, wasn’t too far away in fourth should go close on an easy track before long.
Half Each (Mark Walford) ran well for a long way at generous odds before fading and  looks to have retained enough ability to take a small race.

The Mens Open provided one of the best fields seen in these parts for a long time, which included Good Vibes, Maitre De Musique, Red Rebel, Times Past and Wise Price, but none of these could hold a candle to Young Lorcan (Nicky Tinkler), who quickened away from the field with consummate ease to come home twelve lengths clear of his nearest pursuer. Like Sikander A Azam, the partnership of Nicky Tinkler and Young Lorcan looks a perfect combination and they must be followed.
Both Good Vibes (Thomas Greenall) and Red Rebel (Joe Docker) ran up to their best but still couldn’t live with the winner and both should be taking races soon as should fourth placed Little Worsall (Nigel Tutty).
The well-supported Times Past travelled well until fading and was pulled up and dismounted by Gary Hanmer.

In the absence of stable star Upham Lord, it was left to pointing debutant Bloomfield Storm to carry Jill Dawson home in first place in the Ladies Open. The 10yo son of Glacial Storm, formerly in the care of Kim Bailey, wasn’t over fancied by connections but showed a good turn of foot to come home five lengths clear of the field. Although his jumping wasn’t the greatest at times (he’ll prefer a faster surface), he showed a plenty of acceleration and looks to be a more than able deputy for his illustrious stable mate!
Winter Gale (Laura Eddery) plugged on for second place and their turn can’t be far away.
Macfin (Louise Allan) made a pleasing seasonable debut back in third and should take a small contest again this season.
Prince Skyburd (Annabel Armitage) appeared to be booked for a place until capsizing at the last and sadly, died of a heart attack on the way back.
Just Jake, a four-time winner in 2002, was surprisingly available at reasonable odds, but this was put down to the presence of his little-known rider Lynn McKie. Miss McKie never truly put Just Jake into the race and at the post he was a long way behind the winner in fifth and it’s hoped that he’ll be raced a little more competitively next time.
Jo Foster took a nasty fall from Nordic Crest at the first fence and was taken to hospital in the air ambulance. I’m sure that everyone wishes her a full and speedy recovery.

Knock Lord, so impressive at the Lincolnshire United Hunts Club fixture here two weeks earlier, followed up in impressive fashion to take Division One of the Restricted in the capable hands of Richard Burton. He looks a horse of great potential and expect to see plenty more improvement from him in the coming months.
Runner up John Rich (Steve Charlton) won’t find many smarter than this in Restricted company and he should be winning soon.
Third placed Millennium Gold (Noel Wilson) travelled well for a long way but either struggles or doesn’t want to see out the trip.

Division Two of the Restricted went to Round The Bend, who stayed on admirably under a solid ride from Louise Allan. Round The Bend’s put in credible efforts on all of his three starts this season and like his full brother Give It A Whirl, looks to have improved with age and if he’s half as good as him then there’s more to come.
Step Lively (Guy Brewer), having her first start for the Mary Sowersby yard finished a close second and will surely be winning in this company if connections can calm her in the preliminaries (sweated up in the paddock).
The 13yo Primitive Man (David Thomas) stayed on at one pace to take third and will need everything in his favour to score in this company.
Golden Gent (Mark Walford) looked a danger for a long way until fading tamely and looks to have stamina problems. 

In Division One of the Maiden, Jawrjik, ridden by Clive Mulhall, took an uncompetitive looking race by half a length from Colonel Ludlow (Chris Cundall) However, the blinkered winner doesn’t look the most co-operative of animals and had to be given the full Clive Mulhall treatment to hold onto victory. He’ll find the step up to restricteds difficult.
The runner up didn’t negotiate the final bend too well and this may have cost him the race. He looks a little one paced but has the size, scope and attitude to take a small maiden.
Claire’s Nomad, who gained the dreaded “double squiggle” from Messrs MacKenzie, Selby & Harris in their annual last season, ran on to take third place and looks to appreciate the stronger handling of Nigel Tutty and it wouldn’t be a total surprise to see him take a little race.
The well backed Koumba, from the Pollock yard, was never at the races for Nick Pearce and finished a fair way behind in fourth. He’ll need to be a bit more competitive if he’s to score.

Thomas Greenall completed a double on the day thanks to Scottish Roots, who made a winning points debut in Division Two of the Maiden. This one was all of the rage early on in the ring and one lucky punter manage to obtain the odds of 10/1, which was quickly reduced by bookie Dave Smith to the more realistic price of 2/1! He did this nicely enough and has looks to have the scope to take a Restricted.
Teeton Fizz (Nigel Bloom) chased home the winner a further two lengths behind and can take a maiden when reproducing this form.

The gigantic Strewth (Joe Docker), who has look devoid of stamina in the past, found just enough to last home in Division Three of the Maiden to deny the fast finishing Imps Way (Lee Bates) by half a length. They say that every dog has its day, but in this case it’s could be a case of every horse having its day and I’ve a feeling this might have been Strewth’s! I think he’ll struggle to score in better company.
The runner up has put in a couple of decent efforts this season and can take a small maiden as can third placed In The Van (Michael Morley).
Can Cortana raced in rear, jumped right throughout and never looked happy. Clive Mulhall pulled him up with a circuit to go and is surely better than this.

The final division of the Maiden went to Grand Ambition, completing a double for Clive Mulhall.
The  winner had looked short of stamina here two weeks earlier, but seemed happier on this faster surface. Although he jumps and travels well, his ability to truly see out the trip in more competitive company is going to be an issue and he may be best kept to the easier tracks on a sound surface.
Second placed Woolley (Rupert Abrahams) showed enough to suggest that a maiden isn’t out of the question, as did third placed Romany Move (Trevor Glass).

Ababou (Steve Charlton) comfortably took the Members race by ten lengths from the only other finisher Hopping Mad (Ed Gretton).