by Colin Cross


The current dry spell inevitably led to firm ground for the second meeting at Howick on Saturday and consequently runners were at a premium.

SPARKLING SPRING was not troubled to land the Land Robert Men's Open for the second year in succession under Evan Williams ROYAL MOUNTBROWNE and BALLYMALOE BOY took minor honours.

TICKERTY'S GIFT and RILLY GOSCHEN made a determined effort to repeat last year's success in the Ladies Open. LAUREL SEEKER and Amanda Meakins had other ideas. However, they swept into the lead five fences from home and were soon clear. The Stewards enquired into the running of NIGEL'S BOY who was pulled up six fences out. The Stewards accepted Lucy Rowsell's explanation that the horse jumped badly and was never travelling well.

That Wily fox Joe Price once again proved he has few masters at Howick when riding a shrewd tactical race on IT'S A HANDFUL to land the Hunt Race. Joe was content to track odds-on favourite MIKE'S ACRE and Andrea Cavanagh before swooping into the lead at the second last to land the spoils. For good measure Joe's son James finished third on DAYS OF LIGHTNING.

RUBIAN PRINCESS and Lucy Rowsell followed up their maiden win here two weeks ago with success in the Restricted race, from UNDER MILK WOOD. The favourite NOTSOTINY and Evan Williams fell at the third last when looking held.  Christine Evans suffered serious arm and rib injuries when GERRY AND TOM fell at the first open ditch.

MOON TIGER and Dai Jones repeated their Confined race victory of last weekend at Cilwendeg over WELSH WARRIOR and Robert Richards when easily out-pointing the same horse again. The only other runner VAL'S WELL was well beaten when pulling up some way from home.

GLEN MIST and Evan Williams got the better of a prolonged battle with GOOD MORNING and Robert Stephens to land division one of the Confined Maiden with SOHAPARA third.

The second division was won by the 5 year old BUCKLAND BOBBY ridden by Dai Jones from BEST ATTEMPT and Marc Parry with TWO FOR THE ROAD well behind in third.

Dai was at pains to keep BUCKLAND BOBBY under restraint and did not let out a reef until after the second last, when the horse quickened well clear. This confidence booster may well enable BUCKLAND BOBBY to go on to better things.

PRIDEWOOD GOLDING and Emma James walked over in the Intermediate race.