by Dom Bradshaw

Sunday’s Meynell and South Staffordshire fixture survived the overnight frost, but racing was put back an hour to ensure that the ground was raceable. 

Richard Burton continued his march up the Mens Championship table, completing a treble aboard Involved, Cascum Lad and Coole Venture.

The first leg of the treble came in Division Two of the Confined Maiden, courtesy of Involved, an Irish import having his first run for the Sheila Crow yard. The winner was always holding the runner up Airoski (Adrian Wintle) and looks a ready-made Restricted winner.
The runner up, who showed little in four starts under rules, ran with credit on his pointing debut and should take a race if reproducing this form as should Aunty Norma (Tony Woodward) who showed remarkable improvement on her Thorpe Lodge run, staying on well through beaten horses to take a distant third.

Pam Sykes’ Cascum Lad gave Burton his second winner on the day with a no nonsense victory in the Confined, showing a good turn of foot to come home three lengths to the good of Mr Kermit (Sue Sharratt). The winner doesn’t have many miles on the clock for a 12yo and can go on to further victories this season.
Mr Kermit stayed on well to take second and will be seen to better advantage on a more testing course.
The blinkered Sams Day (Joseph O’Brien), a winner at this meeting in 2002, was unable to go with the front pair, weakening into third and may not be totally in love with the game.
Ex selling hurdler Safi (Tessa Clark) plugged on to take fourth and may be capable of taking a small contest on a galloping track.
Mister Moss (Gary Hanmer) stopped as if shot a long way from home and appears to have serious problems staying the trip in points.

The final leg of Burton’s treble came in the last race of the day, Division Two of the Restricted on yet another Sheila Crow inmate, Coole Venture, who was slightly disappointing in his final two starts of last season after winning on his debut for the Crow yard in 2002. However, on this performance, he looks to have “gelled” immediately with his new pilot, coming home an easy six-length winner from the Heythrop maiden winner Mrs Sherman (David Greenway). He’s an improving type and looks capable of stepping up in class.
Mrs Sherman gave all in vain against this impressive winner, but has all of the attributes required to take a Restricted.
Paddy Casey (Tim Stephenson) was a further twenty-five lengths behind in third. This was his first sign of ability since winning an Irish maiden in 1999 but he’ll need to show further improvement if he’s to score in this grade.

The 1999 Welsh National winner Edmond (Holly Campbell) took the Ladies Open on his first start in points, battling on after the last to deny the favourite Upton Adventure (Emma James) by a length and a half with winning chaser Pennyahei (Sam Beddoes) a further four lengths back in third.
This was a pleasing performance by the winner, who’d lost his way under rules and further pointing success surely awaits.
The runner up lost little in defeat and should be spot on next time.
Pennyahei did little wrong on her first run in points and will be more suited when stamina is at a premium.
Fourth placed Sea Tarth (Hannah Kinsey) ran his usual game race, but make a note of the fast finishing Devonshire (Sue Sharratt) who wasn’t asked many serious questions.

The Mens equivalent was taken by Fontaine Again (Tim Stephenson), showing a clean pair of heels to his rivals, coming home seven lengths to the good. This was impressive and he looks the type to run up a sequence.
Second placed Wild Edric (Alistair Beedles) once again ran right up to his best and should be getting his head in front before too long, as should the quirky old favourite (the horse, not the rider!) Whatafellow ridden by Alistair Crow, who was a further three-quarters of a length away in third.
Fourth placed Parahandy (Harry Dowty) was found wanting when the pace quickened and is another who will be better suited by a more testing course.

Hard luck story of the day goes to Fair Idea (Michelle Hugo), who came home a clear winner of Division One of the Maiden, only to be disqualified for missing a marker. If there’s any justice, they will be making amends for this misdemeanour very soon. The race was awarded to Dambusters (Gary Hamner), who had little response when the winner quickened and will have to improve again now that he is forced to step up in grade.
Emperor Roscoe (Richard Armson) was promoted from third to second and showed enough to suggest that a maiden might not be out of his reach.
The ex-Ginger McCain trained Miss Foley (Tony Williams) was promoted to third and ran creditably on her first start in points.

Division One of the Restricted went to Marston Moses, who showed good form in this grade last season, getting the better of Teal Bay (David Barlow) by two and a half lengths under a spirited ride from Stuart Morris. The 9yo son of Le Moss looks at his best when there’s plenty of cut in the ground and may be good enough to step up when conditions are in his favour.
The runner up was well clear of the remainder and looks more than capable of taking a race of this kind.
Brown Seal (Nicolas Oliver) plugged on at one pace to take third.

Earlier, the favourite Approaching Land (Major Milo Watson) came from an impossible looking position to take the Hunt race, denying Needwood Neptune (Peter Bennett) by a head with the veteran Ballyhannon (Jane Froggatt) two lengths further back in third.