APRIL 2004
by Colin Cross
photos by Ann Riggs

A bumper crowd at Redlands Park thoroughly enjoyed an excellent days racing, the ground was good.

The highlight was undoubtedly DOWN’S triumph in the Welsh Point to Point Grand National over 4 miles for the third season in a row. Sam Waley Cohen was content to take his time in midfield until well after halfway, gradually making progress on the final circuit he headed longtime leader DAWN’S COGNAC and relentlessly pulled clear to record a most impressive victory. SPEED BOARD came from well off the pace to finish second and RED NECK was third.

Gayle Evans's Waders in lead Mixed Open rider Marc Barber

Sam Waley-Cohen winning Mixed Open for third Year running

DOWN is a credit to his connections and it would be marvelous if he were to return next year and make it four wins in a row.

Another hat trick seeker DETROIT DAVY, in the Hunt race, came to grief at the eighth fence. The race was won by the progressive CANNON BRIDGE and Dai Jones. The winner pulled up feelingly and it is to be hoped that there is no serious injury involved.  KHATANI and MOUNTAIN LILY took minor honours.

Cannon Bridge in red and white check, owned by K Pritchard, riden by Dai Jones, winner. Khataniowned by R Rowsell 2nd

Dai Jones on Cannon Bridge

ROSTOCK made it three wins for the season in the Confined race, comfortably holding NOAFF and INIS CARA. Nicky Williams had a few anxious moments with ROSTOCK ’S jumping but this is a most promising gelding and is sure to continue improving.

Rostock, owner D Brace, rider N Williams

Another vastly improved performer, GIPSY GIRL with Marc Barber, turned what looked like a competitive Intermediate race into a procession when striking for home on the final circuit. She finished well clear of BARTON DREAM with CATECHIST staying on well to take third. GIPSY GIRL once again recorded the fastest time of the day and is still on the upgrade.

Tim Vaughan on Barton Dream and and Mrs Cotswold's Catechist first circuit

A most popular local victory was recorded when BILL HAZE owned by Phil and Kath Dando took division one of the Restricted under a vintage ride from Dai Jones, who was notching up a hat trick.

Wearing sheepskin cheek pieces and sheepskin noseband, together with a white blaze, racecourse commentator Eddie Williams’s comment that BILL HAZE appeared to be eating a sheep was close to the mark. Even BILL HAZE’S most ardent supporter would not call him the most tractable of types and Dai had to be at his most persuasive to keep his mind on the job.

He took up the lead early on the final circuit and was soon well clear, however, meeting the rising ground three fences from home RAGWEEK with Evan Williams started to make inroads into the lead. Just when the game appeared to be up, BILL HAZE ran on resolutely to record his first win with RAGWEEK second and HAIL STONE third.

Eventual winner Mr and Mrs Dando's Billhaze in second place here behind Musical Sleuth

Division two was a more prosaic affair in comparison and Tom Faulkner produced CAMDEN CARAMEL four fences from home to head long time leader LADY PALAMON and score a comfortable victory. TENACIOUS MELODY was third.

Mr G Jones's Camden Caramel

This win gave owner trainer Malcolm Jones a double as RUBY DANTE and Dai Jones had previously won the Panacur/TBA mare’s only Maiden race in emphatic style from COUNTESS KIRI and MODEST FORBIDS.

Blakeney Hill and Tragic Belle first circuit

Ruby Dante, owner M Jones, rider Dai Jones

The bookmakers will have taken a liking to RESCINDO this season.  Once again he was a warm order in the 5,6,7 years Open Maiden only to come to grief on the first circuit. One by one the runners came to grief and it was left to Tim Vaughan to steer home the blinkered ROBOASTAR, another one of nature’s thinkers, to win unchallenged from the only other finisher THE LORD’S CROSS.

This was a superb day’s racing with DOWN the equine star of the show and Dai Jones, having been off the winners list for several weeks bouncing back with a hat trick and in doing so producing, in my humble opinion, the ride of the season on BILL HAZE.