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5th February 2005
by John Bulman
photos by Grace Beresford

Going - Good. Weather – Not unpleasant

Racing kicked off at 12.00 with the Members race. 5 went to post but they were reduced to 4 after Souden Lyric departed quite early on. The race went to the Simon Shirley Bevan trained favourite Le Millenaire under Charlie Shirley Bevan. Bold Navigator ran a good race from the front to be second but probably won’t get many better opportunities to score than in this race.

Le Millenaire (Charlie Shirley Beavan) right, jump the last to win the members ahead of Bold Navigator (Gillon Crow)

Le Millenaire and Charlie Shirley Beaven winners of the hunt members race followed by Bold Navigator and Gillon Crow, second

16 went to post for the Restricted but from a long way out the finish only looked to concern 2 horses. In the end Gudasmum prevailed fairly comfortably under Rose Davidson to give her winner number 1 of the season. Rose has improved immeasurably over the last year or so and is now riding (and winning) regularly under rules. Gudasmum wouldn’t be the stable star but still looks to have plenty of ability and should score again in the right grade. Second went to Highland Brig under Ran Morgan. Running a blinder on his seasonal debut, if this form is maintained he shouldn’t be long in winning. Highland Brig has been inconsistent in the past however so perhaps caution should be advised. The Preacher man stayed on past beaten horses to take third and he should appreciate the drop back into pointing company after a spell under rules. The Preacher Man is a bit one paced but may be able to get competitive as the season progresses.

Gudasmum (Rose Davidson) winner of the PPORA restricted race lead Highland Brig (Ran Morgan) eventual 2nd and Keep The Keyes (Kevin Anderson)

The Ladies race provided a swift double for the Davidson camp as Bohemian Spirit continued last season’s impressive form that saw him winning Hunter Chases at both Cheltenham and Aintree. He appears best going left handed and is effective at sub three miles. Bohemian Spirit probably cost big money as he went unsold at £52,000 at Doncaster in May (having been bought for only £500 as a three year old!). If I paid that kind of money (I should be so lucky) I would expect to be winning ladies races as well. Bohemian Spirit did drift in the betting however and was available at even money. He wasn’t as impressive as he might have been and does not look unbeatable. Lethem Air was running a massive race (33/1 and bigger) and was still challenging the winner when departing with a crashing fall at the last. This left Johnnys Gone to fill second place while Royal Castle (walked over a Alnwick) stayed on to take third. Pharmistice was never placed to get competitive and took fourth by plugging round. No doub he will improve for the race. Billy Thompson’s Javelot D’or tried to keep tabs with Bohemian Spirit but was a spent force after 2 ½ miles.

Bohemian Spirit and Rose Davidson on the way to post before winning the ladies open

The Mens Open went to The Clive Story trained and ridden Adolphus. This one had some reasonable form in Ireland for Tony Martin. He made the transition to pointing in impressive fashion, coming away from an average open field to win as he liked. Adolphus was well supported form 5’s into 3’s so the win was not totally unexpected for many. Primitive Way was under pressure from a long way out and he stayed on to take second. Likewise Gaultier Gale who was third. Both will struggle to win Mens Opens when the better class of horse like Adolphus are running but will find easier opportunities as the season goes on. Mr Cavallo ran a nice enough race until tiring coming down the hill for the final time and may well improve.

The Confined race went to the Ray Anderson Green owned, Pauline Robson/David Parker trained Star Jack. Ridden from the front under Pauline, Star Jack wasn’t always fluent but always just had too much speed for dual winner Lord Saar and Harry Fowler. Lord Saar stayed on well though and was closing on Star Jack as the line came just in time for the former 118 hurdles rated winner. Sub 3 mile Hunter Chases might be the best option for Star Jack as he was tiring on the run in, although he may improve again for the run. It does open up the Professional trainers/highly rated horses argument again but I’m not going to say too much about that as most people have already had their say on the discussion forum!! Lord Saar ran another good race and should find more winning opportunities. He may have earned a little rest now though after his third run of the season. The rest were beaten from a long way out and never really got into the race.

Star Jack (Pauline Robson) winner of the Confined leads Lord Saar (Harry Fowler) eventual 2nd

The Mares Maiden provided something of a shock as Tallaburn finally lost her maiden tag under a patient ride and a strong finish under Alistair Findlay. Tallaburn has been knocking on the door in Mares events so it was nice to see her gain her reward. Knysna Bell was still challenging when over jumping at the last and crumpling on landing. She lay winded for a while but thankfully got to her feet and walked away. Compensation surely awaits although she is making a habit of blundering her chance away with jumping errors at the end of her races. Cherry Law took second on her debut under Morag Neill and they will have been pleased with this run as the mare ran a little green and will obviously improve a lot. Anshan Spirit and Roger Green took third. Tsuki (Harry Fowler) fell again and although she has ability, her jumping is obviously a little suspect.

Tallaburn and Alistair Findlay returning following victory in the mares maiden

The Open Maiden (div 1) was ran at a funereal pace and only really got going as they came down the hill for the final time. Consequently it turned into a sprint form 3 out and while Rosegrove Rooster (very unruly in the prelims) looked to have set sail for home under James Thompson, the 5 year old newcomer Cash Bonanza showed a real turn of foot to pass the winner on the run to the last and win going away. Cash Bonanza started the 1 – 2 on favourite so had obviously been showing plenty at home!! Trained by Vicky/Tony Dobbin and owned by Joey Richardson, Cash Bonanza’s future probably lies under rules. And I won’t mention the professional yards again…….oops!

The form of the race is difficult to assess as commentator Jonny Fenwick Clennell claimed the race may go into the record books as “the slowest maiden ever run”.

The final race (Maiden div 2) went to another 5 year old newcomer in the shape of Gusty Law. He provided a double for Pauline Robson and was a fairly impressive winner. I’m Willies Girl was making a come back after a long time off the course and so should improve for her second place. A win in Mares only company would not be beyond her while Temple Glen was prominent throughout and should be capable of winning a maiden at some point. The eyecatcher for me though was Justamiracle who drifted in the betting out to 8’s and was never placed to win under Andrew Richardson. He jumpred adequately and economically in rear but was hampered at the bottom of the hill by a faller and was left in 4 th when Suny Henry fell when beaten at the last. Watch Justamiracle next time, or when the money looks to be down as Bill Hughes and Andrew Richardson are more than capable of knowing when a horse is ready to win.

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