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27th February 2005
by Mal Davies

Gary Hanmer, David Greenway and Richard Burton shared the honours at Eyton on Sunday. It was an excellent day’s racing, well supported by owners and trainers, after the disappointing turnout at Weston Park the previous week, helped by good jumping ground.

Hanmer and Greenway each bagged a brace, but Burton trumped those with a treble.

Highlight of the day was the long awaited return of the high class Minella Silver in the Mens’ Open. Given a really positive ride by Burton, the twelve year old grey was in the van all the way, and put in a foot perfect round of jumping. Sent off at very generous 7-4 for a horse of his class, he was two and a half lengths too good for Home Made, who ran a huge race under Joe O’Brien, with Pagermar back in third. The winner’s task was made easier by the early departure of the Andrew Dalton charge Quality First, but Minella Silver looks set for another successful campaign, so long as he gets his preferred give underfoot. Given soft ground, he would not be out of place in the Cheltenham Foxhunters, and though he probably falls several pounds below what would be needed to win that one, he would be a sporting each- way wager at long odds.


Burton had landed a very competitive Intermediate heat on the progressive Darnil, trained by Sheila Crow. At one point, four out, the 11-8 favourite looked to be making heavy weather of things, but he rallied to see off Shraden Edition (David Barlow) by one and three quarters of a length, in a fast time. The better jump at the last sealed it, but the runner up lost little in defeat and will surely go one better soon. Oh So Droll was given a good ride by Hannah Kinsey to take third.

The Burton treble was accomplished in the second division of the confined maiden aboard his father Rob’s Classic Shot, a previously unraced five year old by Classic Cliché. The open ditch was omitted due to the low sun, but the previous fence, also jumped directly into the sun, saw three fallers and Charlie Barlow’s Pusslin so badly hampered that he had to pull up; the fence was bypassed on the second circuit.

Not to be outdone, Hanmer was on the impressive Border Fusion who took the Restricted by eight lengths. Contrary at the start, but possessing a very good engine, this one can certainly go on to better things, and looks on this showing to be living up to his pre-season reputation.



Hanmer’s other winner was a very lucky one. On the heavy odds on shot Lance Toi, he was looking well beaten in second when Maringo crashed through the wings of the second last in the first leg of the Confined Maiden, leaving the Cheshire jockey to come home five lengths to the good of Gemster and Nick Oliver.

The Tanatside Members’ race went to Cassia Green and David Greenway, who beat the only other finisher Raconteur.

The Ladies Open was a fiercely contested heat; the ultra-reliable Stretching and Jane Williams made a winning seasonal debut with a thrilling win from Weston Park winner Jackie Jarvis (Sue Johnson), with Euro Bob back in third. On this showing, the front two look set to dominate the North West area Ladies’ races this term.


Gemma Swindells conjured up a big run from Braeburn to take the first division of the maiden, though it is a moot point as to whether she would have prevailed had not Four Opinions fallen at the last; William Hill’s mount had jumped really well throughout, but asked for a big one when ahead at the last, he crumpled on landing, his old fencing problems resurfacing once more at the sharp end of the race. That error apart, he looks certain to break his maiden soon, given a clear round. Castleford and Will Kinsey ran a solid race to bag second place ahead of Sheila Crow’s Uncle Neil, who, for all his ability, is starting to look like a serial loser.

David Greenway’s second winner came on Scarlet Gunner in a competitive looking maiden division; the Gunner B gelding was prominent all the way and was three lengths to the good of the well-supported Che Guevara; he can certainly go on to win in Restricted grade.

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