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Sunday 17th April 2005
by Geoff Handley

The weather conditions were so different compared to last year when the meeting was held with continuous rain falling. The sun was shining on a pleasant spring day but it was still chilly at this North Oxfordshire venue (has it ever been warm here?). The going was good with good to soft in places

Hunt Members
Charlie Wadland came to Mollington to ride Shortcut Shorty before dashing off to ride at Clifton-On-Dunsmore and the decision proved worthwhile as the partnership duly obliged. Shortcut Shorty is becoming a regular in Bicester Hunt races. Beaten odds on favourite in the corresponding race last year when they walked round for two laps, this was his fourth points win and his third at Mollington. Taking up the lead at the twelfth from Celtic Season (Tash McKim) he never looked in any trouble coming home by 3 lengths. The disappointing even-money fav was Kildorragh for Heather Irving, who finished second in the February Hunt Race (Shortcut Shorty was fourth) but never looked liked getting on terms today and didn't really give favourite backers a run for their money

A cracking finish as Fred Hutsby on board Westerton got up on the line to beat Earl Of Buckingham (Paul Cowley) by a head. These two were always up with the pace and Earl Of Buckingham looked all over the winner as they jumped the last but the Mollington hill came into play (very similar to Towcester) with Fred Hutsby all out on Westerton. A winner of two Hunter Chases at Market Rasen and Kelso in 2003, he hadn't really shown much promise this season, pulling up at the Grafton last time over course and distance and tailing off at Brafield. Earl Of Buckingham on the other hand has been most consistent this season. The favourite Gibraltar Bill had every chance until Tom Ellis pulled up him three out (saddle slipped). The programme failed to show last weekends form therefore it did not show his Restricted win at Guilsborough. Surely if declarations are not made until Monday midday then this gives time for the Race Card to print that vital form?
In third place was Murphy's Magic who ran on at one pace for James Tudor. A winner here last time when heavily backed he again was nibbled at in the market and this seven year old can win again. Galaxy Minstrel and Runningwiththemoon ran reasonable races.

Mens Open 
Yet another close finish as Be My Dream held off the late challenge by a head from Jimmy Tarry on Grecian Star. Well ridden by Mark Wilesmith, the partnership had finished a fine third in a Towcester Hunter Chase behind the promising Denvale and had previously won easily at Andoversford and Whitwick Manor giving a first winner for Upton-on-Severn trainer Claudia Steele for Bill Booth. Jimmy Tarry is still frustratingly on the 198 winner mark following his close second, Grecian Star can surely find a race before the season is over.

Ladies Open 
A third course victory this season for odds on favourite Stromness and Heather Irving. No match for impressive winner Lava at Kimble, Stromness won well, a good jump at the fourteenth saw him clear and was pushed out to win by 1 1/2 lengths from Coole Venture and Josephine Banks who should find a Ladies event soon. The main rival to the favourite Filscot was soon out the race after blundering and unseating Emily Harbour at the fourth.

A double on the day for the in form Fred Hutsby as Lord Trix held off his rivals comfortably. Always up with pace, he ran on strongly to defeat Parsonhumfrywebber by three lengths. A winner of his maiden on his seasonal debut at Larkhill, he was somewhat disappointing last time when pulling up at Siddington last time but the yard appear to be in fine form and Lord Trix can win again. The favourite was Lah Di Dah Lad for Jimmy Tarry. He is becoming somewhat frustrating. A beaten favourite last time despite drifting, he was solid in the ring this afternoon but could only run on at one pace to be third.

The rain was just starting to fall as the seven runners went to post for the Maiden. Vctory went to odds on favourite Blue Sovereign for James Owen. Despite a mistake at the second, he was always up with the pace and only had to be pushed out to beat Bob Nickel. Runner up on his debut in a short maiden at Welbeck this progressive grey can win again for trainer Teresa Spearing. One to watch for the future is the Fred Hutsby trained Mighty Leader. Held up on his debut, he made eye-catching headway until lack of fitness told and he weakened up the hill. Rydemill Boy also ran well for a long way until a mistake at the fifteenth put pay to his chances.

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