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Sunday 9th April 2006

by Arthur Shone

Sunday’s Cheshire Forest meeting between the flags at Tabley was very testing underfoot for both horses and race goers alike. The hardest part was seeing if you could get your car off the course without the aid of a tractor, as the heavy rain, snow and hailstones before racing had made the ground like a mud bath. The final race on the card the 5, 6 & 7yo Maiden race and the pony race was abandoned on the advice of the medics. The reason for this was that rider David Painter took a crashing fall on the Michael Oliver trained Godfrey in the previous race and the medics treating him decided that he needed the air ambulance. They advised the stewards that that could take up to an hour to arrive, which left them no alternative but to abandon the remainder of the meeting. In the end Painter was taken to hospital by an ordinary ambulance by road.

Once again Hadnall trainer Sheila Crow took the training honours with a double with Lord Bush in the Confined and An Capall Dubh in the Men’s Open. This was her 17 th winner of the season, both horses ridden by the champion rider Richard Burton. This was Burtie’s 26 th winner of the season and he only needs another two winners to reach a notable landmark of 250 career winners.

There was a lot to like about the manner of Lord Bush’s victory. The Lord Americo gelding made virtually every yard from flag fall to win going away by 8 lengths from Sarah’s Party with Julian Pritchard in the plate. This was his third victory of the season and he is regarded very highly by his trainer. Speaking after the race Crow said, “Richard ( Burton) told me that he is a real professional and always gives you his all. He didn’t mind the ground today and he will probably go on any going. He will go to Cheltenham for the hunter chase meeting there next month and I think it will be an ideal course for him.” The winner is owned by Richard French from Eccleshall and David & Ann Carding from Walcot.

Only five runners went to post for the Mens Open which went to the Sheila Crow trained An Capall Dubh, who made every yard under Richard Burton to beat the rank outsider by Flat Stanley by 6 lengths. The combination was handed the race three out when Ikemba under Will Kinsey fell three out when upsides. Crow said afterwards that her charge hated the ground and added that it was his class that got him home. The winner ran in the well known colours of Derek Pugh from Shrewsbury.

There was an even poorer turn out for the Ladies Open with only four lining up to face the starter. Stormy Sunrise followed up his Bangor win with another success under Tor Stubbs, who beat the jolly Step and Run with Jane Williams in the plate by three and a half lengths. The Glacial Storm gelding is trained by the riders mother Elizabeth Stubbs at Crowton, near Northwich and owned by her father Phillip, who said that his horse would have a rest and would come back for the Club meeting here on May 14th.

It was good to see Sherrifhales trainer Caroline Robinson back in the winners enclosure following the Restricted success of Rebel Lad, who was given a super ride by Adrian Wintle, his 10 th of the season. The combination had a bit more in hand than the 3 length margin over On The Forty from the Steve Wynne yard would suggest. The Young Purty was a further 10 lengths back in third. Many people will feel justice was done because at Weston Park Rebel Lad fell at the last with a lead of 6 lengths, which handed the race to On The Forty. Robinson said afterwards that she knew the testing ground would suit her horse but added that she was a bit concerned beforehand as to whether he would handle the tight course. The winner is owned by a syndicate calling themselves the Nagmatic Racing Club, which consists of Marion Renaghan, Steven Nightingale and Richard Lane, most of them come from the Clitheroe area.

Malpas trainer Steve Wynne did not leave the Cheshire course empty handed following the much overdue success of Guthrie in the Open Maiden. The Mister Lord gelding employed new tactics this time. Wynne instructed Oliver Greenall to go out and make every yard of the running, which he did to perfection, but in the end it got desperate as he just held on by a head from the fast finishing Striking Distance under Sarah Gorse. The runner up was in front after the line, but they pay out on the jam stick. Wynne has always thought very highly of the winner, speaking afterwards he said, “He has been so unlucky this season. He got left at the start last time out and this win would have done his confidence a lot of good. He is a much better horse on better ground but you can’t always get it, so that’s why he took his chance today and he will come on from this race.” The winner is owned by Dave Manning, also from Malpas, who is great supporter of point to pointing.

The Cheshire Forest Members race is always one of the best supported in the area in terms of numbers of runners and yesterday was no exception. The race went to the progressive Castleford who came with a perfectly timed run under his trainer and rider Will Kinsey to beat Port Salon very easily by 10 lengths with Juralon was a similar distance back in third. Kinsey who trains at Ashton, near Chester is having his best ever season with 4 winners to date. The winner is owned by Caroline Page from Ottley, who is the mother of one of the trainers old school friends.


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