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South East Hunts Club
Sunday 24th February 2008
by Simon McInnes
photos by Adam Goodburn

Usually appearing early season due the waterproof qualities of the track, Charing has had no need of them lately, but fortunately the going was mostly good, and the fields were not scared off by the prospects off it being on the quick side. Rather more strangely, most of the races unfolded with the runners struggling home as much as is the case when conditions are really testing. This contrived to lay on two amazing finishes, one by any terms people care to define, the other as much due to the two horses contesting it.

Going: Good (Good to Firm places)

Giles Jarvis Memorial Open Maiden (4-7 year olds, 2m 4f)
1: Like Minded 2: Lillie Lou 3: Basiliko
Winner owned & trained: Don Cantillon, ridden: Alex Merriam
There has been some debate on the forum that the area, given the smallish horse population for pointing, has overdone the provisions of youngsters short maidens, to the detriment of field sizes. The entry held up quite well for this, with nine of the eleven initially put forward going to post. The only newcomer, four year old Like Minded ran out an easy enough winner, having been available at 9/4 early on, and as skinny as 1/3 just before the off. Basiliko made a fair stab at foiling the punt, going five clear down the hill by the A20, then, not for the first time, tied up badly, enough to lose second to the plodding on Lillie Lou.

South East Bookmakers Club Members Restricted
1: Beareen Lad 2: Master Brew 3: New Street Express
Winner owned: The Tork Family, trained: Daisy Tork, ridden: Gordon Gallagher
Having been on a loser, it is presumed, in the first, the bookies sponsored race 2 and seemed to get something back, as favourite Spanish Point (not unknown to land a touch himself) pulled up and was dismounted at halfway. Beareen Lad, who has been running well in defeat in 2008, was the one to take advantage and won very easily in the end. Paddock pick Master Brew - well named in Shepheard Neame country being by Homo Sapien, out of Edithmead - was next, just not having the toe to keep tabs on Beareen Lad at the business end. New Street Express repeated his improved effort from last time, again without shaping as if he was one step away from success.

Hobbs Parker Mens' Open
1: Turnstile 2: Old Kilminchy 3: Buckland Bob Winner owned & ridden: Stuart Robinson, trained: Gina Weare
On the day, this five runner race, with two well short of open class, was the only disappointing field, and on his recent runs at Godstone and Detling, Turnstile deserved the easier opportunity, and took it. Old Kilminchy made a race of it until four out, but ran out of puff quite quickly from there and ended up well defeated, even though Turnstile was himself quite tired. Buckland Bobby has a UK career highlight before today of a novice hurdle run equating to a handicap mark of 38, but having been first to struggle, Gordon Gallagher kept at him and ended up with £60 petrol money when The Grey Baron ground to a halt on the run in.

Penny Peate Ladies' Open
1: Danaeve 2: Millennium Way 3: Soldershire
Winner owned & trained: Nigel Benstead, ridden: Emily Harbour
The first bizarre ending to a race on the day. Should you go back in time, knowing the result and that none fell at the last, and freeze the action, it would still be hard to believe how the result panned out. Of course, to achieve this, you would have to consider, at the very least, that all series of 'Quantum Leap' were based on a true story, and thus be unlikely to get out and about enough to end up at a point-to-point in deepest Kent. But back to the plot. Four out, Soldershire and Heaven Is Above had kicked clear, with Danaeve and Millennium Way battling it out for third. The latter had a slight lead, but a good jump by Soldershire regained the edge two out, and Heaven Is Above looked beaten. As the approached the last, the order seemed settled, but the next two were closing the gap, not nearly slowly enough. Over the last, and much less than a furlong remained, and Soldershire ground to a complete halt, legs turned to jelly etc. Heaven Is Above and Millennium Way kept on at each other, and probably to both their riders' surprise, swept past the exhausted leaders for margins of 3/4 and 1/2 length. The irony is that had one of them dropped away, and without each other to compete against, nobody could have blamed the riders for easing down and accepting the inevitable. Danaeve, eventually a refuser last time, was more like his old self.

Princess Grace Hospital (London) Club Members Conditions
1: Saffron Hill 2: Delganey Gale 3: No Reward
Winner owned: Anna Reed, trained: Kate Buckett, ridden: Richard Bandey
After getting the odds-on favourite turned over in the Ladies' it was more good fortune for the bookies, as Bee An Bee ran out at the eighth, although he did seem a less convincing candidate for lumping on at short odds, given that his win looks modest form and his jockey is 66 years old. The commentator observed that the age gap between David Robinson and newcomer Ed Grissell was a mere fifty years. Unsurprisingly the field gradually thinned out, and eventually the fairly obvious form picks were left slugging it out. Saffron Hill took the advantage between the last two, and hung on grimly, despite wandering over to the right on the run in - Delganey Gale a little worryingly seemed to lug in behind him, although he was almost certainly out on his feet as well. No Reward has mixed it on tougher grades than this, but may be finding that his peak has past, as he just stuck on at one pace, without a hint of catching the leaders.

Grants Cherry Brandy Members Maiden
1: Parzando 2: Millview 3: Some Story
Winner owned & ridden: Stuart Robinson, trained: Gina Weare
South East regulars must have long since given up any expectation of seeing this happen, as Parzando finally won a race. In fact, I was so busy checking my racecard to confirm that the commentator, myself, everyone I know, and the rest of the crowd, had not been fooled by a runner sporting similar colours to the Robinson ones. But it was true! If Stuart Robinson never rides another winner, he can reast assured that he has one amazing achievement to his name. But let us not discount the contribution of Millview. He took the lead two from home, causing the traditional Parzando sulk, but Millview decided the winning line lies at the top of the last fence and more or less pulled himself up. Under vigourous encouragement, Parzando found himself stopping less quickly, and secured that much resented initial win. He will no doubt make the frame in restricteds regularly, because physical ability is the least of his worries. In all this commotion, I missed Silver Jewel taking a fall at the last when in third, and the screens were soon up, but he was fortunately only winded.

Plus Points
Like Minded (race 1)
Even bearing in mind the extreme limitations of the opposition, he was convincing enough on a winning debut to think there is better in store The Grey Baron (race 3): Ran very poorly in the Mens' Open, and hope lies in that he has done this sort of thing on his early runs before and come good later in the season. It's been a while since he was this woeful to start, but he is only eleven and should not be over the hill yet.

Soldershire (race 4)
For 2 miles and 7 furlongs plus, he was, on his debut for Di Grissell, back to being the promising hurdler and restricted winner we saw in 2006. The late collapse of his challenge is a worry, but a perfectly legitimate reason may emerge - it was a quick race, but not recklessly so.

Saffron Hill (race 5)
Still looked as if there was a touch of fitness fine tuning to come having had just one run since 2006, so he could step up on the win. He seems to like Charing, which is not 100% convenient for a horse qualified with the Isle Of Wight.

Silver Jewel (race 6)
Assuming that he can put the fall behind him mentally, this was a fair enough first run since 2005, although even Paul Nicholls could not get him within 20 lengths of the winner in a short career under Rules

Down Arrows
Basiliko (race 1)
All distances seem to come alike to him - too far.

Reymysterio (race 2)
Looked much fitter once the blanket was off, as he seems a naturally rotund creature - and there is nothing wrong with that. He was again saddled in the paddock, but was better behaved than at Godstone. He set off jumping well on the heels of the leaders but dropped out with a lap to go and was pulled up. A half overheard conversation between trainer and jockey suggested that Reymysterio just lost interest. His name almost expects it...

Jack's Present (race 2)
Threw in towel (a mediocre present at best) even before Reymysterio, confirming the limitations shown in a members last time.

Old Kilminchy (race 3)
Was having his fifth run of the season and is yet to find any sort of imspiration.

Delganey Gale (race 5)
Won a restricted on this track last season, and made the frame a few times, but the way he played follow my leader after the last was somewhat discouraging.

Millview (race 6)
He was outbattled by Parzando, the pointing equivalent of losing to San Marino at any team sport.

Mountain Emperor (race 6)
Seemed to run rather well at Cottenham (close fourth having pulled hard) but ran today is if he is a bit lacking in stamina.

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