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Sunday 25th January 2009

by Geoff Handley

The official going at Dunthrop was Good to Soft (Soft in the home straight) though the times were a lot slower than the last meeting shortly before Christmas and the way they were finishing suggested it was testing and very holding.

Maiden ( Div 1 )
A victory for William Somers who seemed happy in the sticky condition. He finished fourth in a Larkhill maiden two years ago and was put away by connections as he was said to be physically weak. Held up by Mark Wall, this eight year old gelding took it up at the 10th and gradually pulled clear of the only other finisher, Shammy Buskins (Emily Harbour - should find a small maiden). The winner is owned/trained by Tim Sage.
The 6/4 favourite, Handofharperstown (Dave Mansell) was desperately disappointing, slowly away, mistake at the first, taken wide and rear when pulling up at the tenth.

Maiden ( Div 2 )
Eleven went to post for the second division and a good win for Nuits St George for Peter Toole and trainer Karrie Erskine Crum. He showed the benefit of a run last week at Barbury Castle when close up for 2m4f (like so many others last weekend ) and held off the persistent challenge of Artic Fire who was nibbled at in the ring from 10’s to 7’s and ran a promising race. Mark Moor finished a remote third.
Again, favourite backers got no run for their money as the Karen Lawther trained Caught In Time was held up in rear by James Tudor and never got into the race before pulling up four out.

Maiden for 4,5,6, 7 year olds over 2m 4f
The combination of Julie Houldey/David Mansell are becoming a force to be reckoned with this season with three winners between them last week and they carried on the good work today with Maranach easily winning this short maiden. This five year finished close up thirds in his Irish maidens and took up the running at the twelfth and was soon clear - he looks one to follow.
Run Out The Guns was second for Peter Toole and a head behind was Frosty Spring who survived a bad mistake four out with Mark Wall doing well to stay on board – he looks up to winning a maiden for Feargal O’Brien (made most of the running - opened 4s, drifted to 6s).
Many of these youngsters caused trouble in the paddock and down to start, Constant Cupid unshipped Tom David in the paddock and was reluctant to go down, Aur Cymru boiled over in the paddock and planted herself when the tape went up, Nearly Sixty bolted to post and then again when the race started.

Hunt Members
Only five runners but an eventful race. The market was dominated by Moscow Court and Nez Rouge with Dancing Rock and rank outsiders Apple Days and Taxi Fare.
The action started five out when Nez Rouge looked to have got the better of Moscow Court when coming to grief, horse and jockey Sam Twiston-Davies were soon up unscathed, and this left the favourite a long way clear and would have been 1.01 on the exchanges to stroll home, however, whether the effort of trying to keep tabs with Nez Rouge had taken its toil, Moscow Court looked tired at the penultimate fence but still had a ten length lead when jumping the last, but despite all the best efforts of Ian Howe on board, Moscow Court virtually stopped to a walk, enabling Taxi Fare and a delighted Andy Martin to sail past on the run in and cause a shock win. This was Taxi Fare’s second victory after a maiden winner at Maisemore Park a couple of seasons ago.
As for Nez Rouge, he has now failed to complete in three starts this season - unseated rider in Kingscliff's Open race here and again at Barbury Castle last week, this Bangor novice hurdle winner should find a race soon.

Ladies Open 3m 5f
Victory went to Derawar ridden by Lucy Jones and trained by her husband Simon. This ten year old gelding was bought at the Doncaster sales in 2007 following two victories in Ireland. Since then he has won three points and has a touch of class about him though he did refuse twice last season including when well clear approaching the last at Pentreclwydau. He showed none of that quirkiness here and was too good for the favourite Touch Closer who spoiled his chances with several deliberate jumps (Josephine Banks/Feargal O’Brien).
As for the others, Move Over ran on at one pace to be third as did outsider Jendali Lad to be fourth. Swifts Hill was disappointing, never really getting into the race before pulling up for Isobel Tompsett. The early pacemaker Claridge went off at a blistering pace and not surprisingly eventually pulled up.

Mens Open over 4m for the Lord Ashton Of Hyde’s Cup
Nine went to post for this prestigious race over four miles. The hot favourite was Bowdens Lane from the in form yard of Julie Houdley and with Dave Mansell on board. Lord Attica and Spiers Place were next in the betting.
Bowdens Lane soon had his eight rivals toiling on the second circuit and had the field stretched across Dunthrop, winning easing up by a distance from Lord Attica (a gutsy winner last week at Barbury). Mister Bertolli did well to finish third for Fred Hutsby despite a couple of mistakes.
This was Bowdens Lane fourth victory between the flags and is one to watch for a Hunter Chase when the mud is flying.

Club Members for Novice Riders
Conditions came right for Eskimo Jack to give Jack Sherwood his first winner and was given a fine ride too. This thorough stayer has now won five under rules and six in Points. Like a lot of runners today, he looked rather tired on the run in but held off the challenge well of Earl Of Buckingham and the favourite Grenfell who could only run on at the one pace.
The big disappointment was the well fancied Fifty Yearson giving Nick Slatter his first ride. Always in arrears he never got competitive and was pulled up, this eight year ex Irish Pointer is surely better than this and probably didn’t act in the prevailing conditions.

The final race of the day and an easy win for Supreme Royal (Ryan Bliss), making the long trip from her Somerset yard for Marie McGuinness worthwhile. He looked well in the paddock and having led three out he soon saw off his rivals to win by seven lengths and to send punters home happy. He looks to be improving and this progressive type won his maiden easily last season at Charlton Horethorne.
The runner up was Pretty Lady Rose who much to her credit kept battling on and she can win a small Restricted for Sarah Waring. Clover Bay was third and Double Encore was fourth in a time of 7m43s.

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