Photos by Jon Hodd
Brocklesby Park was again the venue for some fantastic point-to-point racing and not even a blustery wind could detract from some thrilling action. The going was described as Good To Soft, Good In Places and in my opinion was an accurate assessment.
The Younger Horse Confined Maiden was split at scale and Division One brought together ten hopefuls. The front three were in the leading quartet throughout and none of the others really entered the argument. Jabo led the group chasing the runaway leader, but at a respectable distance. When push came to shove, Fred Bethell’s mount found plenty for pressure and was always holding off his opponents. This was a significant step up on what Jabo had achieved earlier this year, although his fourth at Charm Park beaten nearly 30 lengths last Sunday was against three apparently reasonable sorts. Runner-up Kingman Reef (Adam Wedge) was odds-on to go one better than when a good second to Impact Zone at the previous fixture here. However, he was never quite doing enough to get on terms with Jabo, when that foe got first run on him. Even so, only a five-year-old, his three placings from three outings entitle him to pick up a maiden. In third, Indian Rising showed the benefit of his initial couple of quiet attempts by being beaten just over a length. Ridden pretty prominently on this occasion, he kept on well for Sarah Phizacklea and can go close again next time. Tiger Tim in fourth could only run on at the one pace from four out. Red Square Express took a ferocious hold, just like he had at Dalston a week ago, and was a country mile clear by the open ditch. However, he ran out of gas very quickly starting the final lap. An extremely difficult ride and one to treat with caution. Teeton Grand Slam had a gentle introduction in rear and will improve with time and experience.
Nine horses faced the starter for Division Two of the Younger Horse Maiden and Plume D’Oudairies foiled a gamble on Morning Moment. The time was a lot slower than the first division as there was hardly any pace on early. Patiently ridden by Tom Greenall, Plume D’Oudairies made headway to take closer order approaching the third last and was driven right out to the line to score. Her conqueror here in a mares maiden in February, Poppy Day, has since put up a fair display in a restricted. Morning Moment tried his best for Jonny Bailey in second, but couldn’t quite quicken sufficiently to land the odds. The slightly firmer ground might have been against him at Higham earlier this month because his previous second to The Snurglar reads well as that one has now hacked up in a Didmarton restricted and the third Lord Adonis took the Brocklesby hunt members. Morning Moment should be able to collect a maiden. Third-placed Principal Lad responded to Miles Seston’s urgings and this was the best yet for him. Never far away from the fairly sedate gallop, Principal Lad had the run of the race, but this was certainly something to build on. Woodmaster in fourth could find no more in the home straight and this was below par compared with his pointing debut second at Thorpe Lodge in January. Oojar looked the part and is worth noting for the future as he will have learnt much from today.
The Novice Riders had 13 participants and the favourite Buy Onling sluiced home to initiate a double for Toby Greenall, his jockey. Buy Onling never runs a bad race and is a tough customer to beat. Seemingly with matters under control at all times, when Toby pushed the button, the response was excellent. Regular pilot Jacqueline Coward is on the sidelines after a bad fall at Catterick, but an able replacement has been found and the new partnership are going to be difficult to oppose in the future. They came in at long intervals behind. In second, My Best Buddy under Jonny Bailey shook off all comers except Buy Onling. My Best Buddy may be past his prime, but he can still hold his own at this level and should remain pretty competitive. Third-placed Well Presented (Laura Mason) sprang a bit of a surprise in the ladies open at this venue last month. Being in tip-top condition probably won that race for him and he may find it harder if reverting back to ladies opens. Barrys Lord in fourth isn’t always easy to catch right, but he’s got some ability and may be worth a look next time with this outing under his belt. Behind these, Lauderdale gave a little hope as he was still going forward when many others had cried enough. Restrained out the back of the field, Monte Cristo made little impression on the final circuit and was pulled up on the run-in.
The Confined had nine runners and a sound display from The Piper’s Son under Joe Docker took the prize. He was always there or thereabouts, jumped tidily in the main and stayed on strongly on the run-in. The winner of a Horseheath intermediate on his seasonal bow, The Piper’s Son is in good heart at the moment. Runner-up The Fairhill Boy (Sam Vaughan-Jones) gave it his best shot, but was just run out of it. The Fairhill Boy is a stout stayer with no stamina concerns. He’d racked up a hat-trick in the care of Cherry Coward in 2008 and hasn’t appeared out of place in the higher grade in 2009. Teeton Bollinger and Stuart Morris came third. There’s no doubting Teeton Bollinger’s talent, but he hasn’t been particularly amiable of late. His jockey was already pushing him along with three fences jumped and it was hard work for the entire journey. That said, he was running on willingly at the death, but his lack of enthusiasm for the job is disconcerting. Fourth-placed Gun Smith was eased after the final fence having been close enough if good enough at the top of the home run. After he had begun so well in his first two points, this wasn’t quite up to that standard and he is better than this. Persian Hero was a fair fourth when coming down. Crystal Dance will have needed the race having been off for two years, but he didn’t jump particularly well.
Eight horses came under orders for the Mixed Open, which went the way of Sonevafushi, the short-priced favourite, under Toby Greenall in facile fashion. Sonevafushi made most and barely had to break sweat to account for The Hookie Bookie and Tom Ellis. Sonevafushi has completed a hat-trick this season with consummate ease and he is likely to add to this tally over the coming period. The Hookie Bookie is finding it difficult to get his head in front, but is largely consistent in getting a place. This was a decent effort as he was a clear second. Tinarana Lord and Brian Linehan were 20 lengths back in third. Tinarana Lord would have preferred even softer ground and, although readily outpointed, there will be easier opportunities than this. Nykel ran well for a long way before weakening into fourth and Knightsbridge King made a pleasing reappearance. Limerick Leader was an early casualty.
The Red Mills Intermediate was a red hot affair drawing horses from far and wide and a class ride from David Kemp secured the honours for Viceroy Close. Held up four or five lengths behind the rest of the nine-strong field for much of the journey, his hand was only played on the final turn and as soon as Viceroy Close was asked to go and win his race, he did just that. This made it a four-timer for Viceroy Close, who is still unbeaten for this trainer/jockey. He has a progressive profile and, if the exaggerating waiting tactics weren’t a cover for ensuring he got the trip, he would be an interesting candidate for the final of this series at Cheltenham. There was a good display from The Camerengo in second, with Miles Seston in the plate. The balance of his form suggested that The Camerengo might struggle with some of these, most of who weren’t quite as exposed, however he stuck it out longer than anything else to put it up to the winner, although Viceroy Close wasn’t unduly extended to be 10 lengths to the good at the line. Lord Gee and Tom Greenall were a further 15 lengths back in third. Swiftly left behind when Viceroy Close arrived on the scene, he could only keep on in his own time at a respectful distance. Only three finished. Fiddle was representing the much respected Waley-Cohen team and was popular in the ring. She was backed into odds-on. She travelled supremely well, but got tired very quickly on the home bend and was pulled up almost immediately. Fiddle had picked up a mares bumper at Warwick almost two years to the day ago, from which the second and third have been subsequently successful under Rules, and was bound to have found the outing of benefit. Chalk It Up was leading when he fell at the 13th, bringing down Keen Whip. An incident at the 10th put both Kings Reason and Oscar Royal out of the race, but sadly Kings Reason sustained a broken hind leg.
A field of 11 lined up for the Restricted, which saw Impact Zone produced between the final two fences by Tom Greenall and clear away in pleasing fashion for a four length verdict without his rider getting serious. Tom was completing a double on the card. Impact Zone has got a fine engine and jumped tidily in the main. He’d got off the mark here in February and had Fli Mi Son and Jabo well behind him that day, and both of those have now gone on to claim maidens of their own. You wouldn’t want to rule Impact Zone out in a higher grade if he keeps improving like this. Lord Of The Knar kept on resolutely to fill second spot for Alex Vaughan-Jones without having the speed to trouble the victor. This will just about have been a personal best for Lord Of The Knar and it remains to be seen if he will reproduce it. Willie Wong and Will Kinsey came third. He didn’t have the change of gear needed, but it was still all right. Willie Wong has been knocking on the door of late and this was another spirited performance. A restricted can come his way. Fourth-placed The Real Tom Eoin, having carried off a North Carlton 2m4f maiden with the minimum of fuss earlier in the month, made up ground in the home straight without shaking up those ahead of him. Ridden to conserve his suspect stamina, there didn’t appear to be any worries in that department and it may simply be that he took three runs in 2009 to reach optimum fitness. Lord Adonis was in contention when he fell foul of the open ditch. Ballyclement, a far from disgraced runner-up at the previous fixture here, weakened on the run from four out and was pulled up and dismounted on the home turn.
Nine horses set out for the Older Horse Maiden and it needed every ounce of Miles Seston’s strength in the saddle to get Accordion Roilelet home. This won’t have been the greatest of contests, but Accordion Roilelet exhibited a fine attitude to outgun Croftburn on the run-in. An Irish import, Accordion Roilelot was knocked down for 1500gns at Brightwells in October 2008. Having got outpaced on the long run out of the back straight, Croftburn was keeping on as well as anything at the business end under Robert Gault to be second. She gives the impression a sharp track wouldn’t be in her favour as all she does is gallop. Red Corner couldn’t find any extra for Brian Linehan in the closing stages and was third. Red Corner would probably the horse to have most chance next time. Elia Beach displayed her first glimmer of ability in fourth. Master Bramley should come on for the run.