It was good to be racing at the Staffordshire course after all the rain beforehand and given the unfavourable weather forecast, thankfully the adverse weather forecast did not materialise, but the rain had got into the ground making for testing conditions on the day. As a result it was a case of spot the runner. Only twenty five runners went to post to contest seven races, eight of those went in the Open Maiden, which was the largest field of the day. The card was dominated by Shropshire horses with Hadnall trainer Sheila Crow taking the trainers honours with a double and Richard Burton completing a treble.
Mad Victor recorded his fourth success of the season with another impressive performance under Claire Allen to win the Ladies Open easily by 7 lengths from Sue Sharratt aboard Scotmail Too. The winner is trained at Wolverhampton by Sue Taylor and under rules by her partner Paul Jones. Speaking after the race Jones said,” He did it well today as he would not have liked the tacky ground, on good ground he is a much better horse than this. The Bangor Final is a strong possibility for him this season.” The winner is owned by a syndicate headed by David Hughes from Albrighton, the trainer also has a share in the horse.
I asked Jones about his 2008 Liverpool Foxhunter winner Christy Beamish who will be attempting to win the race for the second time this week at Liverpool. He said, “He schooled brilliantly this morning under Claire Allen, she had a job to pull him up. It is a case of all systems go, there might be a few younger horses in the race this year with form, but I would not swop Christy Beamish’s chance with any other horse in the race.
Owner Richard French has been trying to have a winner at his local course for years, and he finally he achieved his ambition after the bloodless success of Enter Paradise in the Open Maiden under Richard Burton. The Moscow Flyer gelding galloped his rivals into the ground winning by 10 lengths from Claire Allen aboard Young Brave. Maddy Lewis from the Gordy Edwards yard ran on well in third with Jamie Jenkinson in the plate. French who has moved to Scholar Green, Nr Congelton recently from Eccleshall, has had many winners over the years with Hadnall trainer Sheila Crow. He was elated when I spoke to him afterwards. He said, ”It is a bit special for me as I have been trying to have a winner at my local course for years, he did not just win he blew them away. He is obviously much better than I thought and Richard(Burton) was impressed with him.” Hadnall trainer Sheila Crow thinks very highly of the winner, speaking afterwards she said, “I went over to see him in Ireland and liked him as soon as I saw him and he had a pedigree that I liked. He has always looked to have plenty of ability in his work at home. He will improve a lot from this race and on better ground. He should win a couple more point to points, and hopefully he will run in the John Corbett Cup at Stratford. That gives you an idea of how much I think of him.” It could be something of a lucky omen for French but his horse should have carried number 6 in the race, but he ran with number 9 , which resulted in the owner being fined £50, as French likes a tilt at the ring the fine was probably like a pebble in an ocean.
Sheila Crow and Richard Burton completed a double with My Flora in the Resticted, the combination in the well known colours of Don Edwards where never extended to beat the only other finisher Another Late Night by 12 lengths. Sheila Crow said afterwards that the mare was a decent sort from the same family as Clever Folly, she added that her charge would go on any ground. In completing a treble Burtie’s was completing his 18th winner of the season.
The opening Members race was turned into a procession by Malmo Boy, who provided 24 year Anna Adams with her first ever winner between the flags. The Roselier gelding never broke sweat in defeating the odds on jolly Redskin Raider by 20 lengths. The winner is trained by the riders mother Nikki Adams at Stoke on Tern , Nr Market Drayton, she purchased the horse two years ago from trainer Heather Dalton. The winning rider was made redundant last week from Black Horse Finance, part of the Lloyds banking group. She now plans to spend her time travelling.
Only three runners went to post for the two mile five furlong Maiden race, which went to the David Mansell ridden Blinding Lights, the combination made every yard to win by 8 lengths from Fairymount. The son of Snurge is trained at Aberley by Zoey Hammond, who bought the horse in Ireland for Market Drayton owner Don Constable, who purchased the horse to sell on, but Blinding Lights failed to make a bid at the Ascot Sales.
Only two runners went to post for the Men’s Open, which was a poor turn out. Ballyvoge under Richard Burton set out to make every yard from flag fall and succeeded in doing so by a length and a half from Noble Persian with Myles Seston in the plate.This was Burtie’s 17th winner of the season.The winner is owned and trained at Marchweil, Nr Wrexham by show jumper Robert Bevis, who was recording his second winner of the season after his charges earlier success at Bangor last month. Speaking after the race, he said, “I wasn’t too bothered about the ground today as he had won on soft ground under rules when he was trained by Nicky Richards. He has improved a lot from Bangor and the plan is to run him there in May in the Bangor Final.
There was yet another match for the novice riders race between Camilla Churton on Flashy Boy and Joe Proctor on Tinarana Lord from the Gary Hanmer yard. The race ceased to be a contest when Camilla Churton pulled up Flashy Boy after the seventh fence after the saddle slipped, which left Tinarana Lord to finish alone. The winner who is trained at Nantwich by Gary Hanmer for his mother Gwyneth, was providing the Cheshire trainer with his first winner of the season.