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The Vale of Aylesbury with Garth & South Bucks
Kingston Blount
Saturday 8th May 2010
by Simon McInnes

Despite being early May, pointing regulars will have felt at home as rainy skies, a strong wind and a bleak vista saw many of the crowd wandering around in winter gear, and even gloves. Even the course's signature red kites were mostly absent, although a couple did try and upstage the intermediate by staging a fight. The wind blew them over the top of the hill, so information on the winner was not available.

Going: Good

Race 1: The French Horn, Sonning-On-Thames Restricted
1: Teeton Coral 2: Bynack Mhor
Winner owned & trained: Joan Tice, ridden: Lizzie Harris
A very run of the mill race suddenly became astoundingly eventful in the final half mile or so. Gleeson, who had taken the lead three out, slipped up on the bend approaching the second last, nearly bringing down Velvet Red, who was ridden but not completely defeated at the time. Although there were changes of fortune throughout the day after jumping the fence by the road, Gleeson did look to be far and away the most likely winner when he had his accident. The actual result was fought out by Teeton Coral, who led after Gleeson's accident, lost the edge on the before the final fence, and then fought back on the run-in, and Bynack Mhor, who succumbed by a head. The runner-up, winner of a members, not a maiden, had gone for home early, and the manner of his defeat suggested that not relying on a late burst of pace was the right way to go, even if it did not work out. The anarchy was finalised when both Velvet Red and long time leader Exit To Side looked to have refused at the last, but they might have pulled up.

Race 2: The Shepherd's Crook, Crowell Open Maiden (4-7 yo) 2m 5f
1: Madam Molly 2: Findlay's Find 3: Tough Cookie
Winner owned: Mrs R Hurley, trained: Laura Hurley, ridden: Adam Wedge
The uproar for this race began when the runners were at the start for the opener, as one of the runners got loose in the horse box park and had a good old charge round the fields over the road from the course. Hard to identify at a distance, it may well have been Tough Cookie, who would then have run a creditable race in the circumstances. Of course, excelling in this did not take much doing - Madam Molly, who held on by less than a length, has cured her inclination to depart at the fences by having pulled up twice and refused to race once in this seasons three earlier races. Another problem looks also to be stamina, as she had the race won easily turning for home, yet only just clung on and being forced up to three milers now is a definite issue. Findlay's Find, an appealingly constructed four year old, jumped without any real fluency, but showed that staying power may prove to be his strong suit should the skill element ever be sorted out. Those out of the frame had not done much to excite - at least in a racing sense - before today, and all managed to confirm that belief.

Race 3: Tonsley Events Ladies' Open
1: Lady Myfanwy 2: Badger 3: Avesomeofthat
Winner owned: PB Miles, trained: Myfanwy Miles, ridden: Sally Randall
The third race in a row to be decided by less than a length, and also the third favourite in a row to be turned over. Rocklandslad was the jolly, and although he gave supporters a hope when he led from the seventh until four out, his effort quickly became very laboured once headed and although the first five home were still closely bunched two out, they quickly spread out. Lady Myfanwy may have seen her strike rate drop from it's most illustrious peak, but she still keeps the wins ticking over, and this was her twenty-second instance of coming out on top. Badger came with a relentless run in the last mile, but did not have enough to stick his nose in front of the winner. The 2009 winner of this race was Avesomeofthat, who had not managed to fit in a prep run since last spring, and ran quite well, just edging out Dumadic for the minor placing. Balladeer, an open winner from four tries this season, found this a tougher task and did not figure, and Terramarique, who won plenty of times at a low level under Rules, could do no more than waddle around at the back in a manner that gave little reason for future optimism.

Race 4: Stratstone Land Rover, Aylesbury Men's Open
1: Lord Alfred 2: Northall Lad 3: Took My Eye
Winner owned: Wye Friends Partnership, trained: Caroline Griffiths, ridden: Adrian Wintle
The run of nail biting finishes continued, with Lord Alfred edging out the battling Northall Lad, although either of those horses, or perhaps Novi Sad, could have been favourite, depending on whose board was taken as the guide. Lord Alfred and Northall Lad, who had been a little outpaced mid race, were both delivered late, but the winner got first run and proved to be just dour enough to out dour the also dour second. Sloppy jumping meant that Took My Eye burnt up too much energy trying to stay in touch, and The Hookie Bookie seemed to be on a going day until they descended the hill and he remembered who he is, so decided to slow down. There was a nasty incident with a lap to go when Mikado Melody jinked near the winning line and crashed into the rails, taking Novi Sad out of the race with him.

Race 5: Cornbury Festival Intermediate
1: Peadar 2: The Nuns Legacy 3: Historic Place
Winner owned: Simon Tindall, trained & ridden: Nick Pearce
Having taken refuge from the wind in the beer tent for a while, it was a surprise to see Peadar on offer at the nearest bookie at 6/5. That lasted a fraction of a second and in what seemed the blink of an eye the price was as short as 1/2. The race did not prove quite as facile as the market forecast. Peadar went to the front at the twelfth and edged to comfortably clear lead, and then failed turn it into a rout. The Nuns Legacy inherited a certain second when The Boat fell three out. That takes The Boat's record in his last six runs to BFF13F, with the solitary one lurking to beguile the eternal optimists. On the subject of which, Beat The Bandits did bother to start, he just did not try that hard once he had crossed that major obstacle (for him).

Race 6: Lewis Open Maiden
1: Crooked Smile 2: Jolt 3: Free From Magee
Winner owned & trained: Jimmy Tarry, ridden: Tom Ellis
This was a maiden that did not take much winning, and Crooked Smile was determined to ensure that she did not. Win it, that is. Having been prominently early on, she lost her place on the far side of the track for the first time and appeared to have a major sulk on. Had the opposition had a spark about them, she would have been quickly out of contention, but they oppo could not arrange that, and when Crooked Smile realised that was the situation, she cheered up a great deal and won with something in hand. Having had the traditional educational on debut, she had been hampered when unseating after that, and this was not unreasonable progress. Three of the runners had made it into double figures for appearances in vain, and Jolt fared best of those - this was his twelfth try, small beer compared to Free From Magee who was in race twenty. Finishing behind these two was not a good sign, but fourth placed Monsignor Fred showed promise. Due to a litany of problems - you name it, he has had it - he had not been subject to any serious training, and his fitness was not expected to last the race. However, his jumping was good and the proverbial wall was only hit at the third last. The favourite was Definitely It, who travelled with the grace and sweetness of a lame warthog. Newcomer Panicmadic was prominent in the betting due to the limitations that her rivals had already exposed, and hers proved to be jumping.

Race 7: Richardsons Chartered Accountants Members
1: Bon Accord 2: Long Courrier 3: Mr Naborro
Winner owned: IR Mann, trained: Alan Hill, ridden: James Tudor
A simple three runner race. Long Courrier was slowly away and let the other pair have a fight up front. Mr Naborro jumped well and secured a lead of a couple of lengths, until he was headed at the twelfth. From that point Bon Accord eased his way to a clear lead, and Mr Naborro found the effort taking it's toll and he was headed for second by Long Courrier. Other than Long Courrier's unusual technique of securing the best possible placing by getting initially as near to tailed off as possible, it was an uneventful sort of race.

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