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Farmers Bloodhounds
Sunday 26th April 2015
by Andrew Norman

Rookie owner/trainer/rider Aaron McGlinchey claimed his first ever winner as The Flying Column prevailed at the Farmers Bloodhounds Point-to-Point at Whitfield on Sunday.

Third at the track last month, the nine-year-old Irish Point winner stayed on powerfully in the Restricted to collar hot favourite Mr Jalfrazy in the dying strides.

Alvechurch-based McGlinchey, who had acquired the Dr Massini gelding from boss Ian Williams, said: "It's great for all the hard work to pay off. He finished strongly here last time and the cheek pieces helped him focus today. It was a competitive Restricted but we wanted good ground. I've been taking him through the woods and hopefully I can keep him sweet. "

Father and son team James and Freddie Henderson landed a double on their inaugural visit to the Northamptonshire track.

Dual chase victor Thanks For Coming returned to form in the PPORA Club Members Novice Riders race. The winner jumped the last alongside runner-up Coeur De Four but outstayed his rival by half a length, denying sixteen-year-old Noel George, son of National Hunt trainer Tom, a winning debut in the saddle.

Winning trainer Henderson said: "He's been very disappointing up until now and Nicky (Henderson, former trainer) has been telling me I can't train! He hasn't been finishing his races but maybe now he's got his head in front he'll enjoy it a bit more."

Oliver James completed the double after having too much class for his opponents in the Intermediate. A winner of five of his nine starts, the winner clocked the fastest time of the day despite pulling off both hind shoes and repelled progressive mare Dabinett Moon by two lengths.

Trainer Henderson, who saddled a second and a third at Garthorpe the previous day, said: "I felt we had two better chances yesterday so it's a bit of a surprise having a double! Dabinett Moon is a tough little mare so to beat her was very enjoyable. Oliver James is a big, stiff horse who isn't able to run very often but I'd like to go for a Maiden Hunter Chase."

Now stationed at Buscot Park near Faringdon after recently relocating from Lincolnshire, Henderson added: "We're still learning our new surroundings and getting to know the local courses but it's been a hugely enjoyable season."

The double means rider Freddie Henderson is now just one win behind Harry Cobden in the race for the Fuller's National Novice Riders Title, with the South Midlands Area Novice award all but secured.

After five placed efforts in British Points, Nightscape (Clare Wills) finally got off the mark in the AGA Open Maiden. A full brother to Perfectly Willing, the Laura Thomas-trained gelding led three out and drew comfortably clear of his nine pursuers.

Owner Steven Astaire, who picked the son of Luso out of the catalogue at Doncaster Sales last September, said: "I've had horses with Chris Loggin for thirty years but I thought I'd send one to Laura, after all she's a bit better looking that Chris! He was unlucky at the Oakley where he was mugged on the line. The opposition was weak today but he's a progressive little horse."

Winner trainer Thomas said of her seven-year-old: "They've done a great job with the watering today but he loves quick ground so he got away with it. We'll keep him going over the next few weeks."

Luso also sired the winner of the Hunt Members contest with Towering Run (Shane O'Keeffe) providing Natasha Rose with her initial training success.

The victor held off the challenge of veteran mare Ilongue, winner of this race in 2013, leading at the last before scoring by a length. Rose, who knew the horse from working for previous trainer Chris Loggin, purchased the nine-year-old for her father's first ownership from the aforementioned Steven Astaire.

Winner trainer Rose explained: "Dad (Trevor Rose) has always wanted an interest in a horse and as Steven was looking to sell him, I felt it was a good opportunity. He's a bit of a thinker but hopefully I can work on that. He needed the run and didn't really like the ground at Brafield. He's a top-of-the-ground horse so we'll keep him going."

The PPORA Club Members Conditions race also produced initial an ownership success as Bob, Carol and Alex's Hope's Paddycards (Sam Painting) made all before quickening clear.

The eleven-year-old winner produced an impeccable round of jumping in recording his first win in ten starts since completing a double for former handler Nick Pearce in 2013.

Winning trainer Sally Randell, soon to become a licensed trainer under National Hunt rules, said: "I ride him most days and I love him. I thought he wanted quick ground but he seemed to appreciate the give in the ground today. We've had lots of winners at Whitfield and I consider this to be one of my luckiest tracks!"

Jubilant winning owner Alex Hope added: "He's given us some great days out all season without winning. Sally told us he'd win next time after his fall at Andoversford and that's what he's done!"

Hunter Chase winner Well Mett scored for the first time between the flags in the Ladies Open. The eight-year-old, placed in last season's AGA Ladies Final, asserted three out under Phine Banks to record a facile success.

"He's an out-and-out stayer and so the track suited him," said trainer Christine Banks, mother of the winning rider.

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