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Sunday 22nd January 2006

by Geoff Handley

A cold morning with temperatures hovering around freezing at this pleasant North Oxfordshire venue, the fog was swirling around the picturesque villages of Heythrop and Dunthrop on the drive to the course and it looked like racing may be delayed just like the previous year, however just half an hour before racing started the sun managed to break through with the fog rapidly clearing for what turned out to be a delightful day attracting a decent crowd .Having just left Cape Town the previous day with temperatures at 34C, it was a bit of a shock to the system but an entertaining days racing soon alleviated any holiday blues.

The going was good to soft

1. Members
The Members was dominated by the odds on favourite Moscow Court who took it up from Tom Putt at the 10th, he was two lengths clear at the last and jockey Ian Howe looked in command when Tom Putt came to grief ( remounted to be third) This eight year old gelding could turn out to be a useful purchase for Celia Plunkett, bought at the Doncaster May sales for 16,000 gns, Moscow Court was held in high esteem by connections in Ireland having won twice over hurdles at Cork and Thurles, rather disappointed over fences including his last effort when a well backed beaten favourite at Fairyhouse. On his Pointing debut at Cottenham on the opening day of the season he finished second to Full Minty in the Mens Open, he can win again. There was further grief at the final fence when Brazil (ex Tom George) who had put in some splendid jumps came down when getting rather tired; this left Eastern Apple to finish a rather fortunate runner up

1. Moscow Court 2/5 Fav: I Howe: 2 handlers, led from 10th, 2l in ld when left clear last 2. Eastern Apple 7/1: Miss C.Hart: always mid div, left poor 2nd last 3. Tom Putt : 12/1(opened 10's),led to 10th,2l down when fell last, remounted F Brazil : T.Edwards: 25/1(opened 12's) held up, good jumps 3,4 & 10, 3rd but tired when fell last, winded, quite promising pointing debut P Golders Green: A. Martin 7/2 : 2 handlers,swntg freely, jumped scrappily throughout,pu 2 out P Colombe D'or : J.Benfield: 20/1 (opened 6's) detached 5th,jumped deliberately and pu 2nd circuit P Tappingthecoffin: J.Trice Rolph:16/1:lost touch from 12th,pu 14th

7 Ran Dist Dist 7.09

2. Confined
The underfoot conditions suited the out and out stayer My Best Buddy who made it four career wins in the Confined, he always in the firing line along with Rockcliffe Gossip and Which Pocket, but Rowan Cope took up the running from the fourteenth and merely had to push out the well backed favourite and to provide another winner from the powerful yard of Caroline Bailey. The market rival veteran Rathbawn Prince was held up throughout the race in rear and was making eye-catching progress when crashing through the wing out, this fourteen old is now in the veteran stage but this ex Henrietta Knight gelding winner of last years Connaught Cup at Wincanton can win again.

1. My Best Buddy : R.Cope:/1 Fav( touched 5/2) : : 2 handlers, always with leaders, took it up 14th,pushed out, quite impressive, 2. Rockcliffe Gossip :Mrs G Biddlecombe:20/1 (touched 12's) led to 14th,pushed along 3 out, kept on one pace 3. Which Pocket: 5/2: P.Cowley, mostly 3rd throughout race, ran on one pace 4. Finder Keeps:J.Jarrett: 10/1,always mid div 5.Love At Dawn : R.Mason 5/1: reminder 3rd,behind until late hdwy,needs stamina test, F Rathbawn Prince : N.Byrne: 5/2: held up in rear, stdy hdwy when crashed through wing 2 out, ( would prob not have troubled winner) P Goldbricker: I Howe:25/1 : lost touch 6th, pu P Astley Gold::H Kinchen:12/1 (opened 8's) good jump 5th,with ldrs till ridden 4 out & wknd,pu 3 out

8 ran: 20l 1l 7.07

3. Ladies Open
Ollie Bush made the long journey worthwhile from her Cullompton yard with a second successive win for Mrs Be with Polly Gundry on board, tracking the early leader Coral Island, the long odds on shot won easily, another out and out stayer who enjoyed the conditions this ten year old mare winner of last years Champion Hunters Chase at Stratford can win a decent race given a test of stamina.

1. Mrs B: P.Gundry: 1/2 Fav: always with ldrs, pushed out 2. Coral Island: R.Green: 10/1: set good pace, no chance with winner 3. Bally Blue: T.Cave: 6/1: good jump 6th, one pace 4. Jarode:H.Lewis:7/1:hdwy 14th,one pace 5.Mustang Mollie:16/1 :R Thompson,mid div,mstke 10th no chance after F A Few Bob Back :C.Ewart:10/1, mid div,4th when fell last P Caldamus:A.Goschen: 8/1:mstke 3rd,pu 4 out P Haut Cercy:J.Williams:5/1 pu 4 out P Stand Easy: S.Cook: 20/1:2 handlers, with ldrs till wknd and pu 4 out

9 Ran 6l 8l 8.12

4. Mens Open for The Lord Ashton Of Hyde Cup
A dramatic finish for the 4m Classic involving the two main market rivals County Derry and Swincombe with victory going to County Derry to record his sixteenth career win for Somerset trainer Jeremy Scott. A runner in the last four Foxhunter's including finishing third behind Earthmover in the 2004 running, jockey Neil Harris had to pull out all the stops under a determined ride to get up on the line to beat Sussex raider Swincombe, who looked all over the winner, travelling well throughout, he jumped the last two lengths in front and increasing his lead on the run in but virtually stopped to nothing near the line to allow the fav to get up,Swincombe would no doubt have traded at 1.01 on the exchanges under rules and many of the race goers couldn't believe how he had got beat.

1. County Derry : N Harris: 11/10 Fav : slow jump 8th, not fluent 11th, closed on front two from 14th, 2l down at last, got up on line under determined driving 2. Swincombe: A.Hickman: 6/4: ww, travelled well throughout, took up running 3 out, still 3l clear on run in when wknd near line, caught post 3.Wings Of Hope: D Jones: 6/1 never near P Fontaine Again: J.Pritchard: 8/1: ridden 15th, pu 16th P Mazamet: D.Baxter: 40/1: behind from 10th, to when pu 11th P Young Cuthbert: J.Handley: 33/1, jmpd left, wknd 15th. pu 16th

6 Ran, Neck, Dist, 8.40

5. Intermediate
Twelve runners went to post for the Intermediate with the Ben Tulloch trained Itzacliche coming out on top, patiently ridden by Peter Mason held up in rear he made smooth headway three out to take up the running, taken to the post slowly, this six year old gelding certainly has scope, winner of a Kingston maiden, he can win again for the Barbury Castle trainer. Runner up was Lord Kilpatrick who was always up with the pace, the first fav to be beat on the day was Kingfisher Niamh for Paul Cowley, upsides the winner when a mistake at the 14th didn’t help, this ex Irish pointer will have no difficulty winning his intermediate, Raka King also ran a promising race in fourth.

1.Itzacliche: P Mason: 3/1: held up,hdwy 3 out, ran on well 2.Lord Kilpatrick: T Edwards: 5/1:always up with ldrs,one pace 3.Kingfisher Niamh,: P.Cowley: 9/4 Fav: held up,mstke 14th, one pace, should improve, 4. Raka King:F De Giles: 5/1: good late hdwy, ro closing stages 5.Penlet Two:B.Denvir:16/1;with ldrs till grad wknd 6.Jolly Jake: E Walker:12/1 : always mid div 7. Scallyweld: M Wall: 7/2 (opened 5's) not fluent 11th, grad lost touch 8.Midnight Arrival: I Howe: 20/1: always in rear 9. Take The Odds: D Turner:12/1:grad wknd P Kingscourt Lad:T Stephenson: 6/1:mstke 9th,wknd and pu 13th P Montys Tan:J.Mahot:10/1 pu 10th P River Ground; Miss I Thompson: 16/1: 2 handlers, set pace till wknd 13th, pu

6. Open Maiden (Div 1)
Seventeen of the twenty two entries were declared in the opening division, it could turn out to be a race that could throw up several winners, the race was won by the fav Egypt Prince with Rilly Goschen on board, this lightly raced type only ran once last season when beaten in a photograph at Upton On Severn, but today got the photo in his favour when just holding off a determined finish from Felix De Giles on Bydemill Boy, despite having failed to finish in all five of his runs last season he was noted in running as one to watch at Mollington, a highly promising seasonal run, hopefully he can go one better next time.

Others to note include Brown Flyer and Cullen Road who travelled strongly and jumping really well on his Pointing debut at one stage pulling out the hands of Mark Wall.

1. Egypt Run: Miss A Goshen: 2/1 Fav: mske 1sy, steady hdwy 2 nd circuit, ro strongly 2. Bydemill Boy: F De Giles: 16/1, good hdwy, ro well, promising seasonal run 3.Brown Flyer: N.Oliver:6/1. good hdwy 3 out, ro one pace 4. Alston House: G Disney: 16/1, with ldrs till grad wknd 5. Cullen Road: M Wall; 5/1 (Opened 3/1) held up, good jump 8th & 10th, quite promising pointing debut 6. Which Moscow: 10/1; J Pritchard: always mid div 7. Sadlers Rock: J Sole: 20/1: 4th first circuit, moved to second before wkng 2 out 8.Malt Max G.Hamner: 8/1: mid div till late hdwy 2nd circuit, grad wknd U Little Apple Bay: S Gaisford: 8/1.taken down early, always up with ldrs,wknd when ur 2 nd circuit U On Ya Go: J.Goss: 14/1 6th 2 circuit when blnd and ur P Cho Polu: Miss I Tompsett: 7/1 (opened 4's) always rear,pu P Dream On Then: J Newbold: 7/1 pulled up 4 out P Suntos: D Turner: 33/1 mstke 8th, lost place and grad wknd, pu 6 out P Teeton Cavalier: J Burley:12/1,mstke 4th,not jumped well, pu 16th P The Good Faerie: P.Cowley: 12/1 touched 20's.held up always in rear, pu P Treacy's Dot Com;C Wadland: 6/1, mid div,grad lost touch from 9th,pu P Well Said Sam:J Handley: 10/1 pu 4 out

17 Ran, sh hd, 4l 7.17

7. Open Maiden (Div 2)
An impressive victory for Who Else Knew, this rangy good looking gelding imposed himself in the paddock, looking fit; he was always in command with Jamie Snowden on board. To win in a time two seconds faster than the opening division, although the last fence was omitted he was always in control on the long run in up the hill. Runner up in all four maidens last season the form of those races is working out well and the John Dufosee trained six year old can go on to score in an Intermediate. Credit must go to runner up Sigma Three Gee who following his promising debut run at Tweseldown and must surely win his next maiden.

1. Who Else Knew: J Snowden: 1/2 Fav, lw, always up with ldrs, pushed out, can win again 2. Sigma Three Gee: J Newbould, 5/1,mstke 7th, reminder 16th, ro well 3.Outlaw Express: J.Horton; 8/1, always same position 4. Butchers Bays: S Hanson; 25/1, Detached 8th, hdwy second circuit 5. Kinda Crazy: F De Giles; 10/1, mod hdwy 2nd circuit 6.Dun Aengus: M Wall, 33/1, always mid div 7. Wellfield Lad: I.Wills, 33/1 detached but some progress 8. Juicy Lucy: Miss A Goschen: 10/1, always in rear P Charly Bomber; C Holman: 20/1, remote by 12th, pu 4 out P Court Napping, H Kinchin, with ldrs first circuit, dropped out tamely 12th, pu 4 out P Doneraile's Choice: R Bandey 20/1, pu 4 out P Letsgeton: P Cowley, 10/1, behind when pu 6th U Madame Bavarde, Miss E Harbour, mid div when fell 9th, ( last fence missed rider injured) P Master Jubb A Phillips, 6/1. rear to 13th, pu 3 out P Blade Of Luck: R Cope, 8/1wknd 12th. pu

15 Ran, 1L 4L, 7.15

8. Open Maiden 2m 4f (Div 1)
It was a case of two greys battling out the finish with newcomer Touch of Velvet just getting up by a neck for local Banbury trainer Julie Marles and Mark Wall to beat the odds on fav Silver Ghost who will surely win his maiden. Newcomers Breeze To The Top and the well fancied Catzybaby were never sighted before pulling up; Mr Mogul went out like a light after setting the early pace.

9. Open Maiden 2m 4f (Div 2)
A long afternoon was drawn to a close with a well deserved victory for Nailed On who was having his third run already this season for local trainer Andy Martin, Runner up was Cappacurry and the third place went to Charlie Chapel. The fav was the newcomer Red Karinga from Ben Tulloch's yard, either she has been showing something at home or maybe it was based on the fact that the yard had already had a winner on the card but the mare showed nothing at all and will have to improve to win her maiden.

A splendid days racing with the added bonus of only having to pay £10 for a single occupancy of a car (it was £15 last year) and other hunts should take note of this, well done to the Heythrop for a well organized meeting.

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