This weekend the Derwent held their meeting at Charm Park near Wykeham and it the first of two meetings held at the track, the second been the Staintondale on the 6th April. The unseasonably mild weather resulted in some rather dry conditions which potentially put numerous runners off taking part, however despite some sparse fields it was doubles on the day for Joe Wright and Midlands based rider Philip Armson, the latter of which was making another successful raid on Yorkshire.
Joe Wright most certainly had the easiest pair of victories on the day and started in the opening Hunt Members race aboard the Guy Brewer trained Frangeliko who is owned and bred by local farmer Chris Beal. Despite there been only two runner Frangeliko tracked her only other rival Rockmount Rocker the whole way and pounced after the last to get up on the line and beat the Chris Pimlott trained rival. It was a "dream come true" for the winning connections who are based locally to the track and although there is not much depth to the form Frangeliko has been in good heart and on the upgrade for some time and will now have to contest Restricted company.
Joe's second win came with much greater ease as he steered the Joe O'Shea trained Mr Muldoon to a very cosy success, his only other rival was Crazy Croft who tried hard to chase the easy winner but could make little impact. Joe O'Shea was making the lengthy journey up from his Cheshire base up to Yorkshire with this son of Rajj who had finished fourth on his only completion in Ireland, it's hard to take much from the race but he made a good impression and connections think highly of this winner and it may be worth noting him when he takes on better company.
The Restricted race saw Phil Armson get up in a tight finish aboard Sommervieu, trained by Simon Robinson. Already a winner in Yorkshire this Midlands raider scored in the maiden at Sinnington and got up in a fight to justify his very short odds and the John Dawson trained/ridden Monsun Storm. The winner contested a grade 2 hurdle when gracing English soil and earned a mark in the 120's so is expected to take his step up in grade accordingly, Lottie Crane completed back in fourth aboard her own Captain Bizzaro but was well held.
The final race came as a bit of a surprise to Phil Armson who completed his double in division two of the Open Maiden aboard the Richard Armson owned and trained Alburn who was winning at the tenth attempt at the age of 9. Alburn a son of Alfora showed his first spark of ability last time at Brocklesby when finishing second "it took me six goes before I got him round" said rider Phil who admitted that he had not been easy to train "he was keen and wouldn't settle, the hood has helped and he's had his wind done". Alburn was only a narrow winner over Haafajay who was running on after the last under Jack Jordan and should find a race soon, whilst One For Silky was back in third.
Another Midlands winner came in the Mixed Open courtesy of the consistent Petrou under Will Thirlby for trainer Kirsty Smith, the pair cruised up to leader Monsieur Jourdain and quickly went clear on the approach towards the last and won well, Petrou's consistency was rewarded here after a string of seconds to some decent performers "the trainers done a great job with him...we'll probably freshen him up now and look for a 2 1/2 mile hunter chase" enthused Will, who admitted the three hour journey to Wykeham was for the search of better ground. Carlos Gardel was well back in third under John Dawson.
There was a controversial finish in the 2m 5f race when the winner Royal Chant; trained by Cherry Coward and ridden by John Dawson, hung in to the runner up Shantou Prince, however after an enquiry the placings remained unaltered. The winner never looked under any pressure and John Dawson cruised to the lead over the last and was pushed out under hands and heels and beat the Christy Furness ridden Shantou Prince, Badbad Leroy Brown led for most of the race but was outpaced in the finish to come a close third. The winner recorded a brace of wins last season and is on the improve and could be one to keep on the right side of "he stays all day and he has loads of gears" enthused the trainers daughter Jacqueline.
The conditions race for 10yo's and over went to veteran King's Lodge and Will Easterby who as usual employed their trail blazing tactics and stuck on gamely and win with Harris and Holly Thompson in second whilst Tom Horn who was prominent for most of the way kept on for third under Cara Richardson, both of the latter jockeys are in their first seasons and should be getting off the mark in due course. King's Lodge was winning his fourth race between the flags at the age of 13 and there doesn't look to be any signs of him relenting anytime soon.