South Shropshire

Monday 1st May 2000
by Mal Davies

A Sheila Crow double, and two for Richard Burton were the highlights of the South Shropshire Hunt meeting on a sunny May Day Monday at Eyton. The going was a little worse than Easter Monday, one fence was removed altogether and the start brought forward several hundred yards. As last week, the worst of the going was on the turn from the cross fence into the penultimate straight.

The Hunt race saw four turn out, and Alistair Beedles1-3 favourite Nothing Ventured (which the Racing Post had not deigned worthy of a mention in the entries list) obliged by an easy six lengths. Arthur Henry had challenged but was a beaten horse when he unshipped Jon Cornes at the last.

Richard Burton popped in on his way to ride Grimley Gale at Ludlow (waste of time in the end as the mare was a non-runner) and stayed long enough to post a rapid double on Dunethna in the first maiden, and Smile Pleeze. The Pam Sykes trained gelding Dunethna was too strong for Rupert Inglesant’s mare Kota Tinggi and posted a four-length win. Brendan Foster, booked to stand in for the injured Alistair Crow on a number of rides was himself injured when favourite Fruit Crop fell and missed the rest of the meeting. The race time was slow and the form may not stand up in future races.

Burton’s second winner was in the Mens’ Open which, though better quality than last week’s, but was still a long way short of top class. Smile Pleeze had the measure of last week’s victor Murphy’s Way and won by twelve lengths. Only these two of the six who faced the starter actually finished.

The Ladies Open was almost an exact re-run of the Easter Monday race, but this time placings were reversed as Sam Beddoes galvanised Andrew Dalton’s Sun Surfer for a deserved and overdue victory from Seymours Double under Tessa Clark. The winning margin, which was a half-length last week, was a length the other way this week.

Sheila Crow’s very smart Glacial Trial was sent off as long as 4-1 (5-1 on the Tote) in the Confined, presumably on account of some sketchy jumping performances earlier this season.

Beforehand she clearly looked the class act in the race, having been ante-post favourite for the North Western Area Champion horse before the season started (such luminaries as Whatafellow, Lord Harry and Solba having been quoted at longer odds), and reunited with Mike Worthington who scored with her last season, she jumped well and cruised to a five length victory from Gary Hanmer’s favourite Paddy For Paddy. Hopefully the mare will continue to progress from this race, as she has an abundance of talent.

The Restricted race looked a very difficult one to solve but it was Hanmer on Achill Sound who took a four-length verdict from Cookie Boy. Favourite Lady Dot from the Crow stable slipped up four out.

Unusually, the best was saved for last. Sheila Crow introduced a pair of excellent young maiden prospects at Eyton last week in Fast Lane and Sam’s Day and in the concluding maiden she made it three with the very impressive Acton Bank. The six year old Teenoso gelding, ridden by Jo Downes galloped and jumped his rivals silly, in the fastest time of the day, which as this was a maiden race, more than underlines what a cracking prospect this one is. For the record, a distance second came See More Action and Lee Stevens.