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Sunday 18th February 2001
by Dom Bradshaw

After surviving an inspection, the Burton meeting at Market Rasen got underway half an hour later than scheduled, but after the fiasco with ambulances the previous day at Duncombe Park, we were just happy to be racing!

Secret Bay, who disappointed on the opening day at Cottenham got back to winning ways in the Mens Open, staying on strongly for Rowan Cope to score by six lengths from Matchless (Ed Andrewes) and Music Therapy (Nick Kent).
The winner looks to have lost a little speed but is still capable of picking up a few more races of this type before the end of the season.
Matchless, a winner of two hurdle races in 1999, showed improved form here (unseated his rider on his points debut), finishing strongly. He may be capable of taking an easy Confined.
Music Therapy, a half brother to Suny Bay, ran a blinder. This was his first run after a three-year layoff and he only ran out of steam after the second last after making most of the running. His jumping on the whole was fast and fluent and if reproducing this kind of form, he must take an Open.

The Ladies Open, or should I say the "white knuckle" race(!) went to Jill Dawson on Upham Lord who produced the goods after putting his rider on the deck in their two previous outings. Most of the runners made mistakes at some stage but the winner managed to stay upright on this occasion and came home well clear of Linlathen (Gemma Hutchinson) and Macfin (Louise Allan).
Linlathen ran in snatches and jumped sketchily on his first outing for his new yard and I wouldn’t want to take short odds about either of the first two home.
Macfin was never dangerous and would have more chance in a Restricted.
Racing Hawk (Jill Wormall) briefly flattered but went out tamely and looks a non-stayer.
Henry Heald (Fiona Needham) ran too freely and cried enough a long way from home. He could feature in this sort of race with a few runs under his belt.

Earlier, Sovereigns Match (Matthew Mackley) took full advantage after the second fence exit of the odds on favourite Eve’s Treasure (Steve Campion), coming home clear of the only other runner Trial and Error (Kevin Green).

The Robinson yard and Matthew Mackley completed a double when Fine Times took the Restricted from Gymcrak Gorjos (David Thomas) and Fortune Hunter (Matthew Barnard). There was a steward’s enquiry, as the first two got close on the final bend, but after deliberation, the stewards took no action.
Fine Times is an improving type, but will have to step up again for Confineds.
Gymcrak Gorjos saves his best for Market Rasen, but is capable of taking a race of this kind on a similar track.
This was the first completion of the season by third placed Fortune Hunter. He’s tough and likeable, but will have to find a weak Restricted if he’s to score.
CLB Jemilla was a never nearer fourth and can take a race of this kind on an easy course.
Nautical Lad (Joe Docker) was well fancied, but jumped his way out of it and can improve as the season goes.
Henna Dawn (Mark Nicholls) looked well in the paddock, but exited early. She’s worth noting when reappearing in a maiden.

There were four divisions of the Maiden. The first, and quickest, went to Polar Party (Richard Armson) who was never headed from flagfall. This was impressive and he can take a Restricted.
The fast finishing Kilbyrne John (Matthew Mackley) took second with the favourite Petrea (Guy Brewer) third. Both are capable of taking a Maiden, especially Petrea, who wasn’t given a hard time.

Intrepid Gal, who was going well when falling at Market Rasen last season, took the second division under a driving finish by Tim Lane to deny Imlak (Simon Walker) by half a length with Slodadam (Matthew Mackley) third.
Intrepid Gal’s dam, Padrigal, was fairly prolific and she may be able to emulate her and win her share in time.
The runner up was unlucky to come up against such as strong rider as Tim Lane in a finish and looks a ready-made maiden winner.
Slodadam is starting to get his act together after a slow start and can take a weak maiden.
Of the others, make a note of Just Hoping, who ran well for a long way before falling, Emperor’s Son, who was making steady headway when unseating Serena Brotherton and You Be King (reappearing after a year off) who was up with the pace until fading.

The 5yo Toy Story (Mark Nicholls) came through with a wet sail after making mistakes to take division three. He’d previously shown little on the flat and over hurdles, but has plenty of scope for further improvement.
The Burglar (Kevin Needham) was back in second. He looks a bit of a plodder and requires a stronger test of stamina.
Geomar (Annabelle Armitage) ran really well, as this was his first run in almost two years. He should take a maiden.
The heavily backed Brother Harry looked like making the first three until fading. Sadly, the horse appeared badly distressed after finishing and I fear the worst.
The favourite Morning Mover doesn’t appear to be a star of the Bailey stable and looks modest.

The final division provided a close finish between Mighty Rising (Mark Nicholls) and Stars (Richard Barrett), the latter getting the verdict by half a length. The winner has finally broken his maiden tag at 10yo, but will be hard pressed to follow up.
Mighty Rising has flattered to deceive in the past, but on his best form has a chance of taking a race of this kind on an easy course.
The ex NH Mullensgrove (Joe Docker) was a never dangerous third and looks as though he’d appreciate more of a test.
Fancy A Buck (Tim Lane) made a couple of mistakes and would have finished fourth or fifth if she had not been pulled up before the last. She should take a maiden.
Mademist Jaz (Stephen Swiers) was never put in the race and this appeared to be a schooling run. She should be noted.

The final race, the Confined, went to the well-fancied Silver Groom who came home readily under a smooth ride from Mark Nicholls (completing a double). He looks the type to step up, possibly to hunter chases and must be followed.
The rank outsider Deel Quay (Mark Chatterton) came out of the clouds to finish second. He needs a real test of stamina and connections could do worse than consider running him at one of the more testing tracks such as Eaton Hall or Flagg Moor.
The AW flat winner, Courage Under Fire (Matthew Mackley), ran really well until weakening into third. Although his stamina looks suspect, there might be a small race in him on an equally easy track.
Ardeal, who lost Ashley Bealby before the start, was a slightly disappointing fourth and should come on for the run.

An interesting footnote to the race was that bookie Dave Smith chalked up odds of 25/1 for the winner as his first show. His hand was apparently snatched off by two lucky punters (alas, not me!) who got the price of their lives on the 6/4-7/4 winner!

Meeting officials should be praised for the sensible rescheduling of races after the delayed start and for a PA system that could be clearly heard!

1. Sovereigns Match (Matthew Mackley)
2. Trial And Error
Eve's Treasure (fav) UR 2nd fence
3 ran

1. Polar Party (Richard Armson)
2. Kilbyrne John
3. Petrea
25l, hd 6m35s

1. Intrepid Gal (Tim Lane)
2. Imlak
3. Slobadam
1/2l, 5l 6m38s

1. Toy Story (Mark Nicholls)
2. The Burglar
3. Geomar
6m 48s

1. Stars (Richard Barrett)
2. Mighty Rising
3. Mullensgrove
1/2l, 7l 6m47s

1. Fine Times (Matthew Mackley)
2. Gymcrak Gorjos
3. Fortune Hunter
3l, 20l 6m42s

1. Secret Bay (Rowan Cope)
2. Matchless
3. Music Therapy
5l, 10l 6m42s

1. Upham Lord (Jill Dawson)
2. Linlathen
3. Macfin
Dist, 8l 6m41s

1. Silver Groom (Mark Nicholls)
2. Deel Quay
3. Courage Under Fire