AXE VALE HARRIERS
SUNDAY 28 APRIL 2002
by Fred Sampson
(of Equestrian Cornwall - http://www.equestriancornwall.co.uk)
There were nine races on the card for the afternoon and if
the weather stayed as it was on our arrival then all would have been well.
It didn’t! The
course was in fine fettle with my prediction of Good with Good to Soft
patches (I didn’t measure how long the patches were but probably a few
yards or metres or ‘ere to about there - will do!). The very heavy and frequent showers took the shine off the
racing and at this course with not very good viewing one got out and got
wet very quickly in an attempt to see the runners at the far end of the
course but it was impossible some of the time.
I was in the ‘borrowing position’ at the start so
prudence was the key word. Five
runners in ‘the Members’ and an obvious favourite in THINKING TWICE (M
Sweetland) one only had to pick the second horse which was a little
difficult with best turned out SHOTLEY AGAIN to be ridden by his
owner, Mr M Holmes and Mrs J McCullough & Mr J Salter’s GAMI (Miss A
Goschen) about even in the form book.
I fortunately went for the correct one and landed ‘the winner
without the favourite’ and also the forecast on the tote.
THINKING TWICE was a distance to the good of SHOTLEY AGAIN and GAMI
was back in third place. Miss
Goschen deserved a medal for the way she remained in the saddle when it
looked as though the deck was due to be bounced upon.
Now I am out of ‘borrowing position’ and looking forward
to a prosperous afternoon.
Twelve went to post in the confined and Mr Batterham’s
RESCATOR (K Rixon) went off favourite but several others were fancied as
well. I chose Mrs Bishop’s
SCARLET EMPEROR (Tigger Barnes) to take my money around safely (and
quickly!) but it was not to be. Mr
Sprake’s JACKSON HILL (A Charles-Jones) was never far away from the lead
throughout the race except on the way to the home straight; my horse
challenged JACKSON HILL and did get to lead at one stage but could not
stick the pace. The House Family’s MOORLAND HIGHFLYER (V Price) took up the
challenge but could not get to the leader either and at the last JACKSON
HILL was well clear with MOORLAND HIGHFLYER 25 lengths back in second
place and my involvement, SCARLET EMPEROR five lengths back in third
A quick count of all loose change in case I need it and off
to view the runners in the paddock for the mixed open.
Eight runners going to post and as usual the Shaw’s LANKRIDGE (N
Wilmington) looks a picture and was made odds-on favourite to win this
race. Mrs Tory’s WILLIE
MAKEIT (A Charles-Jones) also took some money and a few thought Mr
Foot’s FRANKLINS BEST (N Mitchell) was in with a chance and invested in
this gelding, which has reasonable form.
Before making the turn back to the starting area we lost THOMAS
CROWN who deposited Mrs Wilkinson not too gently on the grass.
It must be a very painful experience when someone else’s horse
bucks you off but when your own decides to do it – in public as well
– making a holster for the twelve bore might come to mind as ones next
project! On completing a
circuit it was WILLIE MAKEIT who had been in the van throughout, still
setting the pace with The May’s TICKERTY’S GIFT (A Goschen) joining up
and LANKRIDGE being handy with Mr Tizzard’s FORBIDDEN WATERS (D Edwards)
also close up. Four horses
almost in line disappeared behind the tents for the final time.
Going down the back straight it was SPRING MARATHON who took over
the lead with LANKRIDGE in second place and FRANKLINS BEST in third.
At the final obstacle it was FRANLINS BEST who led with LANKRIDGE
in second and WILLIE MAKEIT in third place and so it was to the line. A very good ride by Nick Mitchell to win by ten lengths and
there were four lengths between second and third.
I did not invest in that race because of the odds about LANKRIDGE
and now I am a very pleased non-punter.
The K J Pike & Sons Wincanton Racecourse West Country
Hunter Chase Series Intermediate Race saw eight go to post with the
favourite being Mrs Popham’s PORLOCK HILL (M Woodward) who carried my
investment and unfortunately did not live up to recent form and my returns
were nil. The followers of
the five to two horse came off best as The Bateman Family’s ROSS COTTAGE
(G Barfoot-Saunt) which was also the best turned out, came home by a
distance from Susie Woodhouse’s BEST BITTER (A Charles-Jones) who was
eight lengths to the good of Mrs Atyeo’s SUBA LIN (D Luff).
While I am at it, I agree with Susie that the toilet facilities
were completely inadequate for both sexes and too much time was spent
viewing little blue boxes whilst racing was on!
Mrs Hutchinson’s RIMPTON BOY (N Williams) is a very capable
horse but the odds of 4 to 6 ON are certainly not inviting, as the last
two runs by this horse have been disappointing.
For this running of The CA Novice Riders Race I will be punting on
a different horse and know he will be doing his best and probably come
home first out of the nine runners. (This
is what I always whisper to myself when things are getting a little
sticky!) On it all goes on a
horse that impressed me at Barbury Castle and at Badbury Rings.
A real tryer – Mrs H Goody’s FRANK BYRNE (S Hayes) at ten to
one. Mr E Evans & Mrs P
Wilkins JOLITAN was expected to do well as was Mr & Mrs Roger’s
NODDADANTE (Miss N Rogers) but I remained happy with my choice and took up
a position where I could shake with excitement or cry my eyes out with
grief preferably without being seen.
They’re Off!! Mr Rawlins’s GERRY’S PRIDE (Miss D Bashton) led for at
least the first circuit but then weakened.
NODDADANTE was in with a chance but blundered and unseated his
rider when three out. RIMPTON
BOY had caught up now and was definitely in with a chance.
GLADIATORIAL was one paced from two out and could not match the
others BUT – one FRANK BYRNE was doing the right thing. He led from two out and stayed on up the straight to win by
eight lengths from RIMPTON BOY with GLADIATORIAL a further 15 lengths back
in third place. It blew, it
rained, it blew again but what does it matter I am off to see my
‘financial advisor’ and ask for my money back plus BONUSES!
There were now two divisions of the restricted race and it
was rewarding again to see Tabitha Cave bring home SEA SPIRIT for Miss
Kelley; this is really making up for not getting the result at Umberleigh
two years ago and to beat Christian Williams on R Barber’s SPUDDLERS
DREAM is quite a feat, albeit by only half a length.
Mrs Dowson;s WILLIAM LIONHEART (G Galpin) took division two with
Lady Earle’s BREEZY BETSY (R Woollacott) chasing him home.
This little 6yo mare is really getting the hang of things and I
shall follow her all the way to Doncaster and hopefully beyond!!
The Ted Cuming Memorial Cup was awarded to Mrs Perry’s
NEARLY EASTER (J Snowden) for the fastest time of the two divisions of
maiden races and I was more than happy about that as for reasons not known
to me now, I invested quite heavily on this winner and with a price of
eight to one my B & B for next weekend, albeit three days, is now
covered and my porridge will go down rather sweetly knowing that a bookie
paid for it. The last
division was won by none other than Mr Snowden’s WITHYCOMBE who the form
guide pointed out would be best watched on this occasion. Not quite true!
He was the only horse out of the thirteen who agreed with his
jockey to jump the fences and run a little when there were no obstacles
about and to cross the line irrespective of whatever the others do!
Mr Snowden was seen to look over his shoulders and then it could be
heard that he was reciting that very old nursery rhyme – ALL FALL DOWN!
He went on to finish alone at a price of 20 to 1.
The tote paid out about 33 to 1 for a win.
I enquired as to what happens to the ‘Tote Forecast’ bets as
there was no forecast and no one had WITHYCOMBE down for a forecast!
Where did the money go? I
would like someone to tell me!
Long weekend next weekend, full of good P to P’ing but before we close may I and I’m sure, on behalf of all supporters, wish those that have come unstuck recently, get repaired as soon as possible as we miss you – Ashley, Ben, Polly and any others that might be a bit stiff at the moment – in their joints!! Flete Park/Holnicote, Barbury Castle and High Bickington here we come and see you all there. Fred & Ruth