by Dom Bradshaw

The 2002 season kicked off at Cottenham on Sunday, but not before passing two inspections the day before. On the day itself, visibility throughout was poor due to heavy fog with only the first three fences able to be viewed for the majority of the races.

The first race of the season, the Club Members race was taken by a Yorkshire horse, the Peter Maddison trained Minden Rose.  Clive Mulhall sent the 9-year-old daughter of Lord Bud to the front from the off and that’s where she stayed, coming home three lengths clear of the ex-Henrietta Knight trained Wade Road with last years winner, Fair Exchange, back in third. This was an impressive performance by the winner and she must be followed wherever she goes, which is likely to be Novice Hunter Chases.
The runner up stayed on well without ever looking like catching the winner and should be winning if tried over an easy three miles. Fair Exchange will come on for the run.

The Restricted went North yet again, but this time to Scotland with the Phillipa Shirley-Beavan trained Running Mute (Luke Morgan) an impressive winner from the Gill Walford trained Clashbridane (Mark Walford) with I’m Dreaming (Andy Martin) back in third. Running Mute appeared to do this very nicely and should be watched closely as he progresses through the ranks. The runner up and the third should both be capable of taking a small race.
Make a note of Pagermar (Richard Burton), as he wasn’t far behind in fourth place.

The Mens Open had a disappointing turn out with only five runners. Of those five, three were 12-year-olds and the other two were 13-year-olds, which made this more like a veterans race!
The local horse, Hatcham Boy (Christian Ward-Thomas) was made favourite, but had to be content with second place as Mister Spectator (Stuart Morris) jumped and galloped his rivals silly coming home a distance clear. This was an impressive performance by the winner and doesn’t look like he’s finished winning yet, despite his advancing years.
Hatcham Boy could never get into the race and was doing his best work at the end. He appears to need more of a test of stamina than this. Makin’ Doo (Clive Mulhall) looked slightly burly in the paddock and should improve for the run.

The Intermediate also had a poor turn out with only five turning up for the second race in a row. Richard Burton took this on the 11-year-old Jorodec who stayed on stoutly after the last to deny Claywalls (Charlie Shirley-Beavan) with Oxendale (Philip Bull) three lengths further back in third.
The form of the race looks decidedly average and the winner will have to improve again if he is going to progress further. Young Charlie Shirley-Beavan should be well pleased with himself as he gave his horse every chance approaching the last and was beaten by a more experienced jockey. He and Claywalls should have every chance in their Members race if they choose to go down that path.
The third looks a moderate sort as does the fourth, the well backed Triple Eaves (Clive Mulhall) who seems to be inconsistent.

The Ladies Open provided another winner for the Northern area, with the prize going this time to Billie Thompson’s Heart Of Avondale (Carrie Ford). Formerly a useful hurdler with Nicky Henderson, the 9-year-old Broken Hearted mare appeared to trounce her field here and looks the type to run up a sequence in Ladies races, just as stable mate Balisteros did two season’s ago.
The runner up, China Lal (Gemma Swindells) ran the race of her life, even though she came home a long looking distance behind the winner with Borrow Mine  (Lisa Marriott) ½ length back in third and both riders should have a lot of fun with their respective mounts this season.

Greenwich (Robert Biddlecombe), who was placed in Hunter Chases last season, simply outclassed his rivals in the 8-year-old & over Maiden coming home a good distance clear of the rest. The winner has been called a number of rude names in the past, but there is no doubting that he has ability. The Marilyn Scudamore yard appear to have finally found the key to him and he should be able to take a Restricted at least.
Crackrattle (Tim Lane), a half brother to the useful Kingsmark, was back in second with Final Escapade (Charlie Wadland) a further twenty lengths behind in third. The runner up, who is now in the care of Ben & Ninga Pollock, finished nicely clear of the remainder and should have a chance in other Maidens. The third showed his first sign of ability and may have a squeak in a little race.

The first division of the 5, 6 & 7-year-old Maiden over 2miles 4furlongs went to Themanfromcarlisle (Polly Gundry), a debutante from the Goess-Saurau yard. He came home the proverbial “country mile” clear of the only other finisher, Crown Rule (Harry Fowler). The winner is a 6-year-old son of Jupiter Island and if the way he galloped and jumped here is anything to go by, he is a real star of the future. Put him into your notebooks now!

A double for the Marilyn Scudamore\Robert Biddlecombe partnership was completed in the final race, division two of the above, with Zaffaran Winds scoring nicely from the fast finishing Harry’s Mare (Polly Gundry) and Lovelock (Neil King). The winner has been disappointing under rules but this looked like more his level. Like stable mate Greenwich, he should have little trouble collecting a Restricted. The second and third both ran creditably and should be good enough to take a Maiden before the end of the season.

It’s disappointing that so few East Anglian trainers didn’t support the meeting with only fifteen out of the total number of seventy three runners actually coming from the East Anglian region. When a course can offer good jumping ground, as Cottenham did on Sunday, it does seem a pity that more local people can't support them.

However, despite the fog it was wonderful to be racing once again and Michael Gingell and staff should be praised for getting the fixture at all after the big freeze than we’d all encountered over the previous weeks.


Club Members
1. Minden Rose (Clive Mulhall)
2. Wade Road (Mark Rimell)
3. Fair Exchange (Paul Taiano)
Winner owned by Peter Maddison (Middleton)
Dist: 3l, 5l
Time: 6m 46s
9 Ran

1. Running Mute (Luke Morgan)
2. Clashbridane (Mark Walford)
3. I'm Dreaming (Andy Martin)
Winner owned by J.E.M. Vestey (Jedforest)
Dist: 10l, 2l
Time: 6m 28s
11 Ran

Mens Open
1. Mister Spectator (Stuart Morris)
2. Hatcham Boy (Christian Ward-Thomas)
3. Makin' Doo (Clive Mulhall)
Winner owned by P. Hughes (East Sussex & romney Marsh)
Dist: Distance, 4l
Time: 6m 27s
5 Ran

1. Jorodec (Richard Burton)
2. Claywalls (Charlie Shirley-Beavan)
3. Oxendale (Philip Bull)
Winner owned by D.E. Edwards & Mrs P.G.D. Sykes (South Shropshire)
Dist: 2l, 3l
Time: 6m 37s
5 Ran

Ladies Open
1. Heart Of Avondale (Carrie Ford)
2. China Lal (Gemma Swindells)
3. Borrow Mine (Lisa Marriott)
Winner owned by Billie Thompson (Berwickshire)
Dist: Distance, ½l
Time: 6m 26s
10 Ran

Maiden (8yo and over - 3m)
1. Greenwich (Robert Biddlecombe)
2. Crackrattle (Tim Lane)
3. Final Escapade (Charlie Wadland)
Winner owned by Mrs J.K. Powell & Mrs Marilyn Scudamore (Cotswold)
Dist: Distance, 20l
Time: 6m 26s
16 Ran

Maiden (5, 6 & 7yo - 2m4f - Division One)
1. Themanfromcarlisle (Polly Gundry)
2. Crown Rule (Harry Fowler)
Only two finished
Winner owned by Count K. Goess-Saurau
Dist: Distance
Time: 5m 7s
8 Ran

Maiden (5, 6 & 7yo - 2m4f - Division Two)
1. Zaffaran Winds (Robert Biddlecombe)
2. Harry's Mare (Polly Gundry)
3. Lovelock (Neil King)
Winner owned by Mrs Marilyn Scudamore (Cotswold)
Dist: 10l, 1½l
Time: 5m 2s
9 Ran