by Arthur Shone

The Flint & Denbigh hunt meeting between the flags took place on a bitterly cold rain lashed Eaton Hall course last Saturday. Only 35 horses contested the 8 race card, and one of those the Ladies Open ended in a walk over. The weather was so bad that even many of the die hard supporters cried wolf after the third race, and also did the bookies, after the second race there was only 6 of left in attendance, it was noticeable that the ones that left were using computer bets, not tickets. Those that stayed did not have many punters, as the crowd was very sparse

One man not complaining was Nantwich based rider Gary Hanmer, who completed a double at the Cheshire course. Readers who took my advice that Lord Dixon from the Hanmer yard was a good thing for the first division of the Maiden, never had an anxious moment as he came home a very impressive winner by 12 lengths from the well-fancied The Ugly Gunner. Despite riding 7 winners this season, this was the first to be trained by Gary. Hamner achieved the double with Change Agent in the Restricted, who was also not extended winning easily by 8 lengths from Dunston Trigger. Charlie Keay under Hannah Kinsey stayed on well in third. The winner is trained in Wolverhampton by Paul Jones who has Hanmer as his first choice rider.

Alistair Crow got off the mark for the season in the Mens Open on the heavy ground specialist Weak Moment who wore down Ask Antony to win by a length and a half. The winner is trained at Hadnall by his mother Sheila; it must have been really desperate going for this one to win. The Confined race was a poor contest. It must have been for the 13 year old Barneys Gold to win by a length and a quarter from Carrie Ford on Fenloe Rambler. The winner is trained by Tim Garton, the area representative of the PPORA, the last time his horse visited the winners enclosure was in 1998.

Tarporley based Carrie Ford, one of the best lady riders in the country beat the well gambled on jolly Mr Moonbeam from Peter Morris’s Malpas yard, on Mandy Lakins Paul who won by 3 lengths going away at the end. The winner is owned and trained by the secretary of the Cheshire Hunt Mandy Lakin, who bought him at the Doncaster Sales to go hunting, but had a change of heart and decided to train the horse for pointing as well.

Pam Sykes and her jockey Richard Burton rerouted from the abandoned meeting at Chaddersley Corbett to Eaton Hall. The move paid off in the Intermediate race when the combination landed the spoils on Cascum Lad. Merry Christmas under Raymond Owen beat the only other finisher Orton House to win the Members by 5 lengths. The winner is owned by Julia Owen and trained by her husband Edward Hollister at Llanynog, Nr Denbigh. Richard for many years under rules, his best horse was Rupertino, who used to be owned by the late Lord Kenyon, the horse won 10 chases and 1 hurdle race.