by Mal Davies

It was a treble for Richard Burton and double for Emma James at Brampton Bryan on Saturday. Burton stoked his challenge for the National Men’s title with the first two winners on the card aboard JORODEC in a strong looking confined and LOCHNOMORE, back to form in the Men’s Open. Pam Sykes’s Jorodec breezed home in front of Lara’s Grey and Gold N Shroud, who appreciated the firmer ground and surely win again soon at this level.

Lochnomore who has been bitterly disappointing this season, was another to finally get his ground, and came home a tidy seven lengths in front of Roll With It. The winner was dismounted by Richard Burton after the line and was blowing really hard. If he gets over this, he should be worth following in Opens and under Rules on good to GTF ground. Jalcanto ran well for along way and came a fair third, six lengths behind the runner up.

Burton was aboard the hot favourite in the Intermediate, Asthefellasays, but he had no answer to an inspired performance by Emma James on UPTON ADVENTURE, the mare taking her seventh win from eighteen races by six lengths, with Wild Edric back one and a half lengths in third. This was a fairly hot race of its class in the Welsh Border region, and all three placed horses look booked for further success. Coddington Girl was going well (would not have won mind) when falling two out and should be noted in lesser company.

Candidate for the worst race of this, or several seasons was the open maiden. The writing was on the wall when one of the handlers left the parade ring on a stretcher, presumably in need of dentures, and the Richard Burton ridden favourite One Day (half brother to Lochnomore) also misbehaved badly. Frankly, the paddock at Brampton is far too small for 17 maidens, and it showed). In the end, Burton was content to give his horse a school in rear (jockey seen stroking horse’s ears past winning post first time round whilst 50 lengths off lead, so ‘school’ may be a fair comment here). The jumping of most of them was appalling, and commentator Martin Harris had much fun describing the ensuing chaos. Eventually, about 5 of the 17 starters came round the home bend, with second favourite Wave Back and Robert Langley about 15 lengths clear. I’ll try to get Martin Harris’s commentary about as verbatim as I can……..
“…..and its Wave Back well in command, jockey looks round…….you don’t need to look around, you don’t, you’re well clear…….still looking round as he comes to jump the last…….oh he’s gone…….told you……and its Belle Moss who just has to jump this and she does, well clear……boy that was fun!”

Fair play to BELLE MOSS, she did look like the winner when making an appalling blunder 4 out, but take a look at the horses who ran in this, apart from her and resolve never to back any of them. Ever.

Emma James got her double on STRETCHING who is in fine form, in the Ladies Open. The even money favourite was too strong on the run in for Hag’s Way, who ran well on unsuitable ground. Favourite Bagalino was disappointing, and was pulled up; he didn’t seem to relish to bouncy ground either. This particular website’s favourite rider Sophie Talbot took a purler of a fall on Geisway when beaten two out, but both horse and rider seem to have emerged unscathed.

Damien Duggan deserves several plaudits for his enterprising ride on EVIEIE’S BOY in the Restricted, with a pillar to post win at rewarding odds. Following a double disqualification of the placed horses, only the frustrating Teal Bay finished otherwise.

David Barlow notched a useful win on Ian Anderson’s HOLDING THE FORT in the first division of the older horse maiden, with Adam Wadlow on Goldstone second, and Ali Beedles on Blacon Point third.

Richard Burton made it three in the day’s last race with victory on another Pam Sykes horse, OH SO DROLL part owned by father Rob. The winner came home in front of Embargo and Persona Pride.

As usual the setting at Brampton was as bucolic as it gets; however, black mark for the PA announcements. There were two stewards’ enquiries, an air ambulance arrived, one of the maidens was delayed, and at no point was the large crowd kept informed. There were lots of entreaties to join the Countryside Alliance, which is all fine and dandy, but the punters were really left in the dark too often, and as mentioned above, there needs to be either a reduction in the safety factor for maidens to about 14, or the paddock needs to be made larger.

These few gripes aside, a good day, and a first for me- and I have never got sun burnt in March in the UK ever before!