by Lee Glanville

A bumper crowd turned out to watch 105 horses race at Stafford Cross, the rain, allied to two days' watering earlier in the week, leading to much better going than has been seen of late.

One trainer to take advantage was Richard Barber who trained the winners of four of the nine races starting with Caspers Case in the Intermediate, and following up with Mister Benjamin in the Novice Riders' race, Red Native in
the Restricted Division one and Magnemite in the second division of the maiden.

Caspers Case got the better of a protracted battle with Ken and John Heard's Bill Me Up (Colin Heard) who was just headed on the line in the fastest time of the day. It was the first leg of a double for Nick Williams. 

Williams' second winner was much easier work, Red Native coming home 15 lengths ahead of Emma Tory on Macaroni Beach. These two wins were split by a fifth victory in a row for Paul Nicholls' Mister Benjamin and rider Chloe Roddick. 

Although the weather defied the forecasters and was fine for most of the day, the fog came down after the sixth race and Magnemite's victory in the last took place in difficult viewing conditions. This race was marred the fatal last fence fall of Brian and Ann Watts' lovely young horse D'eja Vu who broke a shoulder.

Richard Woollacott recorded his first win after coming back from a breakfrom the sport on Western Fort in the Mixed Open.

There was a 19tth victory in the hunt race for point to point chairman and long time owner Martin Salter who was ill in hospital when his horse Gami won his maiden at Larkhill last season. Gami (Rilly Goschen) got the better of Shotley Again who was given a fine ride by Becky Holmes who was having her first ride. Becky, daughter of assistant clerk of the course Chris Holmes, beat her brother Michael home.

The card was delayed after the sixth race while the air ambulance arrived to take Fiona Vigars to hospital after she was knocked out after a fall from her horse King of Swing.

Results: Members: 1, Gami, Miss A Goschen; 2, Shotley Again, Miss R Holmes; 3, Go Boy, M Holmes. Four ran, 2l, dist 6.03.

Confined: 1, Gladiatorial, T Bishop; 2, Sea Spirit, Miss T Cave; 3, Spring Marathon, Miss E Tory. Nine ran, 8l, 10l, 5.36.

Mixed Open: 1, Western Fort, R Woollacott; 2, Just The Job Too, R McCarthy; 3, Franklins Best, N Mitchell. 12 ran, 8l, 1 1/2l, 5.54.

Intermediate: 1, Caspers Case, N Williams; 2, Bill Me Up. C Heard; 3, Dancing Fosenbury, Mr M Holdsworth.13 rn, 1/2l, 4l, 5.51.

Novice Riders Race: 1, Mister Benjamin, Miss C Roddick; 2, Noddante, Miss N Rogers; 3, Blackwater Brave, H Fry. 12 ran, 10l, 8l, 5.53.

Restricted Div One: 1, Red Native, N Williams; 2, Macaroni Beach, Miss E Tory; 3, Flora Macdonald, R Young. 12 ran, 15l, 4l, 5.58.

Restricted Div Two: 1, Keltic Lord, A Charles Jones; 2, Can't Be Scrabble, P York; 3, Frankly Fear, Mr J Young. 12 ran 10l, 1/2l, 5.53.

Maiden Div One: 1, Enoch, Miss E Tory; 2, Beau Supreme, L Jefford; 3, Glengarra, Miss T Cave.14 ran, 10l, 4l, 6.10.

Maiden Div Two: 1, Magnemite, J White; 2, Strand On The Green, J Snowden; 3, Ebony Jack, G Barfoot Saunt. 13 ran, 7l, 3l, 5.58.