by Colin Cross


The Hunt race was won by BRAVE ALERT owned and trained by Richard Mathias and ridden by Candy Thomas. They held off TREASURE AGAIN in a driving finish.

The Confined race once again showed that dreams can become reality as Glyn Slade-Jones recorded his first win in only his fifth ride when BOLD STATEMENT caught the well supported NOAFF and Tim Vaughan close home. Glyn, a butcher form Kington, has made his name as a successful jockey on the Welsh Trotting circuit and only started riding within the last year. He had 'celebrated' his 40th birthday the night before the race so victory was the icing on the cake!

BOLD STATEMENTíS trainer Steve Flook recorded a quick double when LARA'S GREY and Steve Hughes won the Land Rover Men's Open.

Course specialist RED NECK struck for home four fences out and opened up what appeared to be an unassailable advantage. However, LARA'S GREY was undaunted and gradually made inroads into RED NECK'S lead. They jumped the last fence in unison and Steve Hughes kept LARA'S GREY going really well to gain victory by half a length.  COTTIER CHIEF stayed on well to be third, beaten 10 lengths. This former high-class hurdler for Martin Pipe has posed problems for present owner Paul Riddick, but this was certainly an improved performance.

The dual Garnons Ladies Open winner UPTON ADVENTURE continued on her winning ways when comfortably taking the Ladies Open from BALTIC MAGIC and LADY CLIFFORD.  Emma James seemed unconcerned when BALTIC MAGIC opened up a three length advantage approaching the third last, a quick jump soon restored UPTON ADVENTURE'S lead and although BALTIC MAGIC and Emma Tamplin never gave in, they could not quite get back on terms.

The first division of the Restricted Open saw another first-time win, for Andrew Hanly aboard SPIRIT PRINCE.  Both SPIRIT PRINCE and particularly the runner up BILL HAZE  appeared more interested in the attractions of the horse boxes than racing and conceded considerable ground in doing so. BILL HAZE, who refused at the final fence at Didmarton when in the lead set out on the final circuit well over a fence behind. However, with Dai Jones showing his persuasive qualities the gelding ran on well to take second place without being able to get back in contention with SPIRIT PRINCE.  IT'S A HANDFULL finished third.

Last weeks Howick winner MENSCH followed up with victory in division 2 of the Restricted Open. William Oakes was content to keep him at the rear of the five-runner field before making rapid progress to take the lead four fences from home. From then the result was never in doubt although GYPSY HAZE and TALYGARN who filled the minor places kept on well.

The fastest of the Restricted races was the third division, won by CAPTAIN RON and Steve Lloyd. They caught long time leader THOMAS THE DOUBTER close home to win by a neck with LORD PHILIP third. CAPTAIN RON only failed by a head to win a division of the restricted open here last season, so perseverance paid off on this occasion.

CAMDEN CARAMEL was an easy winner of the Maiden, Division One. Once Marc Barber had allowed him to take the lead from GILLY WEET at the eleventh fence the result was never in doubt. GILLY WEET in turn was never troubled to collect second place with DERRING KISS a distance behind in third.

Division two was won by VALJEAN who completed a double for the Miles family and rider Andrew Hanly, after their success with SPIRIT PRINCE, SHERBET FIZZ  and Tim Vaughan the only dangers on the final circuit and although mounting a spirited challenge from the penultimate fence SHERBET FIZZ was unable to threaten VALJEAN'S superiority.

Winning rider 21 year old Andrew Hanly opened his account in his 12th ride on SPIRIT PRINCE and was justifiably delighted to double up on VALJEAN. He is currently attached to John Needhams yard at Ludlow and judging by his confidence in being prepared to make the pace on VALJEAN and his perseverance with SPIRIT PRINCE he may well be a rider to note.

This was a most enjoyable day's racing with the crowd enjoying several close finishes and two riders recording their first wins.

We should spare a thought however, for Patrick Crozier who made his riding debut aboard HIGHBRIDGE in the Confined race. They only got as far as the second fence before crashing out through a wing, Patrick was taken to hospital as a precautionary measure. Let's hope we will be able to record his first win in the near future.