by Arthur Shone

Yesterday’s Cheshire meeting between the flags at Alpraham took place in glorious sunshine and summer attire was very much in evidence at the Cheshire track. The weather helped to boost the attendance, which was estimated at around 12,000. Despite a massive crowd, the recent dry spell had a knock on effect with the runners, as the two-featured races on the card, the Mens’ Open and the Morgan Homes Confined resulted in a match and a walk over. 

This fixture by tradition has always been a happy hunting ground for the Barlow family and failure to ride a winner on their home course is regarded in many circles as being on par with an England Cricket victory. On the day, they actually achieved four wins between three members of the family. 

David Barlow set the ball rolling in the opening Members race with a bloodless 20-length victory over Jimmy Jumbo. Arthur Henry, the only other runner in the race, was a further 4 lengths back. The winner is trained at Hampton, nr Malpas by Fiona Midwood who was the winning the race for the second year running. 

Next to get on the score sheet was the younger of the Barlow brothers, Charlie, who landed a brace of winners. The first leg came aboard Lord Of The West in the Mens’ Open who made every yard to beat his only other opponent Chelsea King by a couple of lengths. The winner who is co-owned by the trainer Peter Morris and Stuart James, both from Malpas, will now have a crack at the Bangor Final next month. He completed the second leg in the Getting Out Stakes (2m4f Open Maiden) aboard another Peter Morris trained winner in the shape of Hill Of Kilfeacle who was the only horse to finish the course without falling. Mervinsintrouble, also trained by Morris, remounted under Gary Hanmer to finish second and Sabena Canyon also remounted to finish third. Just to complete a good day for the Barlows, Charlie’s wife, Mouse, got on the score sheet with Wandering Light in the Confined, albeit by a walk over for former Malpas trainer Richard Francis. 

Malpas trainer Peter Morris took centre stage yesterday with a treble at the course, his first ever as trainer, which also increased his tally to 4 for the season. The third leg came with Tribal Tract in the restricted who had to pull out all the stops under Simon Prior to hold the renewed challenge of Horton-Cum-Peel by a length and a half. Morris said afterwards, ”I bought him last July from Anne, Duchess of Westminster for one of my long standing owners Gwyn Evans from Overton who has had many winners with me. He idled a bit in front today. His next race will be a Maiden Hunter chase at Bangor next month.”

Hadnall trainer Sheila Crow was saddling her second winner in two days, following Coole Venture’s win at Bitterley the day before. Yesterday she was greeting Summer In The Sun into the winners enclosure after the Shadari gelding landed the spoils in the Open Maiden beating the long time leader cool Archie by a couple of lengths. The winner was the first ever in the saddle for rider George Wilson, who co owns the horse with Simon Haworth, a professional footballer with Tranmere Rovers.

Pennyahei won the Ladies Open with insulting ease under Sammy Beddoes by 15 lengths from Inter Rock. The winner, trained by Heidi Brookshaw, brought back memories for her mother Zena who won this race with the dam that she bred, Pennyazena in 1989. However, Heidi greeted her winner with mixed emotion as the same horse was responsible for breaking her collarbone the previous Friday.