by Arthur Shone

The penultimate meeting of the season in the North Western Area was the  North Shropshire Hunt meeting between the flags at Eyton on Severn yesterday. The crowd was slightly down on the corresponding fixture last year and those who stayed away missed a cracking afternoons racing which took place mainly in glorious sunshine. There were plenty of runners at the course which was down to the fact that the clerk of the course John Beddoes and his team produced perfect going at the Shropshire track. I walked the course before hand and it was really good racing ground, a credit to Beddoes and his staff.

Shrewsbury rider Richard Burton has one hand on the National Riders Championship after completing a double at Eyton to put him on the 31 winner mark. He also became the first ever rider to win the area gentleman riders championship amassing 100pts and there is still one meeting left. The first leg came aboard Involved in the Confined, who won with insulting ease by 25 lengths from Lifebuoy. The winner is another inmate from the Hadnall yard of Sheila Crow for owner Richard French from Eccleshall. The Macmillion gelding has now won 5 races on the trot and as a result it is good enough to win the award for the champion horse in the area. Sheila Crow is not going for the John Corbett at Stratford with Involved as most people thought, she said, ”He is now finished for the season and will be roughed off. After all, he is only a young horse and myself and Edward (Crow) feel he has a tremendous future. He is a very serious horse and I see him as a Cheltenham (Foxhunters) horse next year…he’s very good.”

Burton completed the double aboard Petrouge in the Getting Out  Stakes (Restricted) beating Just Cliquot by 3 lengths. The runner ups cause was not helped by being left at the start. The winner was the 7th of the season for Sheriffhales trainer Caroline Robinson and was yet another one owned by her father Jeremy Beasley.

Richard Burton’s cousin Heidi Brookshaw also entered the winners enclosure as the successful trainer of Pennyahei, who won the Ladies Open under a supremely confident ride from Sammie Beddoes by 12 lengths from Hoodwinker. The winner was bred by the trainers mothers Zena, who said afterwards that the winners style of racing was very similar to that of her  home bred dam Pennyazena.

Sammie Beddoes, the daughter of the clerk of the course John, went on to complete a double at the Shropshire course aboard The Longest Day in the opening Members race, accounting for the notable scalp of the Alistair Crow ridden Whatafellow, a winner of over 20 races. The runner up went off at 1-6 on, while the winner returned at around 5-1. It was an amazing result and it is one that epitomises the Corinthian ideals of our sport. The home bred son of Weld was born in a field a stones throw away from the course by the clerk of the course John Beddoes and his wife Ann, who own the winner jointly. Ann was elated when I spoke to her afterwards, she said, ”We named him The Longest Day, because he was foaled on June 21st., god which was late! Until 9 weeks ago he was still in a field. Sammie has done all the work with him, she has trained him and all the credit has to go to her, she has put all the work into the horse.”  This was Sammies 7th win of the season and with it the area ladies championship.

Pattingham owner Roy Swinburne was visiting the winners enclosure for the second time in three days (Fullopep in the Members at Weston Park on Saturday) with John Foley who beat Celtic Boy a shade comfortably by 6 lengths in Div 1 of the Open Maiden. I don’t know who was more knackered afterwards, the winning trainer and rider Paul Morris from Wolverhampton or the horse! Seriously, this son of Petardia is one for the notebook next season.

Division 2 of the Open Maiden was won by the 25-1 outsider Cool Chief under Kevin Pearson, who beat the jolly Donrico by a length and a half. The winner is trained at Tarporley by Carrie Ford and co owned by her husband Richard. This was Carries first winner as a trainer since she hung up her boots as a rider a fortnignt ago. She rode over 50 winners between the flags and 30 under rules, spanning 16 years in the plate.

The first three home in the Mens Open Hanakham , Nothing Ventured and Lord Harry, will meet again the Bangor Final in a fortnight on May 17th. The winner is trainer at Cholmondley by Ginger McCains son Donald, who only has one pointer to train in his yard and the Phardante gelding has now won all three starts this season, the last two have been hunter chases at Bangor. The winner is owned by the flamboyant entrepreneur Derek Malam from Nantwich, who will also have Mister Moss in the Bangor Final. Thank God the Crow family are friends of mine or I would not have reported that Lord Harry was a bit fat in the parade ring beforehand. This run will have put him spot on and I would not put anyone off backing the Mister Lord gelding to win his 4th consecutive Bangor Final.