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North Staffordshire at Sandon
Easter Saturday 20th April 2019

by Rory Alkin

A very large crowd watched some excellent racing in the warm sunshine. The organisers did a great job of watering before the meeting, which resulted in good ground. They also had several volunteers just past the winning post, so that all horses could be watered down and unsaddled closer to the horse boxes, which meant that they did not have to climb the steep hill to the parade ring in the warm heat. All jockeys were ferried back up to the tents with their saddles to weigh-in.

The main feature of the day's racing was the four-timer for Huw Edwards, following on from his treble at Tabley a couple of weeks ago. He is now a serious contender for the Fullers Novice Riders award bringing his seasonal tally to nine winners here. Edwards' wins were on horses for four different trainers, and he has matured into a jockey who is going places. He showed contrasting styles making all in two of the races and coming from behind in the other two. There was also a training double for Josh Guerriero, courtesy of Wasastylequeen in the Maiden and Port Melon in the Mens Open.

The first of Edwards winners came in the opening Members on Fair Exchange for trainer Joe O'Shea. Patrick Sankey carried thirteen pounds overweight on Galbally King and jumped well in front, trying to make all. However, the horse tired in the straight and Fair Exchange took over at the second last and was a nine-length winner at the line.

In the PPORA Club Members race, Edwards repeated his Tabley success on Duke Arcadio, trained by Heidi Brookshaw, jumping well in front and was never troubled to win by twelve lengths. In the Intermediate, Philip Armson tried to make all on Max O, and when Edwards produced Damut I'm Out in the straight he got the better of the argument at the second last and won by three-and-a-half lengths, for owner/trainer Diana Ralph.

In the concluding Restricted, Edwards shot the Tabley Maiden winner Name And Shame into a clear lead and although Princess Scorpion and Alburn made up some ground in the straight, Name And Shame won by five lengths. The winner is owned and trained by the jockey's father Simon who was elated with his son's work for the day.

In the Mens Open, Stephen Davies used different tactics by trying to make all on Garde Ville and despite a bad jump at the 10th fence the open ditch where he was headed temporarily, he still led by a couple of lengths at the third last. Harry Myddleton was biding his time on his father's Port Melon and came with a well-timed run to lead before the second last and eventually ran out a nine-length winner.

The earlier leg of Guerriero's training double came in the two-mile-five-furlongs Maiden, courtesy of the unraced four-year-old filly Wasastylequeen, who chased the leader Exit Plan until taking it up after the second last and won by two-and-a-quarter lengths. The winner was ridden by Ed Glassonbury and is owned by David Futter who bred her at Yorton Stud.

The Ladies Race also over the shorter trip only attracted two runners. It was run at a slow pace, and Emma Todd tried to make all on Doeslessthanme, but Hannah Gregory on Martha's Benefit bided her time and only came to challenge the leader between the last two, and went clear on the short run-in, winning by three-and-a-half lengths. The mare making her seasonal debut here had won a chase and a hurdle last summer, and owner/trainer Andrew Nicholls will now aim her at a Cartmel Hunter Chase.


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