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Warwickshire at Mollington, near Banbury, Oxfordshire
Monday 6th May 2019

by Russell Smith

TOM Ellis strengthened his grip at the top of the Foran Equine Trainers' Championship with a sparkling treble at the Warwickshire meeting at Mollington, near Banbury, on Bank Holiday Monday.

Ellis, who trains at Marton, near Rugby, took his tally for the season to 38 with victories from Pass The Glass, Celtic Silver and Samarnni to shoot nine winners clear of Alan Hill.

It capped a memorable few days for Ellis, who had recorded a Dingley double with Forgiving and You Know The Story on Sunday after posting his first victories under National Hunt Rules when Latenightpass and Kalabaloo landed hunter chases at Cheltenham on Friday evening.

He said: "We have won with a lot of horses this weekend. The hunter chase winners don't count (for the championship), but we have still had five point-to-point winners.
"My goal at the start of the season was 20. I thought more were possible if we had a bit of luck, but what we have now is a dream."

Pass The Glass, owned by the Simply The Best Partnership headed by John Pritchard, set the ball rolling at Mollington by completing a four-timer in a match for the Butler Sherborn Warwickshire Hunt Members, Subscribers & Farmers Race.

With Ellis's wife, Gina Andrews, on board, the seven-year-old jumped ahead at the fifth fence from home, and although Susquehanna River rallied well for Harry Arkwright, he was three-quarters of a length down at the line after which the winner unseated his rider.

Andrews said: "He was hanging back to the gate and slipped up and deposited me."

Ellis commented: "He has done it nicely and the second is no mug - he has been in fine form all season."

Andrews completed a double when Celtic Silver followed up his win at the last Mollington meeting with victory in the Skinner's Pet Foods Ladies' Open.

The five-time ladies' champion sent the ten-year-old grey into the lead at the third-last, and her mount came home by seven lengths from Top Smart and Izzie Marshall.
Winning owner Jenny Hayward, from Willoughby, near Southam, said: "That's his sixth win and this is our first open, so it's very exciting."

Ellis added: "If you were buying a ladies point-to-pointer he is what you would buy. He is not too big, he's nippy and he jumps brilliantly."
The Marton handler completed his hat-trick when Samarnni regained winning ways with a thrilling head victory over Abricot De L'Oasis in the 2m 4f Claydon Horse Exercisers Men's Open under Jack Andrews.

After Friday's runaway Cheltenham winner Bishops Road fell at the seventh fence, George Henderson continued to set the pace on Abricot De L'Oasis only to be joined by Samarnni at the last. The pair were locked together up the run-in, but Andrews's mount just prevailed.

"What a horse," said Ellis. "My God he is as game as they come. He would fall on his sword for you. He has come back from two leg injuries and three wind operations and he is just a horse of a lifetime for Trevor and Mary Bourne. I am so pleased to give Jack a winner."

Robert Waley-Cohen, in his 40th year as chairman of the Warwickshire point-to-point committee, stepped down from the post.

And he marked the occasion by sending out The Jaffna Queen from his nearby Edgehill stables to run out a 30-lengths winner of the Sir James Shuckburgh Bt Restricted.

The six-year-old, who is by Black Sam Bellamy out of Waley-Cohen's broodmare Shatabdi, came clear of her rivals in the hands of Waley-Cohen's son, Sam, with It'll Be Grand a distant runner-up.

Robert said: "It's nice when they are home-bred. She has been knocking on the door all season, so I'm really pleased to get a win. She has sort of grown up. I've always thought she was rushing herself, but now she has settled down."

Sam, fresh from the birth of his third child, a baby boy Xander, four days earlier, added: "Kate (Mawle) has done a great job getting her ready. It's dad's last day as chairman and it's nice to win for him."

Peter Mason hailed Wick Green's exciting triumph in the Avonvale Equine Practice South Midlands Area Conditions Race as probably the six-year-old's "best performance to date".

Three horses were in contention at the last fence as Mason, who trains at Ablington, near Bibury, delivered the son of Sagamix to challenge Velvet Cognac and Izzie Marshall, with Blue Mountain Boy also holding every chance.

It was Mason's mount who stayed on best on the run-in, though, to deny Velvet Cognac by a neck with Blue Mountain Boy five lengths back in third.
Mason, who heads the Shy John Partnership, which owns the gelding, said: "He is growing up. I thought from the top of the hill I will get a breather into him. That is probably his best performance to date - the second and third are nice horses."

Schiap Hill made Hannah Clarke's journey from Blandford Forum in Dorset worthwhile by taking the closing Ray Randerson Carpets PPORA Club Members Maiden - although her charge may have had fortune on his side.

The five-year-old was being strongly challenged at the last by Butter Hill Boris only for Zac Baker's mount to sprawl on landing, leaving Schiap Hill to pass the post with four lengths to spare under Charlie Marshall.

The winning rider said: "He slowed up coming into the last fence where he saw the crowd and the other one came to him. Whether he would have had time to react having had a slow jump I don't know."

Clarke, who trains the son of Schiaparelli for Alan and Fiona Britten, added: "I have had him since he was a two-year-old and broke him in and produced him. He is a horse for the future."

Sawtry owner-trainer-rider Dale Peters was surprised by Bonamargy's win in the F N Pile Four, Five & Six-Year-Olds Open Maiden over 2m 4f .

Formerly trained by Rodney Arthur in Ireland, the five-year-old stormed clear on the run-in to score by five lengths from Elmouth, with Pandinus Imperator, who had led over the last, fading into third.

Peters, who bought the five-year-old unseen in a private deal through Brian Hamilton, said: "I didn't expect it. I have had him at home for three weeks and he is clueless. He doesn't know what he is doing. He ran five times in Ireland, but you wouldn't know it."


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