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Knutsford Races at Tabley
Sunday 16th May 2021

by Rory Alkin

An excellent day's racing took place at Tabley on Sunday with fifty eight runners for the seven race card. James King strengthened his hold on the jockeys' title with a treble on the day courtesy of Waterloo Warrior, For Rita and Mahon Point. The latter pair gave Francesca Nimmo a double and with two winners at Edgcote the stable ended the day with a formidable four winners out of five runners. In fact, it was a great day for women trainers overall, winning all bar one of the races.

Racing was held behind closed doors but there were owners in attendance. Luckily the meeting avoided the heavy rain in some adjacent areas and there was only one short shower during racing.

The featured Lord Daresbury North West Area Final turned out to be a very exciting contest, although the long odds-on favourite Hazel Hill unfortunately unseated Tommie O'Brien at the fourteenth with about a mile to run. Toby Wynne on Duke Arcadio had set out to make a searching gallop on the 2019 winner of the race and still had a couple of lengths advantage at the last, but lost some momentum there when he made a mistake, which allowed Immy Robinson on Garde Ville to run on strongly and win by a neck. Trish Rigby said that her charge would now be rested until next season.

In the Keepers Race for stables with no more than three winners this season, Tommie O'Brien led from flag fall on Bletchley Castle, but was overtaken by James King on Waterloo Warrior on the final circuit who steadily drew clear to win by fifteen lengths from Smoke Man, with Bletchley Castle a length back in third. The winner is trained by Angela Slatter and was having his first win since Revesby Park in January 2020.

The second of King's winners came in the PPORA Conditions Race courtesy of the improving For Rita who was held up and eased into the lead at the end of the back straight, with Tommie O'Brien on Iftiraaq in pursuit. For Rita was joined after the last but stayed on well to win by a length and complete a hat-trick of wins for the enthusiastic The Picnic Partnership.

King completed his treble in the six-year-old and upwards Maiden aboard Mahon Point beating the very warm favourite Forest Chimes by half a length in a hard fought battle over the final mile. The six-year-old Kayf Tara gelding was having his first outing over jumps having been a staying on fifth in a 19 furlong bumper at Tipperary less than two months ago. This completed the double at the meeting for Nimmo who acquired the winner from Donnchadh Doyle.

The Mixed Open over two-and-a-half miles saw Milo Herbert take over on his family's Risk and Roll to tackle leader More Buck's and win going away by fifteen lengths and record his first win this season. The winner who is well-suited by the trip having won two hunter chases over a similar distance last season, now goes to the Doncaster sales this week. There was an emotional presentation of the trophy as the race was run in memory of Barbara Bostock who died last year, having tried to fight cancer for a number of years. She had been a great supporter of North West pointing and was the wife of Nick Bostock the Area Secretary.

The opening four and five-year-old Maiden, also run over the two-and-a-half miles trip, was a closely fought contest with Go On Chez getting the verdict over Sine Nomine and Rockingham South by a neck and a half a length. The five-year-old winner was a maiden over hurdles and moved next door from Oliver Greenall's professional yard to Josh Guerriero's point stable to give him confidence, and he managed to improve on two close seconds in his most recent starts . Successful jockey Cai Williams announced his retirement on dismounting.

There was a disappointing turn out of only three for the Veterans Race in which the Joanne Priest trained Ballybroker Breeze ridden by Tommie O'Brien toyed with his rivals and won by an easy six lengths from Port Melon, thereby adding to his win at Maisemore Park, earlier in the season.

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