by Dom Bradshaw

Richard Burton ran up a hat-trick of winners at the Cottesmore meeting at Garthorpe on Sunday in his quest to regain the Mens Champion, which he won in 2003.

Unusually, the Mens Open was divided on the day and Division Two saw Burton notch his first success aboard Prince Dundee, who came home readily from the favourite, Down (Sam Waley-Cohen).
The nine-year-old had looked jaded under rules, but looks to have had his enthusiasm rekindled since moving to the Martin & Belinda Keighley yard. On this evidence, he will be hard to peg back.
Down ran up to his best, but needs a stiffer test of stamina.
Third placed Bold King (Paul Morris), a winning chaser, should be able to score in points.

Burton quickly doubled up, bringing home the highly regarded Christy Beamish by five lengths in Division One of the Restricted with Boyne Banks (Guy Disney) and King’s Hero (Nick Docker) filling the minor places.
The winner, a seven-year-old son of Jolly Jake, looks the “real thing” and will no doubt be switched to a campaign under rules before long.
Both the runner up and the third should have little problem scoring in this company, as should Who’s Eddie (Fred Hutsby – 4th) and the promising Bunratty’s Sole (Nibby Bloom). It may also be worth following the horses who finished down the field, as this was one of the best restricteds seen in this area for a long time.

The enigmatic Cousin George was given the full Burton treatment in Division Two – Part Two of the Maiden, landing the spoils by a length from the well supported favourite, Briery Fox (Joe Docker), with Earl Token (Richard Armson) a further nine-lengths behind in third.
The winner, trained by Pam Sykes, is obviously a talented individual, but backing him in the past has been a bit like playing Russian roulette! If (and that’s a BIG if) the key to him has been discovered, he can score again.
Briery Fox lost nothing in defeat and will be taking a maiden soon and Earl Token should also be able to take a small race.
The one to take out of the race is Hever Road (Stuart Morris), who showed up for a long before fading into fourth. The well-bred five-year-old son of Anshan (dam won eight points) was appearing on a racecourse for the first time here and he should be noted.

The most impressive winner of the day was Shanavogh, who bounced back to form in tremendous style in Division One of the Mens Open, coming home a distance clear of his rivals under a cool ride by Richard Hunnisett. With a couple of runs under his belt and the ground in his favour, the performance was a pleasure to watch and reminiscent of Hunnisett’s now-retired star, Copper Thistle. Oppose him at your peril!
Pagermar (Richard Burton) put in his best show for two years and should take a race.
Third placed Gillone (Joe Docker) and fourth placed Grecian Star (Jimmy Tarry) will both come on for the run. 

Joe Docker rode a double on the day, the first leg coming in the Intermediate courtesy of Nautical Lad, who came home fifteen lengths clear of Miss Hoity Toity (Andrew Sansome) and Finder Keeps (James Jenkins).
The winner is a classy individual and clocked the quickest time of day. Whilst in this rich vein of form he must be followed.
Miss Hoity Toity usually needs a few runs before showing her best, but ran a blinder here on her seasonal debut, trail-blazing in front until tiring after three from home. If maintaining the services of Andrew Sansome, she must score soon.
Finders Keeps was hard at work a long way from home and will be more at home in less exalted company.
My Best Buddy (Rowan Cope) didn’t jump well and gives the impression that he’d prefer slower ground and a longer trip.
Marston Moses (Ashley Bealby) never went a yard and needs softer ground. It’s also worth noting that in the past he’s put in his best performances on left-handed tracks.

Interrogator provided Docker with the second leg of his double in Division Two – Part One of the Maiden.
The winner, a grey eight-year-old gelding by Terimon, was pulled up in his three attempts last season, but showed dramatic improvement here, coming home fourteen lengths clear of the opposition. If he can reproduce this form, then he’ll have a chance in restricted company.
The runner up, Shot Of Jollop (Nibby Bloom) was doing his best work at the finish and can take a small maiden and can third placed Marciano (Rowan Cope).
Northern Breeze (Matthew Mackley) looked full of running until fading quickly after jumping the third last and may be worth trying in a short maiden.

The veteran Garolo rolled back the years in the Ladies Open, finding extra when challenged by Ardmayle (Lucy Coney). The winner was well ridden by Victoria Tremlett, as he started to stop when hitting the front and had to be kept right up to his work to land the spoils by three-quarters-of-a-length. 
As the saying goes, “there’s life in old dog yet” and Garolo still looks to have plenty to offer, even at the ripe old age of fourteen.
Ardmayle lost little in defeat and should be in the winner’s enclosure soon.
Third placed Native Man (Tessa Clarke) looks capable of taking a small race, as does fourth placed River Ness (Victoria Thirlby), although he will have to sharpen up his fencing.
Susie Samworth owns Garolo and usually partners him, but on this occasion she opted to ride her mother’s Sunshine Leader. Unfortunately for Susie, Sunshine Leader looked to hate every minute of it and never had a cut at any of the fences and was pulled up a long way from home when totally out of contention.

The improving Coolefind took Division Two of the Restricted. Trained by Bill Warner and ridden by Stuart Morris, the six-year-old son of Phardante took this with the minimum of fuss (twelve lengths) and is definitely going the right way; he’s one to follow.
In second was Balmoral Spring (Richard Armson), who chased the winner in vain. Table For Four (Ben Pollock) was a further fifteen lengths back in third.

The ex-Irish hurdler Franco, ridden by Paul Cowley, ran out an impressive winner in Division One of the Maiden. The six-year-old was taken to the front early by Cowley and was never headed, coming home eight lengths clear of Lady Baronette (Ian Howe) with the rest hung out with the washing.
The race was run at a true pace and Franco should have little problem taking a restricted.
Lady Baronette was the only one to get near the winner and she'll have little problem landing a maiden.
Third placed Bacarese (Stuart Morris) will improve for this as will debutant King’s Reply (Richard Burton) who stayed on for fourth.

Over The Master (Toby Coles) took the Hunt Members race, benefiting from the exit of the odds-on favourite, Noble Affair (Matthew Mackley), three from home. Jumping Jack (Stuart Morris) was back in second with Theridamas (Richard Collinson) third. 

After an entertaining days racing, it’s a little sad that I feel that I have to have a "whinge". 
The speed, or lack of, which the runners and riders were marked up onto the number board and announced was disappointingly slow, and at times, inaccurate. For example, the rider of Interrogator was marked on the board as Matthew Briggs, when in fact it was Joe Docker.... even more embarrassing when the horse then goes onto win.
As the declarations are available in plenty of time, surely it’s not difficult to ask for the number board to be updated when the previous race is taking place, as is the norm at plenty of other meetings, and for the runners and riders to be read out immediately after the result of the previous race is announced?
Just because this is an amateur sport, it doesn’t mean that we have to do everything like amateurs!