APRIL 2004
by Mitch Cadd

After a few years delay due to a combination of both the weather and the Jockey Club, a bumper crowd was drawn to the picturesque hills of the Peak District for the High Peak Harriers meet at Flagg Moor on Easter Tuesday. A fine day and excellent ground conditions made for some great racing.

The Hunt members race, which traditionally races over stone walls started from the village and navigated a number of obstacles before entering the main racecourse.  With only two of the field having any sought of form or indeed being registered, it was as always going to be an entertaining sight, but certainly not one to invest the hard earned gambling ammunition.  This proved especially true as the favourite Single Man under the control of Sue Rodman failed to navigate the early part of the course. This may have proved even more embarrassing for Sue as she played a leading role in the design of the course route!

Having literally ‘hunted’ around as a group for the main part of the race, the inevitable cavalry charge ensued from the second last with the chestnut gelding Tellitasitis showing more pace than his rivals to win going away.

The second race an Open Maiden went to Iadora who had previously finished fourth to Sovereign Gale at Eaton Hall. Ridden by Tessa Clark the Gildoran gelding stayed on resolutely to fend off the brief challenge of Frosty Fella who looked to be going well two out only to stop to nil and the eventual runner up Ridware Rose ridden by Sue Sharratt who having being outpaced on the second circuit stayed on well.  One to take note of was the 5yo gelding Mr Buckle who having not jumped at all well and looking a little green on the first circuit plugged on for third.

The Confined saw one of the finishes of the day as both the favourite Minella Silver and Saxon Gold battled it out in the straight with the Roselier gelding prevailing by a neck under Richard Burton. Sue Sharratt again filled the runner’s up spot with Saxon Gold and was unlucky not have been successful.  Gary Hanmer’s mount Three Saints and Minella Silver looked to have the race between them two out only for Three Saints to fade into third in the straight.

The Ladies Open was turned into a procession as the ex Nicky Richards trained River Ness under Victoria Thirlby took hold of the race from a long way out to score readily from Class Of Ninetytwo ridden by Sue Sharratt again filling the runners-up spot. The Buckskin mare was following up her victory at Garthorpe in March and looks one to follow.

Richard Burton rode the second leg of his treble in the Men’s Open when sending the veteran Step On Eyre to the front two out and out battling the outsider of the three runners Springwood White. The disappointing favourite Prominent looked to be getting into the race three out under Gary Hanmer only drop tamely away in the straight.

An array of young and ‘seasoned’ riding talent was on show in the Novice Riders event. The race eventually going to the 11yo Star Changes who had finished third at Sandon only three days earlier.  Having looked at lot happier being raced up with the pace on this occasion the Derrylin gelding came clear two out to win convincingly.

The Restricted brought an exciting day to a close with a victory for Uncle Ada, providing Richard Burton with a hat-trick of wins on the day an putting right back in the firing line for the jockey’s championship. It could have been a different story however as Sue Sharratt looked like may have a chance to make amends for her earlier defeat as she closed in on the champion between the last two fences, only for her mount Ridware Pride to stumble and fall on the flat. Thankfully both horse and rider got to their feet no the worse for their tumble.

All in all an entertaining and exciting day, and a meet that all those who attended will look forward to next year!