The ups and downs of this sport were clearly demonstrated by
Hadnall trainer, Sheila Crow. Sheila was elated with the performance of
Pristeen Spy, following a very impressive win under Richard Burton in the
Confined. The Teenoso gelding was still full of running at the last fence
and went away to win very easily by 10 lengths from Gunner Sid. This was
Burton’s 20th winner of the season and once again he looks a
strong contender to retain his National Riders championship. Crow thinks a
lot of the winner, she said, ”I have always liked him. He has plenty of
ability and we will go hunter chasing with him this season.”
An hour later Sheila Crow experienced the other end of the
scale with Along The Lawn in the Restricted. Her charge was ridden by her
son, Alistair, who parted company with his mount at the fourth fence.
Alistair took a crashing fall which left him unconscious and badly brusied,
but nothing broken according to his mother yesterday evening. The horse then
proceeded to run off and crash into a gate and broke his pelvis, which sadly
meant that he had to be destroyed. The race was won by Master Club Royal
under Gary Hanmer, who beat Snitton West by half a length in a thriller. The
winner is trained at Cholmondley by Donald McCain Jnr for the flamboyant
entrepreneur, Derek Malam.
Worleston rider and trainer Gary Hamner took centre stage at
the Cheshire course with treble in the plate. The first leg came with Border
Fusion in the second division of the Maiden, who came late and fast to beat
Heathyards’ Element by a length and a half and in doing so denied McCain
and Malam completing a double at the course. The winner is home bred by
well-known Bookmaker Gordon Crawford from Nantwich, who has a pitch at every
meeting in the North Western Area. Amazingly this was Crawford’s first
ever winner as an owner in 14 years of trying. Hanmer completed the treble
with consummate ease on Soundtrack who won the Mens’ Open unchallenged by
30 lengths from Springwood White. The winner is owned by John Eaton from
Pershore, near Cheshire, whose father won the 1934 Cheltenham Foxhunters on
Alfrida. Hanmer said after that the former Venetia Williams inmate would be
aimed at the Bangor Final.
Richard Burton’s cousin Heidi Brookshaw, who trains at
Preston Farm, near Shrewsbury, won the first division of the Maiden with
Meentagh Loch, who was given a good ride by 17 year old Jonathon Jarrett,
who kept a cool head to beat Phillip Trevor Hemmings on Spot The Native by a
neck. His famous father, Trevor, was there to watch his son in the race. The
Shropshire born rider was recording his first winner and it was fitting that
it was for the Brookshaw family as Heidi’s mother Zena pointed out that
the Jarrett family have worked for the Brookshaw’s for four generations.
The winner is owned by Heidi and was given to her as a gift by Pip Harney,
the master of the North Shropshire Hunt. Jonathan is attached to Henrietta
Knights’ Wantage yard.
Willington trainer John Swindells always seems to find a good
horse most seasons and this time around is no exception. The mare Jackie
Jarvis made her class tell in the Ladies Open, when beating Native Man by 8
lengths with the trainers daughter Karen Diggle in the plate in the fastest
time of the day, 6m09s. Swindells is aiming the winner at the Bangor final
on May 17th. The runner up who is trained at Malpas by Charlie
Barlow will not be long in winning on this evidence, the gelding is co owned
by John Malem, the former head groundsman at Bangor on Dee.
18 year old Natalie Lloyd, from Adrefelin Farm, Overton, near
Wrexham, was another rider to record her first ever winner at the Cheshire
course following Star Changes hard fought length success over Major Adams in
the Members. The winner is trained by her father Steve.
Bridgenorth rider Adam Wadlow made every yard from flag fall
on Sovereign Gale to land the spoils in the PPORA Club Maiden to beat
Thixendale by 8 lengths. Chaddesley Corbett trainer Theresa McCurrich was a
very relieved lady after the success of her charge, adding that the mare
deserved it, as she had been dogged with leg problems.
Eaton Hall at one time had a bad reputation with owners and trainers because of the state of the course. This time around with improved drainage and plenty of hard work by the new clerk of the course Nicky Hugo, the track received rave reviews, especially from two long standing trainers. Sheila Crow said, ”I am very surprised on how good the course is, it was perfect jumping ground”. John Swindells said, ”I have never seen the course in better condition, it’s a credit to the ground staff.”