by Dom Bradshaw

After an initial 10.00am inspection for frost and a short delay due to the paramedics breaking down in the nearby town centre, the Lincolnshire United Hunts Club went ahead last Sunday with a seven race card.

The Midlands Area season kicked off with the Lincolnshire United Hunts Club race which went the Nick Kent trained & ridden maiden Ramirez, who took the race by the scruff of the neck over the final four fences to come home five lengths clear of Near And Phar (Miss S Buckley) and Its-On-The-Cards (Andrew Sansome).
The winner, a 9,500gns purchase from Doncaster Sales in October 2003, was previously trained under rules by Mark Pitman and displayed some fair form when second in a Taunton bumper in 2003. He did this well and should progress, but it’s worth noting that the time was slow and that he’ll have to go straight into restricted company, which will undoubtedly be tougher.
The runner up, an unraced 9-year-old mare by Phardante, looked well in the paddock and ran above expectations. If she can reproduce this form, then she may be able to take a small maiden.
Its-On-The-Cards was returning to the course after a two-year absence and will strip a lot fitter for the experience.
The favourite, Fine Times, was still travelling well enough when losing Matthew Mackley between fences on the final circuit.

In the Confined, hunter chase winner Ridgeway drifted alarmingly in the betting. Opening at 1-2, he was available at odds as big as 5-2 at the off, but as they say, the horse doesn’t know what odds it is, and he came home readily in the safe hands of rider\trainer Jo Foster to win by three lengths, with Winter Gale (Laura Eddery) back in second and Glacial Dancer (Richard Clark) third.
This was an impressive start to the season for the 9-year-old and he should once again be winning regularly this season.
Winter Gale once again ran his race and a win can’t be far away.
Glacial Dancer was showing his best form in two seasons and a reproduction of this should see him in the winners’ enclosure.
Contingency (Rowan Cope) was backed as though defeat was out of the question, but he made one mistake too many and was beaten a long way from home.

The PPORA Club Members Race looked a match on paper between the prolific Red Rebel (Rowan Cope) and Guilsborough Gorse (Mark Walford), a winner on the opening day at Cottenham, but it was the latter who took the spoils in convincing style, hosing home twelve lengths clear of the Caroline Bailey trained grey.
The winner jumps and stays well and will no doubt be winning again before long. He looks the type to go well in hunter chases.
Red Rebel usually needs a run first time out and this was no exception. Although he’s now at the veteran stage, there’s little doubt that he’ll be taking his share of races once again in 2004.
Mr Naborro (Adrian Wintle) ran up to his mark in third and will come on for this. 

The Restricted went to the Laura Pomfret trained Noble Affair, under a masterful ride by Matthew Mackley. The 9-year-old, who looked a picture in the paddock, was always travelling well and was set alight by Mackley two from home. Once she got her head front, she never looked like stopping. A half-sister to the high class Araminta, she’ll improve for this and should be able to make in better company.
The runner up, Imp’s Way (Michael Morley), lost little in defeat and is more than capable of landing a race of this calibre.
Snowtre (Adrian Wintle) came from the clouds to snatch third from Miss Zarnni (Lenny Hicks). Both will improve for this and they should continue to run well in this grade.
Approaching Land, ridden by Lord Manton (formerly known as Major Milo Watson), was making stealthy headway when departing two from home. He’d probably have been placed, but does look a tricky character and may benefit from stronger handling.

Division One of the maiden was won easily by Henry Murphy, trained by Gill Walford and ridden by son Mark. The 7-year-old son of High Lodge had looked dodgy to say the least in 2003, but this was a “tortoise to hare” transformation and the switch to the Walfords this season looks to have made all of the difference.
The Walford yard are on fire at present and a reproduction of this run should see him take a restricted with little problem.
Dreamie Battle (Sue Sharratt) just held off the the favourite, Bill Warner newcomer Cashari (Stuart Morris) for second place. Both were beaten out of sight by the winner, but will come on for the run.
Northern Breeze (Matthew Mackley) still appeared to be travelling well when departing on the second circuit and should be noted.
Guy Brewer performed wonders to stay aboard Sherfield Lass, but was unable to get her back into the race and was eventually pulled up. She looks a nice type and could take a small race when fencing with more fluency.

If Division One of the maiden had been a cake walk for the Walfords, then Divison Two was a stroll in the park, thanks to Golden Rivet, who came home a hard-held distance clear of the only other finisher, Troubleshooter (Matthew Mackley), notching up a hat-trick of wins for the mother and son combination.
The winner jumped like an old hand and should have no problem progressing to restricted company.
Troubleshooter, the winner of a Brocklesby Park maiden in 2003, but subsequently disqualified, will benefit from the run.
The Walford second string Another Half, looks tricky at present and had Philip Kinsella on the floor on the way to the start and subsequently, during the race. A sister to winning pointer Half Each, she could be ok in time.

The last race of the day, Division Three of the maiden, saw Philip Kinsella cross the line aboard Tap Dance, waiving his whip in “victory”, but his celebrations were premature, and the judge gave the verdict to Newgate Wells (Nick Kent) by a neck.
The winner, an enigmatic sort, provided a double for rider Nick Kent and owner C.J.M. Cottingham. This was the slowest race of the day and the winner will have his work cut out in restricteds.
Tap Dance should be capable of taking a small race, but wasn’t the most consistent of performers under rules, therefore it may be wise not to take the form literally.
Tooley Park (Andrew Sansome) was a further ten lengths away in third and has yet to prove that he stays the trip in points.
Of the others, Auntie Alba (Matthew Mackley) looked well in the paddock and wasn’t asked too many questions before pulling up. She’ll improve for this educational run.

Once again, the LUHC provided a well-organised point-to-point, with good facilities, competitive racing and a fair bookies market.

The Midlands Area season continues next week with the Midlands Area Club meeting at Thorpe Lodge on Sunday.

1. Ramirez (Nick Kent)
2. Near And Phar (Miss S. Buckley)
3. Its-On-The-Cards (Andrew Sansome)
Dist: 5,1 6m41s
5 ran

1. Ridgeway (Jo Foster)
2. Winter Gale (Laura Eddery)
3. Glacial Dancer (Richard Clark)
Dist: 3,1/2 6m22s
9 ran

PPORA Club Members
1. Guilsborough Gorse (Mark Walford)
2. Red Rebel (Rowan Cope)
3. Mr Naborro (Adrian Wintle)
Dist: 12,3 6m29s
6 ran

1. Noble Affair (Matthew Mackley)
2. Imp's Way (Michael Morley)
3. Snowtre (Adrian Wintle)
Dist: 1 1/2,1 6m27s
12 ran

1. Henry Murphy (Mark Walford)
2. Dreamie Battle (Sue Sharratt)
3. Cashari (Stuart Morris)
Dist: 24,1/2 6m34s
10 ran

1. Golden Rivet (Mark Walford)
2. Troubleshooter (Matthew Mackley)
Dist: Dist 6m35s
5 ran

1. Newgate Wells (Nick Kent)
2. Tap Dance (Philip Kinsella)
3. Tooley Park (Andrew Sansome)
Dist: Neck,10 6m43s
7 ran