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Sunday 24th April 2005
by Ian Marshall
photos by Arthur Thompson

A glorious day at Easingwold attracted a huge crowd, which saw the large car park close to overflowing. Despite competition from National Hunt racing at Wetherby, families enjoyed themselves in the sun. There was no shortage of exciting action, with several close finishes. Officially Good To Firm, the going did allow horses to get their toes in with a predominately excellent grass covering. One stretch of around 100 yards is rather bare though and will need considerable watering to please owners and trainers at the May fixture.

Five horses lined up for the Hunt Members and Hattie led from flagfall to score by a distance under Philip Cornforth. An extremely hard puller, Hattie got home on this easy track, having found it difficult to last out since her Corbridge maiden win in 2004. Dinan (Joanne Brown) pipped Chanteuse (Rachel Clark) for second. Chanteuse let herself down with some shoddy jumping and will need to improve in that area if she is to fulfil the promise that she has shown. Amarettoforanna and Nigel Smith were a long way behind in fourth. Sting, the unregistered hunter, completed for a distant fifth, but sadly collapsed and died in the unsaddling enclosure.

Hattie (Philip Cornforth)

A field of 16 was present for the Younger Horse Maiden, which went to Noggler and Serena Brotherton. Noggler had some reasonable placed form to his name, including coming third to the useful subsequent Hornby Castle restricted winner Forty Shakes in a Charm Park maiden on Easter Monday. Whilst he isn’t all that quick on the uptake, Noggler is gaining valuable experience by the race. Rachel Clark guided Thorny Issue into second. The grey stayed on nicely and on this evidence has a maiden in him. His two previous outings had no doubt taught him a bit as he was ridden closer to the pace and fenced more smoothly in the main today. No Info was third for Clive Mulhall and this was the first time the mare had managed two decent efforts in a row. Brown’s Beck (Michael Morley) battled on in fourth and has shown enough to suggest she has a small race in her. Boss Man looked exceptionally well in the paddock and has the physique to be a force in the game. Although he might need more time, Boss Man caught the eye without troubling the principals. The favourite Malton was just getting into a threatening position when departing. Lyrann went a good clip in front and still had some hope when going lame on the run to three out. Kismet was pulled up lame with a circuit to go.

Having been somewhat out of sorts this season, Hadeqa returned to his best to land the ten-runner Ladies Open for the second year in succession in the hands of Charlotte Brown. He’s scarcely bigger than a pony, but Hadeqa lacks nothing in the way of heart. Swooping between horses at the final fence, Hadeqa soon forged ahead. Ledgendry Line and Serena Brotherton filled second spot. An uncharacteristic mistake at the third last didn’t seem to stop him, but Ledgendry Line found the winner’s finishing spurt too hot to handle on this occasion. Strongtrooper (Jacqueline Coward) in third again didn’t find quite as much off the bridle as would have been expected the way he traveled. Still, he must surely win a ladies contest before too long. Heather Lad (Annabelle Armitage) was fourth in his first try in a race of this type. He wasn’t beaten far and will be an interesting contender on fast ground if remaining in ladies opens in the next few weeks. For a 16-year-old, The Minister put in a fair effort, although he is always going to be vulnerable up younger, nippier sorts.

Michael Brown, trainer of Noggler and Hadeqa

Civil Gent returned to the scene of his restricted triumph to defy seven opponents in the Mens Open under a fine ride from Guy Brewer. Cutting every corner, the striking chestnut made stealthy headway to be in pole position leaving the back straight. He then dug deep on the run-in to hold off Diamond Monroe and Oliver Greenall by half a length. It was the first time this year that Civil Gent had had his favoured sound underfoot conditions and a follow up on a similar surface later in the campaign can’t be discounted. It was just a second win in 2005 for both the jockey and trainer Mary Sowersby. Diamond Monroe has his quirks and is not the easiest of rides, but does have the ability to pick up an open. Mademist Sam grabbed third for Nigel Tutty, just ahead of Mr No Man and Michael Morley in fourth. Mr No Man gave another glimmer of hope for the future. All For Jake dropped right out after the fourth last.

Civil Gent (Guy Brewer)

Ten horses came under orders for the Restricted. Shirostran had Nigel Smith for assistance and the duo came home in front from Willywont He and Steve Charlton. Shirostran was collecting a restricted at the first time of asking, having beaten subsequent Stainton maiden winner Polyarnoe Bay at Whitwell-on-the-Hill a fortnight ago. He has much potential and won’t be out of place at a higher level. Willywont He was putting in his best work at the finish, having got outpaced when the tempo increased. Magic Route bagged third with Tina Jackson aboard. His Dalton Park maiden win in March now looks a hot contest as four of those behind him have managed their respective maidens since, including Noggler on this card. Duggleby and Oliver Greenall ran a respectable race and Don Rio did a bit better than of late, but Oso Tilley ran a stinker... maybe the ground was against her?

Shirostran (Nigel Smith) lead in by Paul Williamson

There were nine runners in the Confined and Wynyard Dancer cut out the errors that have dogged her performances in recent times to claim the spoils, piloted by Tina Jackson. Tina was far happier than when being unceremoniously dumped at Whitwell-on-the-Hill earlier in the month! When she fences competently, Wynyard Dancer gives herself the chance to show her true prowess. Runner-up Ikdam Melody (Jo Foster) couldn’t quite haul the winner back, but was conceding lumps of weight. He deserves further reward to go with his Hutton Rudby ladies open victory. Third-placed King’s Boy (Oliver Greenall) stuck on resolutely and definitely has the profile to find a race. Glendamah and Michael Morley were fourth and continue to make a decent account of themselves. If Londolozi Lad can jump better, he will become a different proposition. Bonito was tailed off when falling fatally at the penultimate obstacle. It must have been very confusing for commentator Andy Orkney as both Londolozi Lad and Wynyard Dancer wore exactly the same colours. The only way for him to tell than apart was that Wynyard Dancer was wearing cheekpieces.

Wynyard Dancer (Tina Jackson) and owners

The closing Maiden had nine runners with Landford Lad and Guy Armitage getting the better of Alfie Twofourtwo and Nigel Tutty by a length. Landford Lad was well backed at Brocklesby Park last time, but was soon pulled up that day after a bad blunder early on. He stuck to his task well though today. Alfie Twofourtwo has had his own thoughts on things in the past, but his attitude couldn’t be questioned this afternoon. However, not even maximum perseverance from his rider could quite get him on terms. Primitive Quay (Trevor Glass) was a distance back in third and appears a difficult ride. Palmand (Rachel Clark) completed for the first time in fourth. Supreme Optimist is one to be wary of. Rare Presence was vying for the lead with the errant Bracken Run when they collided in the air at the second fence, dislodging both Guy Brewer and John Willey in the end.

Primitive Quay (stars), Alfie Twofourtwo and Winton Grove

Abbey Whin and Palmand in the open maiden

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