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Easter Monday 28th March 2005
by Mal Davies

The Richard Burton bandwagon rolled on again at Eyton on Monday, though not without hitting a couple of ruts on the way, whilst the equine star of the day was the very progressive Paul Jones trained Christy Beamish.

Fresh from a treble at Sandon on Saturday, Burton won on his first three rides of the day at the sunny and very crowded Shropshire track. At one point, he was going for his seventh win in succession. He then picked up a couple of seconds and was forced to pull up two odds-on favourites; even despite a three-timer, Burton’s day could have been even better.

Pot Shot was 1-3 to land the Members’ race, and duly obliged by ten lengths from the only other finisher Oneandthreequarters, though most of the headlines for this particular race will be taken by Otis Ferry, who took the ride on the eventual winner’s stable companion Kings Reply. This was Ferry’s first ever point-to-point ride, and he certainly looked very accomplished in the saddle, belying his inexperience between the flags. Indeed, although Burton’s mount was in command, Kings Reply was rallying well coming to the second last, at which he ducked violently through the wing and deposited Ferry painfully on the turf.

MEMBERS- The Unnamed Man (Miss L.Willis) leads Oneandthreequarters (R.Jagger) and Kings Reply (O.Ferry) over the 4 th.

Kings Reply dumps Otis Ferry through the wing of the second last

The second of Burton’s three arrived in the shape of Maringo, who had impressed here at the Tanatside meeting before refusing, but it took every ounce of Burton’s strength to see off the unheralded 14-1 shot Waggy (Dave Mansell) in a driving finish. Credit too for Strong Weld, who put in a very good round, leading for most of the way before hanging on to third. This was certainly a much-improved run by the Weld gelding.

Only five lined up for the Mens’ Open and on paper, it looked a match between the impressive Garthorpe winner Be My Friend, who went off at 1-2 under Gary Hanmer, and Burton on the former Paul Nicholls trained Cornish Gale. So it proved, as the two had the race to themselves from six out. They were both going easily on the home turn only for Be My Friend to hit a flat spot; this was all the encouragement Burton needed and he eventually pulled right away for a 25 length success, with Auditty a poor third. The winner really does have the scope to make a big impact in points, but has his own ideas about the game more often than not, and wouldn’t be sure to follow up.

The field in the Ladies open negotiate the first open ditch

There was, as has been the case so often this term, a cracking finish to the Ladies’ Open, On this occasion, it was Sammy Beddoes on Home Run who just got the better of the well backed (given his recent form) Gaiac and Tessa Clark; both jockeys were flat to the boards up to and over the last, with Home Made just proving the stronger. This win advertises well Minella Silver’s win over Heidi Brookshaw’s seven year old here at the Tanatside meeting in February.

Eventual winner Home Made leads Madge Carroll and Gaiac over the sixth

Home Made just hangs on from Gaiac

Star performance of the day was undoubtedly that of the very progressive Christy Beamish in the Confined. Taken out of a Bangor hunter chase recently on account of the ground, this was his seasonal debut, and Gary Hanmer had hardly a worry as Paul Jones’s eight-year-old gelding won hard held on the bridle, from Burton on Karinga Lane. This looks to be a pipe opener for what could well be a fruitful mid-season hunter chase campaign for the winner. Times Past grabbed third from Raconteur, who set a decent pace, and ran better than he has for some time.

Gemma Swindells survived quite a serious looking blunder by Braeburn six out to roust her Eyton maiden winner to another victory in the Restricted; this was a good ride, though perhaps the form of the race is in question die to the proximity of the moderate 20-1 shot The Sky Is Blue in second. Lance Toi, himself a fortunate maiden winner here at the last meeting was back in third and would need to find a pretty weak Restricted to win one. Richard Burton was aboard the odds on shot Classic Shot, owned by his father Rob, but pulled his mount up before the second open ditch; he told the stewards that he felt the horse lose his action.

Burton was aboard the Sheila Crow trained favourites in the concluding pair of two and a half mile maidens, but neither was successful. Future Sovereign, who went off at 4-7 in Division One was pulled up, having been given a tender introduction, and Saddlers Cloth was touched off in a close finish by the Mark Jackson ridden Castle Frome. Winner of Division One was No Keep ridden by David Greenway, who just got the better of Ben More in a driving finish.

Whilst this meeting is always well attended, I can’t remember one so crowded as it was today; at one point I had to queue 5 minutes to get a bet on (and the price went out from 8s to 10s whilst I did so…..yes, it lost….)

Plenty of business for the layers…

Fair play, if you were prepared to look, there was some value around. Just for fun, I thought I’d note a couple of boards just before the off of the Confined race

Board A bet
4-6 (60.24)
2-1 (33.33)
7-1 (12.50)
8-1 (11.11)
12-1 (7.69)
20-1 (4.76)

Board B bet
1-2 (66.66)
6-4 (40.00)
4-1 (20.00)
6-1 (14.28)
8-1 (11.11)

I’m pleased to say that Board A was the one with a huge queue, and Board B was deserted so perhaps punters are latching on to the layers who make a 150% book on a 6 runner race.

Final word for the Hunt organisers; a very well organised meeting. A racecard that may Rules meetings would be proud of too.

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