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Sunday 3rd April 2005
by Simon McInnes

This was about as early start to Penshurst's two meeting season as can be found, and a sunny day brought out a big crowd, with the good ground ensuring a run of big fields to match. There were no close finishes, and four favourites obliged, some at prohibitively short odds, with some lucky Tote punters found themselves being paid out at £1.90 for a place on the Ladies Open winner that was trading at about 1/3 with the bookies and paid even less for the Tote win.

Leicester Arms Hunt Members
1: The Grey Baron 2: Fergus O'Dee Killiney Bay
winner owned Mrs & Mrs A Coveney, ridden Peter Bull, trained Andrew Coveney

An upset to open the card as odds-on Killiney Bay ran a stinker, ending up well beaten by The Grey Baron, who showed good bouncebackability from some below par efforts to give Peter Bull his fifth consecutive winning ride. Veteran Fergus O'Dee, off since 2003, was well beaten in second, but given his long absence and the fact that rider Nicky Eaton was having her first ride, his supporters got a good run for their money for a long way, and even regained the forecast slot from the toiling favourite two from home. I heard no announcement of an enquiry into Killiney Bay's run, which saw him done for a long way from the finish.

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1: Bak On Board 2: Raging Torrent 3: Tubber Streams

winner owned Mr & Mrs T House & A Tizzard, ridden Charlotte Tizzard, trained Alan Tizzard
The first leg of a double for the west country travellers, with the race unfolding in quite spectacular fashion. Tubber Streams had been twelve lengths clear most of the way, even at the third last, but when Charlotte Tizzard took the handbrake off of Bak On Board, he closed the gap in no time at all, and by the second last had a commanding lead. What put it in more impressive perspective was that Raging Torrent only nabbed second from Tubber Streams on the run-in. He had made some early mistakes and had reminders, but ran respectably well once he had warmed to the task. Track regular Oxendale spoiled the Bull winning streak but did manage fourth, another of his better efforts at a course he likes, just ahead of Tod's Brother, who was vying with the winner for favouritism. After looking a decent tool last season, he has not really got it together this time, and his jumping let him down today, either getting in close, veering right or both. He is perhaps one to take on when favourite.

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1: Get Off My Cloud 2: Naughty Dandy 3: Tellem Noting

winner owned CS Hall, Mrs R Wilkins, Mr & Mrs AW Cooper, ridden Philip Hall, trained Mrs C Hall
Ultimately this was a comfortable success for the winner, but having run out once last season he showed a slight wobble today, as having kicked on after three out, he sacrificed most of his advantage with a slow jump two out, only to whizz clear again afterwards. It looks as if Get Off My Cloud has plenty of natural ability but could just be waiting for the right moment to do something potty again. Naughty Dandy put his stamina to good use, gaining three places in the last half mile, but looking only likely to catch Get Off My Cloud if handed the opportunity on a plate. Paddock pick Tellem Noting ran his best race (bar his Irish win) so far and is young enough to have some improvement left - especially as it seemed that his first task was to start at the back and encourage his wavering stablemate, Mr Ambassador, to jump off. Tellem Noting also had the advantage of having his trainer, and not his owner, in the plate. Given that he pulled fiercely going to post, sweated up badly and then set the pace, Mill Lord did well to lead up until three out, and his form at a higher standard presumably came when he was in a more sensible frame of mind. In a predictable joke, Libido was never interested and appears to have too big of an ego to bother with racing.

Polebrook Men's Open
1: Struggles Glory 2: Cedar Chief 3: Little Farmer
winner owned, trained & ridden by David Robinson
The venerable legend made his seasonal tally four out of four, even though he could not get the lead from Cedar Chief (who turned him over here last term) and had, by Struggles standards, a real off day with his jumping, making slight errors at the eighth and second last. Having gone for aggressive tactics and failed, Cedar Chief deserved to be runner-up, whereas Little Farmer is presumably sick of the sight of Struggles' backside. The fourth horse ran an interesting ('interesting' as in 'was it off?') race. Exodus was always on the heels of the pack, despite a couple of early mistakes, and however much the placed horses toiled - and they were going pretty slowly on the run-in, he was never asked to overtake. This was his first point, and better looks to be on the cards as he needed fast ground over hurdles.

Knight Frank Ladies' Open
1: Perky's Pride 2: Spring Gale 3: Gladtoknowyou
winner owned: Miss T Williams, ridden Charlotte Tizzard, trained Alan Tizzard
Connections found a wide open opportunity for Perky's Pride and he delivered without too much fuss. The three that chased him home comprised two that the years are catching up on, and one, Gladtoknowyou, that has not been as successful in points as her Rules form would suggest is possible. As far as Spring Gale goes, this was probably his best run of the season.

Chapple Chase Open Maiden
1: Commander Clover 2: Wanna Be Bay 3: Blakes Road
winner owned SP Tindall, ridden Chris Gordon, trained Jenny Gordon
There was a great sense of deja vu about this event, as last year's third, Blakes Road repeated his performance, again weakening late on like a horse for whom stamina is a problem, and Sir Henrik, eventually fourth, put up another promising effort. Sir Henrik was pulled up last year, on his debut, and had done so in both runs this term, but he had apparently suffered a loss of confidence after getting battered about a bit in both heats, and this will have done him a world of mental good for his next race. The winner, Commander Clover, had also acquired a couple of Ps in his form lately but had earlier shown enough to suggest he could win a race. Wanna Be Bay had less to recommend her, as this was only her second completion, and kind of seals the doubt on the strength of the race. One to note amongst the pulled ups is five year old Master Alf. He looks up to the job in build, but was green beforehand on this racecourse debut and ambled around at the rear before pulling up after fence twelve. He will improve on this down the line.

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