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Monday 1st May 2006

by Geoff Handley

The crowds flocked to this popular evening May Day annual fixture despite racing taking place under rules at Warwick just four miles up the road., they were queuing through the leafy Warwickshire lanes to get onto the course. The racecourse itself is easy to find being just off the historic Fosse Way., having walked the track prior to racing there was a good covering of grass, it was a bit quicker at the top of the hill but the overnight rain had helped, the fences looked in good condition and well built and all looked set fair for a good evenings entertainment. The race goers are very enthusiastic at Ashorne, thronging both sides of the track from the final two fences to the winning post, cheering every horse as its goes past even if it’s tailed off.

The official going was good (good to firm in places)

Maiden (Div 1)
The last time I visited this course two years ago I commented upon the fact that I couldn't hear the commentary, sure enough the same happens again with the loudspeakers not working during the race, a heavy shower at the same time didn't make race reading very easy.

There was a surprise result in the opening race on the card with victory going to Treacy's Dot Com for Banbury trainer Julie Marles and jockey Charlie Wadland. This ex Irish pointer had cut no ice in eight Irish maidens, last season in the UK he ran unsuccessfully in four maidens for owner Mrs Aston and being labelled in the Mackenzie and Harris annual as " Ungenuine and one to ignore" He was subsequently sold at the Cheltenham May Sales for 3,500 gns to his present owner Mr D.Gee. This season this eight year old gelding had ran five times at various tracks, pulling up three times and finishing a well beaten last of four last Saturday at Kingston Blount behind another ex Irish Pointer Allow Dancer.

So on his eighteenth attempt in maidens, victory at last, held up in midfield by Charlie Wadland, he made relentless progress over the last two fences, staying on strongly over the far side rail to get up by just over a length from the well backed Mistress Cool, this five year old mare was getting a stone in the weights from the winner although jockey Rowan Cope had to put up 4 lb overweight at 11st 4 lbs, the combination looked all over the winner at the last until Treacy's Dot Com came from nowhere. Mistress Coole was always up with pace alongside the favourite Sydney Two Thousand who started at a skinny price of 5/4 in this sixteen strong field, he ran on one pace to be third for Bill Warner/Stuart Morris and maybe the ground was a bit lively for this one, a promising second last time at Guilsborough both the second and third warrant a close look next time out.

Time of 6.33,16 Ran

The race was delayed for fifteen minutes as damage to one of the fences in the previous race was repaired.

Again the commentary was barely audible, can we please increase the volume for next year?

Rowan Cope soon gained compensation for his narrow defeat in the opener as he drove home the 6/4 favourite, the promising mare Velvet Dove for owner/trainer Pauline Adams. Its now four victories from ten starts and she is developing into a decent stayer and very much one to follow. Ended last season with a triumph in the mares final at Garthorpe together with winning her maiden at Brafield-on-

the- Green in the fastest time of the maidens, her third victory was gained this season in an Intermediate again at Garthorpe.She battled on bravely up the hill to hold off the determined challenge of Boyne Banks and Tessa Good by a half a length with second fav Silver Buzzard a head third for Stuart Morris.

(drifted from 3's to 5's) In fourth was Crown and Cushion who was making eye-catching headway on the inside rail when he ruined his chance by jumping left, this 10 year old could win soon at a nice price, Kim Sly/Henry Kinchin partnership.

The time of 6.23 was decent, 14 Ran

Open Maiden (Div 2)
Just like the opening maiden there was a shock result but it was good to see the fourteen year old Jovian Pond at last get his head in front with Robert Sealey aboard. (Fred Hutsby trained) Again like the first winner, if at first you don’t succeed try again, indeed this was Jovian's Pond nineteenth attempt between the flags and prior that he had twenty runs without success under rules, making his debut back in

1997 for Paul Webber's Cropredy stables in a Southwell bumper. There was nothing to indicate this season that a success was on the cards, failing to complete in his three maidens at Lockinge, Andoversford and Holnicote.

In the race itself it paid to be up with the pace, with Jovian Pond always up with leaders in a tightly packed field, he held off the challenge of Imps Reflection and Luke Morgan who was also always up with the pace. Running on strongly in third was Madame Bavarde who made a couple of mistakes; she can win a maiden for Emily Harbour.

Time was 6.44, Eleven seconds slower than the first division, 11 Ran

Ten went to post in the Members Race and an easy victory for the 2/1 Favourite, Stormy Pass ridden by trainer Tom Ellis, always travelling well just off the pace he made good headway three out and only having to be pushed out to beat his sister Laura on Airmark who bravely tried to make all. This was the winners third victory and the second this season following his victory in a Mollington Restricted on Grand National Day, missed the whole of 2005 following a leg injury, he won his maiden back in 2003.

Just like Jovian Pond he was another who ran under rules from Paul Webber's yard failing to trouble the judge in five runs.

He can certainly win again, The third placed State Medlar finished like a train, market rival Cedar could run on at the one pace to finish fourth for Charlie Wadland,

Time 6.31, 10 Ran

Mixed Open
Only five runners to post and a second consecutive victory in this race for Irilut and Sam Waley-Cohen and a ninth career win.

This was Sam's only ride of the afternoon having ridden a cracking race on Liberthine to be fourth in Sandown's Betfred Gold Cup and fresh from his victories on the same horse in the Topham and Katarino in the Aintree Foxhunters.

Irilut looked really well in the paddock, his coat shining brightly, in the race itself he was always just behind the leading two of Corletto and Kjetil, he gradually took it up three out but credit to Corletto (sweated up badly in the paddock) he battled on gamely up the hill to be beaten by a neck, friendless in the market from 12's to 25's, Irilut was last seen in the highly competitive Lady Dudley Cup where a blunder at the twelfth put pay to any chances pulling up soon after, ran in the Cheltenham Foxhunters at the Festival and was second behind Foly Pleasant in a Hunters Chase at Warwick. Won rather cleverly today and the shrewd connections can place this one to win again.

Market rival Reel Dancer for Julie Marles/Charlie Wadland didn’t appear in the paddock until the bell went to mount, the others had been parading for ten minutes, not sure why he was so late, in the race itself he was held up before making some headway on the second circuit, but could never reach the leaders in third, Kjetil a well backed 3/1 shot for Caroline Bailey/Rowan Cope was fourth.

The fifth runner Shiny Bay the mount of Nick Pearce was still with the other four runners when pulling up soon after jumping the tenth, he dismounted and walked back,

6.22: 5 Ran

Novice Riders
Victory went to the impressive Mighty Montefalco in emphatic style and giving Suzi Charrington her second win on this classy individual. One would imagine that a Hunter Chase will be the next target for this ten year old gelding, he made eye-catching headway on the home turn and stayed on strongly up the hill to win going away by 3 lengths, given a fine ride on the 2/1 favourite and the fourth to win this evening.

Suzi Charrington first rode Mighty Montefalco at Mollington at the start of the season, it drifted in the betting that day, and threatened the leaders finishing in mid division, however the jockey very much seemed to enjoy the race and no doubt learning from the experiece.Subsequent placings followed at Chaddesley Corbett and Andoeversford (stayed on well) before her first success last week at Woodford where the connections received an emotional reception. Looked well as usual in the paddock and no doubt trainer Alison de lisle Wells can place this rapidly improving sort to win again. This was a fifth career win between the flags and also won five times for Jonjo O'Neill including a quick fire four timer with Tony McCoy on board.

Aircon was second and Filscot third,

The second favourite was Nokimover who just like last week blundered and unseated Alex Vaughan-Jones, this time at the penultimate fence, about five lengths behind the leaders at the time, had made a couple of earlier mistakes including a bad one at the tenth.

6.24: 7 Ran

The low evening sun meant four fences were omitted resulting in only fourteen fences being jumped, the sun also made it difficult to pick out the runners down the far side, Victory went to fifth successful favourite on the card in Pro Am for Ben Tuckey and narrowly holding off the determined challenge of Waggy and Rachel Reynolds.Pro Am had gone into many notebooks last season in a Mollington maiden, heavily backed that day, eventually rewarding those punters who stuck by him with a victory earlier in the season in a Kingston Blount maiden.

8 Ran

Seventy one runners in total, very good for a Bank Holiday fixture, there was however no discount for single occupancy (£15) and the race card at £2.50 was packed full of adverts, a plan of the course should be imperative.

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