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Saturday 4th March 2006

by Simon McInnes

Racing was put back half an hour, but a bright and sunny day meant that the previous night’s sharp frost had disappeared with a touch of comfort. The crowd was solid, helped by the fact that Lingfield, having picked up a valuable jumps meeting from Doncaster, were determined to change it to a cheap all-weather flat one as soon as possible. Incidentally, given that during the much touted south-east drought the turf track at Lingfield has been officially heavy all winter, surely the management are wasted at a racecourse and ought to be applying the aqua knack in the water companies. After a quiet time of it last season, the Turner travellers from East Anglia continued their run of fruitless forays into the area. However, both maidens went to horses qualified in the west country – will there be more coming in search of easier opportunities?

Robert Wilkins Hunt Members, Subscribers & Farmers
1: Little Farmer 2: Amanda Hugankiss

Winner owned: Mr C Hall & Mrs and Mrs W Cooper, trained: Di Grissell, ridden: Philip Hall
With only four entries it was no surprise to see this descend into a match. Open level winner Little Farmer had no problem accounting for his unraced rival, although there was a hint of a wobble on the turn by the horsebox park once. Amanda Hugankiss was never quite on the winner’s heels, and her tendency to jump left meant that she was not equipped to worry Little Farmer. There will be easier chances – as the maidens at the end of today’s card proved.

Mitchell & Cooper Restricted
1: Change The Plan 2: Tellem Noting 3:Joye Des Iles

Winner owned & trained: Mrs C Gorman, ridden: Marcus Gorman
This was the start of a good day for Gorman operation, with Change The Plan again reacting positively to the tactics employed successfully at Charing. Initially held up, he took on the leader going well at fence fourteen, and soon went for a serious attack. However, it became exceedingly hard work, as Tellem Noting, who had ensured a good pace, proved a very stubborn rival who would not concede the lead until the final fence. A stable mate of Tellem Noting, ridden by their owner-trainer was third, but Joye Des Iles was never in contention, ambling around at his own speed and gaining places as others dropped out - to some an ungentlemanly way of acquiring £45. Travelling up from the New Forest, Dursey Island ought to have been a contender, but shaped like an out and out plodder, eventually being strolled out of third in the home straight.

Highfield Farm Ladies’ Open
1: Millennium Way 2: Dick McCarthy 3: Physical Graffiti
Winner owned, trained & ridden: Caroline Taylor
Compared to some opens staged at Godstone, this was a well contested heat, but Millennium Way was not prepared to accept any nonsense from his rivals and won easily, kicking clear five from the finish and never being in danger afterwards. Physical Graffiti was an out and out two miler over hurdles, and is an unlikely presence in points. Perhaps he was an accidental purchase, with a communication breakdown over lot numbers at the sales. I could go on in this vein, but it would be against popular demand. Thus it was no surprise that he lost second late on to the slower but enduring Dick McCarthy. Hunter chases over shorter might be a better option. Exodous was a bit unlucky to not make the frame at least last week, but this time he ran out of steam a long way out to end up posting a disappointing effort.

Volkswagen Touareg Men’s Open
1: Cape Stormer 2: Danaeve 3: Tom Cobbler
Winner owned & ridden: Marcus Gorman, trained: Carolyn Gorman

T he second success of the day for the Gorman team, but Cape Stormer did make things more difficult for himself than looked likely as his rivals were toiling in the last circuit. However, the stormer had rather blown himself out too early and slowed dramatically after two out. Danaeve did not seem overly keen to take advantage, but on the other hand Cape Stormer did respond to the pressure from the saddle as well. Tom Cobbler had a bit more ground to make up than the runner up, and he did no more than plug away, inching closer at an inadequate rate. This was his seasonal bow, and he will improve for it. Ichi Cavalo, already successful this season in open company, tried to take the winner on in the early stages and suffered the consequences later. His jumping once tired became very scrappy and he ended up well adrift.

Ward-Thomas Removals & Moves Group Confined
1: Old Kilminchy 2: Monarch Ruler 3: Lord Euro
Winner owned & trained: Mrs C Gorman, ridden: Marcus Gorman
This was the completion of Marcus Gorman’s hat trick, and no doubt he sat down for a well earned rest afterwards as each leg required progressively more effort from the saddle. Old Kilminchy was in receipt of some stern reminders with barely a mile travelled and ran either lazily or slowly, or both, but he led at the fourth last and wore the will to fight out of Monarch Ruler, who went off favourite. Lord Euro made hard work of getting over some of the obstacles, but ran fairly well in the end. The trouble is that he does this fairly often but cannot seem to convert the promise into many wins. The only other one to really keep tabs on the main trio was Steve The Fish, who slowed up at the fourteenth and was soon pulled up and dismounted.

Questgates Open Maiden, Horses & Geldings
1: The Bag Man
Winner owned: Mr A Beaumont-Hope and Mrs & Mrs N Staines, trained: Mrs K Staines, ridden: Steve Spice
As he stood out a mile on fitness in the preliminaries, The Bag Man had to win this race (forget the Super 14 or Gruesome Twosome, this was the Feeble Foursome) or connections would have to accept it was time to give up. The market had Friar Peter as favourite, presumably because Rilly Goschen had migrated across the nation to ride. He was beaten in second and very, very tired when pulled up before the last. At the same point Padamul also jacked it in, having struggled over the third and second from the finish, coming to a halt on landing each time. So The Bag Man broke his duck on merit and things will start to get tougher.

Panacur/TBA PPORA Club Members Mares' Maiden
1: Parsons Fancy 2: Arofield 3: May Zee Wong
Winner owned: Mr TJC Seegar, trained: Mark Gillard, ridden: Rilly Goschen

Rather like the previous race, the winner was visiting from afar and stood out for fitness in the paddock, but the ladies did conjure six runners - one of them an unraced twleve year old. Apart from a couple of slight errors, Parsons Fancy was always travelling better than her rivals and had the race won when Hilly Be – also looking pretty well tuned up – made a terrible hash of the second last and unseated. Arofield, who dispensed with the rider's services on her debut and came close to a repeat at the fourteenth, inherited second and at least made a little progress on her opening effort. May Zee Wong was second in a two finisher race last season, and is probably far less talented than the numbers by her name imply.


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