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Sunday 19th March 2006

by Geoff Handley
photos by Neale Blackburn

It was good to see racing return to the South Midland Region following the loss of Dunthrop and Brafield-On-The-Green, indeed the last area meeting was here at the end of February.

The official going was described as Good/Good to Firm in places and having walked the track prior to racing and braving the bitterly chill winds at this exposed venue, the course appeared in perfect condition.

A field of six contested the members with victory going to the Sylvia Edmunds trained Teeton Glaive for the second consecutive year with the eleven year old mare recording her fifth career victory. Finished third last time in a well contested Intermediate at Kingston Blount behind the useful pair of Tooley Park and Palmers Peak form which should work out well, the first two home that day are well worth following. Ridden by Richard Barrett this afternoon, the pace was a modest one with the field tightly clustered on the first circuit, Teeton Glaive took up the running on the second circuit and was never headed again comfortably seeing off the opposition with Kingfisher Niamh ten lengths behind in second and Wild Spice running on for third.

Teeton Glaive was a solid 4/1 chance in the ring, the two market leaders were most disappointing, Simply The One the 5/4 favourite was given a patient ride by Harry Fowler, held up though vital mistakes at the 6th and 16th didn’t help but when asked for an effort at the business end of the race found very little. The market rival Grecian Star opened at 6/4 but soon drifted out to 9/4, the Jimmy Tarry ridden fourteen year old a winner of six points and two Hunter Chases finished last of the six runners and his better days are behind him now.

Teeton Glaive and Dickie Barratt showing off ot the last in the members

The time of 6/19 was twenty two seconds faster than the corresponding race last season even though there was no great pace to the race.

Just like the opening race, there was a modest pace to this Confined with all eight runners tightly packed first time round, Tate Tirol was the first to weaken approaching the thirteenth leaving the rest of the seven runners to fight out the finish, Bullfinch under Tim Lane finished best of all, a good jump at the last sealed issues and won going away from Three Spires in second and the favourite Finbar’s Revenge in third. Shiny Bay with Nick Pearce on board ran a decent race and had every chance two out; he will come on for his seasonal debut and could be worth watching in a similar race particularly under softer conditions.

This was Bullfinch's second points win for Brackley trainer Derek Frankland. His only other victory came in the mud at Kingston Blount two years ago in a six runner Confined. A winner six times over hurdles for Richard Phillips, he even ran at Royal Ascot in the Brittania, an ultra competitive mile handicap for Peter Walwyn.

Bullfinch has cut no ice so far in his three attempts in Hunter Chases and his overall strike rate of two victories from twenty one starts in Points/HC's does not make him a strong betting proposition.

Hornbill and Tim Lane lead the field on route to the confined hunts spoils

One to note from this race was the Caroline Bailey trained Ardmayle, under a very tender ride from Jonathon Bailey, held up at the back, he absolutely flew up the hill and looks ready to strike next time particularly if stable jockey Rowan Cope is on board.

Wood Colony was being backed in the ring like defeat was out of the question, opening at 4/6 but sustained support saw him tighten to 4/7, the Nick Pearce ridden favourite was held up in fourth place and had just joined the leaders still travelling well when coming to grief at the fourteenth. An impressive winner last time in a Kingston Blount Restricted, this Jimmy Tarry trained eight year old can make amends next time, don’t miss him.

Intermediate winners Bolide Du Aunay and James Tudor lead favourite Wood Colony and Nick Pearce

The fall of the hot favourite opened up the race for Bolide Du Aunas for the Aston Rowant yard of Alan Hill and stable jockey James Tudor, idling somewhat on the run in and just holding off the challenge by a length of Lord Attica who had been hampered at the fourteenth by the fall of Wood Colony. The winner has ran twice this season, unseating his rider when still travelling reasonable in that competitive Intermediate at Kingston Blount and a third at Tweseldown A fourth Points win for Bolide Du Aunas but is not always one to trust and was a beaten favourite three times last season including twice at odds on.

Ladies Open
Filscot followed up from the victory here at the Bicester With Whaddon Chase meeting, amazingly its now two out of two for the fourteen year old this season, previously without a win since 2002.Emily Harbour riding for her Mother, got a great leap out of Filscot at the last to win going away from the favourite, the Heather Kemp trained/ridden Lucky Bay, The favourite had gallantly tried to make all only to weaken two out, the time of the race was quick in 6 mins 13 secs.

Emily Harbour and Filscot over the last in the Ladies Open

Mighty Montefalco was very weak in the ring easing out to 5/2, the market was spot on as this ten year old gelding ridden by Suzanna Charrington who was having her first ride on this talented ten year old never seriously threatened the leaders, always in mid division finishing fifth, will be more competitive next time, the young jockey seemed to enjoy the race particularly given the difficult circumstances and she should learn a lot from the experience, The time of the race was the quickest of the day in 6 mins 13 secs

Mens Open
A stylish victory for Hot Toddy, given a patient ride by Nick Pearce, he was cruising along three out, hitting the front at the penultimate fence and holding off the determined finish of Be My Dream by a fast diminishing head. Persian Hero was third. The form of Hot Toddy's last race at Kingston Blount where he finished a close up third has worked out exceptionally well, the winner Christy Beamish went on to win a Newbury Hunter Chase at 6/1 and Another Raleagh won a Leicester Hunter Chase at 5/1 before winning on Saturday at Andoversford.

Hot Toddy and Nick Pearce lead Gilden Magic and Henry Kinchin in the Mens Open

Be My Dream looks like he is about to hit form and is worth watching in the next couple of weeks, finished sixth in Christy Beamish's race at Newbury, he is a winner of a Wincanton Hunter Chase.

Danaeve in fourth place stayed on strongly for Lenny Hicks after being driven along approaching three out The time of the race was 6mins 14 secs

Restricted (Div 1)
Jimmy Tarry gained his first success of the season and his 199th career win with Lah-Di-Dah-Lad in the first division of the Restricted. Not many jockeys know Mollington better than Jimmy and he was seen at his best here in getting this eleven year old home by just over a length from the fast finishing Outlaw Express.

Lah-Di-Dah-Lad always seems to appear at this course, has been rather frustrating of late, third on his seasonal debut in the Bicester Restricted he was a beaten fav twice at this course last season including in this same race last year, when particularly weak in the ring he finished runner up behind Murphy's Magic. Doesn’t always find much when coming off the bridle and tends to idle, no doubt that’s why he was allowed to start this afternoon at odds of 5/1.

Lah Di Dah Lad makes it 199 for Jimmy Tarry in the Restricted div 1

Favourite Northall Lad with Mathew Smith on board was held up in the rear and despite making some headway never really troubled the leaders and finished fifth of the twelve runners

Restricted (Div 2)
Only five of the original twenty three entries were declared to run, the second division brought success for Harry Fowler riding Kalypso De Laugere for trainer Jenny Pidgeon, a winner of his maiden on his seasonal debut last season at Tweseldown, though without a win since. He has been very consistent, running with some promise on both his runs this season in Restricted's at Ampton and Mollington.

I have rarely backed a horse solely on looks in the paddock but this eight year old looked in superb condition and credit must be given to the stable lass, the 5/1 on offer looked very tempting. Kalypso De Laugere looked to struggling at one stage as they went out for the second circuit, with the jockey giving him a reminder at he eleventh and then driving him along soon after, however he soon picked up the bridle and stayed strongly up the hill.

Harry Fowler aboard Kalypso De Laugere restricted Div 2

Runner up was Fred Hutsby's On Top, who looked all over the winner two out but had no answer to the winner. An easy winner of a Brocklesby maiden he was made favourite last time for a Kingston St Mary Restricted and was going well until a bad mistake at the fifteenth put pay to his chances, pulled up soon after, jumped big and bold today and should soon win his Restricted Jewell Song was the uneasy fav, he also looks well in the paddock and ran reasonably well to be third

Maiden (Div 1)
A field of fourteen contested the first division of the maiden and a surprise winner in Churchill Flyer for Sandra Greathead and jockey Henry Kinchin. Ran in this same event last year when pulled up and had not been seen since, not really fancied in the market drifting from 6's to 12's, he tried made all for this success but looked destined for the runners up spot as Two A Penny cruised past him two out only for her to weaken up the hill to allow Churchill Flyer back again for an unexpected but brave win, Two A Penny was my eyecatcher at Kingston Blount and this six year old mare looks a certainty for a maiden.

Churchill Flyer and Henry Kinchin drive to the line in the Maiden Div 1

Bruern was third and Madame Bavarde was fourth. Orton Playboy made a promising debut under Lennie Hicks, making eyecatching headway before weakening.

Maiden (Div 2)
By now many of the racegoers had left no doubt to get some warmth, even most of the bookies had gone here was only eight of them laying the odds for the finale. A good turnout of fifteen ruuners saw a well deserved success for French Boy who has been placed no less than ten times and giving Sue Harbour and daughter Emily a fine double on the day. Held up in mid division, he made good late headway to take up the running two out and held on well to see off Camisky by a length. Camisky was well supported in the ring (4's from 10's) and this Alan Hill trained six year old is one to watch. The favourite was debutante Little Miss Flute from Tom Issley's yard. He jumped really shoddily in rear making a mistake at many of the fences, not quite sure why he started fav and its back to the schooling grounds for this one.

Emily Harbour and French Boy maiden div 2 winners completing a first career double for Emily

As usual a well organised meeting by The Grafton Hunt, a total of 85 runners made for an entertaining days racing and helped to alleviate the bitter cold wind. Commentator Stewart Machin provided his usual informative race reading. For those who have not been to Mollington, it’s well worth a visit but wrap up well. It’s a great pity the next meeting clashes with the Grand National meeting on the 8th April as I will be at Aintree, always a shame to miss this model course.

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