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South Shropshire
Monday 5th May 2008
by Arthur Shone

The South Shropshire meeting at Eyton on Seven produced a very good days racing with plenty of close finishes and the warm weather attracted a bumper crowd to the Shropshire course. Wolverhampton trainer Sue Taylor took the training honours with a double, both of whom were ridden by top lady rider Claire Allen, who was recording her 14 th winner of the season.

The first leg came in the Ladies Open, which was a quality race. Joint 11-10 favourites at the off were the Sue Taylor trained Mad Victor with Claire Allen aboard and the Heidi Brookshaw trained Beautiful Dawn with Sammie Beddoes in the plate with the two market rivals fighting out the finish with victory going to the former by a length. The winner is also owned by the trainer Sue Taylor. The Old Vic gelding used to be trained last year by her partner Paul Jones, who now trains under rules. Jones also plans the races for all the horses in the yard. Speaking after the race, he said, ”He just gets better every year. That might be it now for the season, but we will have a look at the Bangor Final in two weeks time, it’s a possibility.”

Claire Allen was seen at her strongest in the Open Maiden aboard Frankie Bee, who got up in a head bopper on the line in the very final stride to mug Malt Max under Matt Sollitt by the shortest of short heads. I certainly did not envy the judge Peter Heaton as they flashed past the post as one. The winner is owned by the clerk of the course John Beddoes and is another of his successful home bred horses. Beddoes sent him to trainer Sue Taylor eight weeks ago, which looks a very shrewd move as her horses are in tremendous form this season.

The feature race on the card was the Volkswagen Touareg Mens Open which went to the Heidi Brookshaw trained Home Made, who made every yard from flag fall under Jonathan Jarrett to beat last years Bangor Final winner Border Fusion with Richard Burton in the plate by a length and a quarter. The gelding is owned by Pip Harney, the former joint master of the North Shropshire. Brookshaw was elated when I spoke to her afterwards, she said, ”He is a real star in the yard. Today the ground was perfect for him; he hated the ground at Bangor it was too soft. This is the first time that he has had proper opposition and he has come through it very well. I am not sure where he goes next, the Bangor Final could be possibility.”

Another horse to benefit from making every yard at Eyton was The Randy Bishop, who was given a very enterprising ride by Adam Wadlow. The combination never saw another horse and won easily by 10 lengths from Jakari with George Scott in the plate. The runner up is owned and trained by the South Shropshire Hunt secretary Jessica Scott. As for the winner he is owned and trained by David Roberts at Kenley, near Much Wenlock. This was Roberts first winner at his local course, this victory took him by surprise when I spoke to him afterwards, he said, “This wasn’t suppose to happen, it has taken me completely by surprise. He has had a lot of niggling injuries since he won his Maiden at Barbury Castle last year. Hopefully all of them are behind him now and I will run him next in the Intermediate Final at Exeter. He is a top of the ground horse, so I will send him to trainer John Groucott for a campaign of summer jump racing.”

Gordie Edwards horses are in good form this season and he has a very useful sort in Magnetic Pole who was not extended to beat Darnil by 5 lengths under a very confident ride from Barry Denvir in the Confined race. The gelding is owned by the trainer’s wife Sarah, who was bought for her by bloodstock agent David Minton, who was at the course to share in the celebrations. Gordie Edwards thinks a lot of the winner, speaking after the race he said. “He is improving all the time and I would like to run him in a Mens Open, but he will run next in a hunter chase at Uttoxeter or the Bangor Final. I have won that race three times and I would love to win another one.”

The two and a half mile Maiden was a thrilling affair with Alexander Zone under Stuart Ross needing the line to win by a fast diminishing head from Frankie Phlanagan under Phil York. The runner up was in front a stride past the post, but they pay out on the jam stick. The winner is trained at Ridware by Jane Froggatt. Froggatt has to thank her partner Martin Wanles, who has always been a fan of the horse as he bought him privately off Patrick Millington after Flagg Races this year. The race was marred by the death of the Sarah Faulks runner Rough Water, who fell at the last fence breaking his fetlock and had to be destroyed.

Patricks Double owned and trained at Evesham by Yvonne Goss provided her 19 year old son James Goss with his first ever winner between the flags, when winning the Restricted by 6 lengths from Ballywilliam Prince, with the fast finishing Badger a further lengths back in third. This was the trainers first full season training and she purchased the horse privately from Paul Webbers yard. The winning rider works for Evesham trainer James Evans

Once again the clerk of the course John Beddoes came in for much praise from the owners trainers and riders for the condition of the course. Claire Allen said that the ground was in perfect condition and a credit to Beddoes.

Vicky Jenks, the senior steward at the course made a very worthy presentation to the former North Western area chairman Roger Everall, who retired last season after over a decade in the job, he has been a great ambassador for this area and the new chairman George Barlow has a very hard act to follow. In recognition of all he has done for the area, he was presented with a framed photo of Lord Louis, when he won at Eyton in the colours of his wife Bridget and a set of cut glass whisky glasses, which I am sure our former chairman will make good use of.

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