Despite the imposing black clouds, as always a large crowd was welcomed at the second meeting this season at Dingley and favourite backers were rewarded with 4 of the 6 races going to the favourite.
The clerks of the course Charles Reynolds and Charles Milington along with the Fernie Hunt connections had worked hard to ensure official going of good to firm.
An eventful Midlands Area Club Members opened racing where the first fence departure of Van Ness left Mendo with a decidedly easier task to eventually come home 6 lengths in front of Walter's Laddie (Johnny Bailey) and a further 25 lengths ahead of Sorry Al (Rupert Stearn). The winner was patiently ridden by Gemma Hutchinson before taking the lead at the 11th and staying on resolutely to record his second win of the season in the fastest time of the day.
Johnny Bailey improved on his second in the opener to take The H J Hall Confined Hunts Race aboard his father's trained Pennytino. The consistent mare was always prominent, going half a length clear 2 out and just staying on ahead of the battling Duke of Kentford (Nick Pearce) and Pass The Class (Sam Hutchinson) a further 20 lengths back in third.
The first of the Maidens, the Bishop Beamish Confined Maiden Race saw only 4 go to post and it seemed a fitting tribute that Patrick Millington was able to secure his first success of the season at the course where his father, Rod, invested so much interest. David's City was content to follow long time leader Hooky's Quest before securing the better jump at the last and running on well.
The second of the Maidens, the Watling JCB Ltd Open Maiden Race went to Park Run to provide Henry Kinchen with his first win of the season on his retiring ride. Finishing on a high, Henry rode a patient, waiting race to ensure that Park Run saw out the distance in this extended trip Maiden when joining long time leader Strategic Princess 3 fences from home. Gallant in defeat Strategic Princess is worthy of watching closely next time out: a 5 year old mare she has recorded a hugely promising debut run and will no doubt be in the winning enclosure before too long.
The feature race of the day, the Welland Valley Feeds Ltd Fernie 4 miler Mixed Open went to The King of Angels with Nick Pearce aboard deputising for the earlier injured Richard Hunnisett to provide Gerald Bailey with a training double for the day. The winner, prominent for most of the race, established a 2 length lead 4 out and stayed on well ahead of the battling Limerick Leader (Gemma Hutchinson) and Aztec Warrior (George Henderson).
A "never say die" ride from Will Telfer in the Sharnford Tractors Ltd Restricted Race saw Doctor Kingsley follow up on his Whitfield Maiden win. Off the bridle after 3 fences he responded well to the urgings of the jockey and came home 3 and a half lengths in front of the consistent Ted Gunther (Dale Peters) with Mambo Ruler (Rupert Stearn) a further 6 lengths back in third. "He's fine when he's been round the course before, that's why he liked Whitfield - he seems to know where he's going!" Said trainer, Pauline Harkin of the winner.