Crowds flocked to enjoy the spring sunshine and a seven race card at the Kimblewick Hunt's second meeting of the season staged at Kingston Blount Racecourse. Findlay's Find, sent off the 4-6 favourite in the five runner feature race of the day - the Philip Scouller Memorial Southern Grand National, Mixed Open Race – a stayers test - run over 4 miles, never travelled in the early stages but made up ground towards the end. Sent to post at 6-1, Cheyanwe, the only mare in the field, tracked the leaders for the duration of the race, jumping the last well to take the lead on the run in from the gallant long-time leader Moscow Blaze, to win by three quarters of a length. Early leader Alpha Native partnered by Susannah Gill finished 3rd.
"She is a good and consistent mare but ran poorly on her last two outings" explained trainer and rider of the winner, David Kemp, "But this time the good ground and 4 miles gave her time to warm to the task." He added "We will look for the next 4 mile race which will probably be at Dingley in three weeks' time and it is likely she will retire at the end of this season."
Trainer Tim Underwood and jockey Katy Lyons, gained their first leg of a double in the most dramatic race of the day. Three went to post in the PPORA Club Members Race with the 1-4 favourite, Tallow Fair, taking up the running after the ninth fence and looking to be going well when he tried to run off the course bend with five left to jump. This left sixteen year old Lilly Pinchin, (wearing the silks designed to support cancer victim, Maddie Hems), aboard Marblehead with a long lead over Karasakal. Unaware that Tallow Fair was living up to his reputation of 'being a bit of a monkey' (and was now running on again in hot pursuit of the leader - overtaking Karasakal on the way), Pinchin set off for home. With just the last to jump for a certain victory and a first success between the flags, the crowd gasped as the pair bypassed the fence in error leaving the unruly Tallow Fair to claim the win. "He can be difficult at home" reported Underwood of Tallow Fair's earlier behaviour, "He needs another horse on his outside to keep him on track." Pinchin was disqualified and fined £75.00 for her pain.
In a much more straightforward affair, the second half of the Underwood Lyons double came in the six runner concluding race of the day - the Restricted - when Carnglave Cat, the 6-4 favourite got the better of Celtic Intrigue to win by one and three quarter lengths. "I bought him from Ireland as a cheap horse for £1500.00," confided Underwood, "He was 2nd and only just beaten on his first run for the yard two weeks ago but the tongue tie made all the difference today."
Alan Hill's locally trained King's Legacy took the Confined Race, partnered by son Joe in a seven runner race. Unsure whether the evens favourite would handle a left handed track, he proved his doubters wrong to hit the front at the fifteenth, where he stayed all the way to the line. Mr Raj, under Tom Ellis, chased him home. Hill said of the eleven year old geldings first appearance this season, "He was very ill in the summer with acute liver failure and was rushed to the vet and put on a drip – he was brought back into work slowly with lots of hunting in the Autumn to build up his muscle, but most importantly he needs good ground which he got here today."
It was a family affair in the seven runner 2m 5f Maiden Race when the Julie Marles trained 7-1 shot, Western Movie, led for the majority of the race to win easily. Owned by the Hopkinson Family - who hunted him all season and ridden by Gordon Hopkinson, he put fifteen lengths between him and the evens favourite Emperor Arcadius. "We've always thought a lot of him" said his delighted trainer "The boys take it in turns to ride him - he is a true family horse".
Midnight Monkey, sent off the evens favourite could only manage second to the 9-4 backed Steel Away J in the four runner Open Maiden Race. Partnered by Nick Meek, Steel Away J managed to hold off the challenge from the fast finishing Midnight Monkey to win by 4 lengths. "He struggled with his jumping last season and was still a little slow at his fences last weekend but we were beaten by the better horse", reported owner trainer Chris Loggin, "But he got his act together today," he added with a smile.
Sent to post the 1-6 favourite in the three runner PPORA Club Members for Novice Riders Race, Lake Legend - trained by Gabe Mahon and ridden by daughter Lara - did not disappoint his backers to win easily by twenty lengths from Safe Investment ridden by Harry Wallace. Connections of the winner reported the aim of the race was to build his confidence following his fifth place in a Hunters' Chase back in February and that he will probably be aimed at a Men's Open next, followed by another Hunters' Chase at the end of the season.