Marriotts Over The Moon With Dabinett:
Eighth Victory Tastes Sweet For Proud Couple
Remarkable mare Dabinett Moon again showed exactly why she is the apple of Fran and Chris Marriott's eye when bounding to another success at the North Warwickshire Hunt Club at Mollington on Saturday.
Named after an apple popular with Somerset cider makers, the daughter of Midnight Legend has won eight races since getting off the mark at the Heythrop last year. Given a confident ride by regular partner Claire Hart in the William Powell Ladies Open, the eight-year-old once again showed too much speed for her rivals.
The Marriotts, who own, train and bred the mare at their Chipping Norton base, said: "She's got quite a bit of toe and the faster she goes, the better she is. She won the Mares race on this card last year but we opted for the Ladies as she had a stone less weight to carry.
"She's only little and 12st in this ground [officially described as Good to Soft, Soft in Places] wouldn't have been fair on her. Last year she wouldn't have coped with it at all but she's much stronger now."
Despite landing the Subaru Restricted Final at Stratford last term, the mare is ineligible for Hunter Chases this season after a spell under rules in the autumn so will stay between the flags for the remainder of the campaign.
A tremendously brave performance saw Alan Hill's Consigliere land the Hatton Arms Mens Open race. The 13-year-old, under the trainer's son Joe, was locked in battle with Out Now but forged ahead as his challenger's stamina gave way two out. The race looked over but the winner, tiring, could only clamber over the last and lost momentum. Crawling up the run-in, Hill's charge looked vulnerable to the staying-on Mister Teddy but he found more close home to secure a neck victory.
"He went on again when he had company," said the winner trainer, "All being well, he'll have two more runs at Kingston Blount in May and it would be fun to go for the area's top horse award."
Winning rider Joe added: "He's an absolute superstar and the bravest horse I've sat on. His next race is over 2m 5f and that should suit him well."
The former David Pipe inmate has now won seven of his nine starts between the flags for current connections.
The Kim Smyly-trained Minerfortyniner (David Maxwell) completed a hat-trick in the Connolly's Red Mills Intermediate but had to share the honours with Celia Plunkett's Squirrel Esquire (James Martin) after a thrilling dead-heat. The latter stayed resolutely up the hill, closing with every stride, and the judge was unable to split the pair.
"It's annoying he didn't win outright but he puts his head down and really tries," said Plunkett, "He was fifth in the Intermediate Final as a six-year-old but has had niggling problems which caused him to missed last season. He's stronger now and seems in good form so we would like to go back to Cheltenham this year."
Owner/rider Maxwell, although disappointed not hang on to his advantage, was philosophical in defeat: "It was the right call. It was very close and the judges don't have the benefit of technology. This horse is progressive but he won't go for the Final, we'll look for an Open before the end of the season."
Maxwell was still on a high after partnering Mendip Express to an excellent third in the Fox Hunters' at Aintree on Thursday: "It was so exciting, I had a great spin. The buzz at Aintree was fantastic and now I've tasted being placed in the race, I need to work out a way to win it! We'll have another crack at On The Fringe at Punchestown first."
A slick jumping performance enabled the consistent She's Real to run out an easy winner of the TBA Mares race. The Chatfeild-Roberts Family's eight-year-old, trained by Helen Connors, picked off her rivals with ease before scampering up the hill impressively.
Winning rider Tom Chatfeild-Roberts said of the seven-time Point scorer: "I hoped I had plenty under me and she quickened up nicely. She jumped really well and a Hunter Chase is something we'll think about but she loves Garthorpe."
A four-time course winner at the Leicestershire venue, there is a TBA Mares race at the track on May 8th.
The decision to move the fixture back to late afternoon to coincide with the later running of the Grand National was welcomed by race goers and after watching Rule The World triumph on the big screen, attention reverted to the Point-to-Point action.
Velvet Royale (Tom McClorey) became the third mare to score on the afternoon in the Subaru Restricted race. An eye-catching runner-up when given too much to do in a similar contest at Kingston Blount last month, the success provided local handler Richard Pringuer with a third training victory.
The consistent Oi Oi Savaloi got his head in front for the first time at the 16th attempt between the flags in the closing Lodders Solicitors Open Maiden. A runner-up at the venue last season, the gelding claimed long-time leader Delgany Devil close home under Patrick Millington. It was the veteran owner/trainer/rider's first success for five seasons.