APRIL 2004
by Arthur Shone

Yesterdays’ Wynnstay Hunt meeting between the flags at Eaton Hall, near Chester had almost everything. There were the usual thrills and spills and a hint of controversy thrown in for good measure, sadly the only thing missing was a few more runners, there were only 33 runners to contest the 8 races.

A huge crowd of around 8,000 were on hand in glorious sunshine to witness an end of an era in the Ladies Open. The legendary super tough pointer Ballisteros, the winner of 23 point-to-points, three of which have been this year, ran in his last point to point race at the course. However there was to be no fairytale ending for the old boy, who went off the 4-6 jolly under Jane Williams. The combination had no answer for the improving mare Jackie Jarvis who beat the jolly soundly by 12 lengths under Katherine Diggle in the fastest time of the day in 6 minutes dead. The winner is trained by John Swindells at Tarporley, who is keen to run her in the Bangor Final providing the ground is fast.

If Shropshire rider Richard Burton retains his National Riders Championship, he will look back on two of the easiest winners of his tally at the Cheshire course. The first leg came with Jemaro in the Mens’Open, who made almost every yard of the running under Burton to beat the only other finisher Harry Hotspur by a distance. The winner is trained at Sheriff Hales by Caroline Beasley for her father Jeremy. Caroline was full of praise for her charge afterwards she said, ”I have had him since he was an unbroken 4yr old and he is still the same then as he is now. He is so enthusiastic about his racing and never gives in. I wish I had a yard full of horses like him”. Gary Hanmer pulled up the Peter Morris trained Lord Of The West at the last fence when he looked tired and exhausted after trying to go the pace with Jemaro. Anthony Perry, the senior steward on duty at the course sent a vet immediately to the last fence to examine the horse, and he also interviewed Hanmer, which resulted in the stewards not holding an enquiry. I have always found Anthony Perry to be a fair man and he explained his decision to the press afterwards. He said, ”The stewards took evidence from the vet who said the horse was not marked and that he recovered his normal heart beat after the race and we were satisfied that Hanmer had not breached any rules.”

Burton went on to complete a double and record his 33rd winner of the season when Karzhang walked over in the Intermediate, also trained by Caroline Beaseley, her 6th of the season.

Everything comes to he who waits, which was reflected in the aptly named Robert The Rascal winning the first division of the Maiden under John Barlow by a fast diminishing half a length from Snitton Salvo. This was the winners first win in his 5th season as a maiden. The Scottish Reel gelding is trained near Macclesfield by Charmaine James for owner Ceri James from Addlington in Cheshire, who said afterwards that his horse had had problems, but always seemed to like really fast ground.

The second division of the Maiden went to Mullarts Lad who won readily by 12 lengths under Stuart Ross from Hendrix. The winner is owned and trained at Rugeley by Jane Froggatt, who bought her charge privately in Ireland last December.

There is nothing like keeping things in house with the Wynnstay Hunt. New Ross, trained by the Wynnstay Committee Chairman Jonathon Turner at Prees Heath, near Whitchurch, won the Michael Worthington Novice Riders race with his daughter Annabel in the plate, who had to pull out all the stops the repel the fast finishing Wychnor King by a length at the post. This is the 22-year-old riders first season pointing and her second winner on the horse, as she had earlier won on him at Larkhill. Annabel works locally for Halls Estate Agents at Shrewsbury.

Malpas based rider Tessa Clark cemented her lead in the ladies area championship after she notched up her 5th win of the season on The Lord Roberts, who won unchallenged from flag fall by an easy 15 lengths from Royrace. The winner is trained not far from Tessa at Malpas by Anne Hewitt for owner Marigold de Quincy.

Leighton trainer Jonathon Lee must be thinking this training game is easy after Dare provided him with his second winner in his first season. The Beveled gelding never came off the bit under David Barlow to beat Fornaught Alliance easing down by 15 lengths. The winner is owned by a syndicate from Welshpool, which consist of the trainer James Potter and Jim Blurton.