SQUADRON was a useful performer under rules when trained by Alan King and the nine-year-old started his pointing career in good style with a convincing victory in the Ladies’ Open under Hannah Lewis. Jayo ran creditably to finish runner up in this small field and this ex-Willie Mullins trained chaser should be winning points before long for the Hawker family.
Squadron is now in the Westbury –On-Severn yard of his rider Hannah Lewis under the ownership of Chris Tilly, who was away in Ireland. “He is a class horse but we thought he was a bit short of work,” reported winning connections who have the AGA final at Stratford in mind later in the season.
Faasel followed up his Wadebridge victory with an easy win in the Men’s Open to give Michael Heard his fifth winning ride of the season. “There are no firm plans for Faasel, he is really enjoying himself,” commented owner/trainer John Heard.
Googoobarabajagal had earlier run below par for the Heard family in the Confined, failing to confirm Wadebridge form with Swansbrook who got the better of runner up Diamond Brook after a spirited battle. “We bought Swansbrook at Doncaster last May on the recommendation of Brendan Powell,” reported Sue Popham, who trains the gelding for joint owners David Meyrick and Peter Williams.
Double Bank did it the hard way in the Intermediate, leading from flagfall under Merv Woodward and holding on gamely when challenged by Doctor Tom from the last bend. “He doesn’t do anything at home and in the recent bad weather I have been indebted to two local farmers who have allowed me to gallop in their fields,” said Teign Valley trainer Emma Oliver.
King of Alcatraz, trained by Neil Harris, took the eye in the preliminaries and went on to score by eight lengths in the Restricted to set up a first riding double for Vicky Wade. Ladfromhighworth completed Vicky’s double in the first section of the Open Maiden. Camilla Scott handles this half brother to Man From Highworth on behalf of his owner/breeder Audrey Manners.
The Scott yard just failed to complete a double when newcomer Honours Insight was just held by 14-1 outsider Just Hattie in the concluding Open Maiden. Six-year-old mare Just Hattie proved to be a first winner for Ciaran Gethings on his second ride. The Wicklow born 18-year-old works in the Philip Hobbs yard and looked tidy on the winner, who was home bred by his Exford based trainer Dennis Branton for the aptly named Happy Team Syndicate.
1 Swansbrook (Michael Legg); 2 Diamond Brook (Lucy Gardner); 3 Hameldown Tor (Ed Barrett); 8 ran; 3 1/2l; 15l; 6 mins 33 secs
1 Faasel (Michael Heard); 2 Betabob (Robbie Henderson); 3 Ned The Post (Ed Barrett); 6 ran; 20l; 4l; 6m 36s
1 Squadron (Hannah Lewis); 2 Jayo (Charlotte Hawker); 3 Rainbow Tree (Alex Dunn); 6 ran; 2 1/2l; 6l; 6m 39s
1 Double Bank (Merv Woodward); 2 Doctor Tom (Tom David); 3 Blazing Whale (Ed Barrett); 9 ran; neck; 3 1/2l; 6m 48s
1 King of Alcatraz ( Vicky Wade); 2 Tachbury (Ed Barrett); 3 Briginthebranston (John Mathias); 12 ran; 8l; head; 6m 45s
Open Maiden Division 1
1 Ladfromhighworth ( Vicky Wade); 2 Gontdevon (Tom Chanin); 3 Getaway Driver (Michael Heard); 14 ran; 1l; 3/4l; 6m 54s
Open Maiden Division 2
1 Just Hattie (Ciaran Gethings); 2 Honours Insight (Stephen Croft); Putiacca Bella (Miss R Leyshon); 15 ran; 2l; dist; 6m 59s