IT was almost back to a normal point-to-point on a blustery day on the showground on Sunday: Big crowd, 54 runners, strong line of nine bookies, divided race, good pre-Christmas atmosphere. The only unusual thing was that it kept fine and I backed a few winners.
Moratorium (5-4 into 4-7) was given a very confident ride off the pace by his novice jockey Nathan Green in the opening Conditions event to repeat his Dunsmore success. He got a good run up the rails round the final bend to win easily in the end. The ex-Gigginstown horse couldn’t spell his name on the race card or reveal his age, sex or colour – but that missing information amazingly applied to every horse on the race card. The Roestone (11-2) gave Charlie O’Shea a good spin to finish second, but caught a tartar in the winner.
Safe Harbour (7-2) looked a bit unsafe and soon got rid of Will Biddick in the first divided Maiden. Evron (2’s to 6-4 fav) had run really well behind a certainty at Dunsmore and was given a sympathetic ride by Josh Newman to pop his head in front near the finish. He can win again when upgraded. Runner up Transition Period (solid 3’s) spoilt his chance with some novicey jumping. His shrewd yard will soon have him winning. Hillbilly Filly (14-1) will do better in time and Ballynaglogh (8-1) showed ability until getting tired.
Escapeandevade (evens to 4-5) became the third successive winning jolly in the second Maiden section. Tom Malone’s Westerner gelding galloped on relentlessly to win as he liked and looks the type to progress under rules. School For Scandal (20-1) defied his odds to finish runner up on only his second run. By a good sire, he will improve. The mare Honest Opinion (5-2 to 9-4) keeps getting placed, and four-year-old Lighthouse Mill (10’s to 9’s) made a pleasing debut.
So three winners and plenty of spending money for the Christmas market across the barn. Easy game isn’t it? The answer is no because Goldbury (5-2 to 13-8 fav) got no further than the 13th fence before pulling up in the Ladies’. The winner Quite By Chance (9-1) got a good ride from Lauren Reed and has evidently retained his zest after a grand rules career. Nikki Steel showed a willing attitude to finish best of the chasing pack. He did well in his class for Dr Newland under rules and Robert Chanin can get another race out of him.
Sykes (9-4 after a snippet of 4’s) battled on well under Darren Edwards to win the Men’s Open, just fending off Sir Mangan (1-2 to 11-10), whose rider dropped his whip half way up the run in. Singapore Saga (7-1) was a close third and the Midnight Legend mare could prove a shrewd buy out of the Hobbs yard for pointing by John Heard.
There was a lot of money flying about the ring for Pyle Restricted winner Post No Bills (evens to 1-2) in the Intermediate. Some lumpy bets looked sure to be landed as he jumped clear three out, but Biddick had other ideas and got a good run on the rails up the hill on Voie Dans Voie (100-9) to take the prize. Getaway Honey (8’s to 6’s) was travelling well just behind the leaders when pulled up sharply when looking amiss four out.
The Restricted was a formality for Truckers Pass (1-2 to 4-7) who became the fourth winning favourite of the day, giving Will Biddick a treble and his seventh winner of the season. The horses to take out of the race however could be Teresa Clark’s pair of Fountains Chief (10-1) and Bennys Miracle (8-1) who filled the minor places.
Cover Photo Credit: Athwenna Irons/WMN