Scrap­per scours the smaller tracks for some value

Racing Ahead - - CONTENTS -

Con­grat­u­la­tions to for­mer point-to­point rider Nico de Boinville for a tremen­dous ride on Coney­gree at Chel­tenham. Two years ear­lier, I guess, he’d have been watch­ing the Gold Cup on the TV while phon­ing around for week­end spare rides at Hack­wood Park.


Walk­ing the course be­fore rac­ing I was pleas­antly sur­prised at how well the track had been put back to­gether fol­low­ing the very muddy meet­ing here a fort­night ago. The ground­staff had done a mag­nif­i­cent job get­ting it so level.

Af­ter all the re­cent rain the go­ing was ex­tremely testing. The first race had to be de­layed by 10 min­utes while an am­bu­lance was ex­tracted from the glue.

It turned out to be a mem­o­rable day for the An­drews fam­ily with all three sib­lings rid­ing a win­ner. There were many pre­pared to bet the feat had never been achieved be­fore, in fact this was the third time in the last seven years.

Six­teen-year-old Jack has not found it easy fol­low­ing in his sis­ters’ foot­steps, both Gina and Brid­get have been crowned ladies cham­pi­ons. The girls rode win­ners on their first day; Jack has taken just un­der a year and has had 26 goes to chalk one up.

The elu­sive first win­ner came in the open­ing event, the four run­ner Club Mem­bers.The young­ster held up Heads Or Tails last of the quar­tet, wait­ing for the climb to the line be­fore pick­ing off his ri­vals one by one.

The win­ning owner, Mr C My­ers, was asked in a post race in­ter­view what fu­ture plans he had for his horse. He replied charm­ingly “I’ll give him an ap­ple in the morn­ing!”

As she went out to ride in the sec­ond race I spoke Brid­get “I bet your brother’s pleased?”

Beam­ing, she an­swered, “Oh yes, he and mum are de­lighted, he’s tried so hard. What ever hap­pens now it’s made my day!”

What hap­pened next was she rode the win­ner, con­fi­dently steer­ing See You Jack home in the PPORA Mem­bers. It capped a phe­nom­e­nal week for Brid­get, her fifth con­sec­u­tive win­ner, the mid­dle three com­ing un­der rules.

To­days task was made a lot eas­ier af­ter main ri­val Shilling­stone made a mon­u­men­tal rick at the first fence. He left be­hind a very lengthy skid mark, the like of which you’d nor­mally find in the mid­dle lane of the M25.

El­der sis­ter Gina landed the An­drews tre­ble by tak­ing the Re­stricted on Re­mark­able Man. A re­cent pur­chase from across the wa­ter the geld­ing has won two in the last two weeks, both here. He’s not beaten too many fin­ish­ers so he may be un­der­rated in the near fu­ture, but he’s very like­able.The vic­to­ries have come in very deep ground, strangely when rac­ing pre­vi­ously in Ire­land he was cam­paigned al­most ex­clu­sively on quick ground. It will be in­ter­est­ing to see how he per­forms when it stops rain­ing.

The An­drews clan kindly left some sil­ver­ware on the ta­ble for oth­ers. As the run­ners were read out for the Ladies Open pun­ters very quickly re­alised they had been set a very straight­for­ward co­nun­drum. Lump on or take on Swift Coun­sel? Rat­ings had him about 20lb clear of his ri­vals and he had only had his colours low­ered once in points. But he was re­turn­ing from a 20 month break and is now four­teen.

The bet­tors went to the pa­rade ring to find the vet­eran look­ing clear pad­dock pick, they then turned with great haste and hit the book­ies.The old boy went off the 2/5 favourite. It was soon ap­par­ent nei­ther the ab­sence nor the ad­vanc­ing years had tem­pered his en­thu­si­asm. Run­ning and jump­ing ex­u­ber­antly he stretched the field along the back, turn­ing down­hill to­wards the fifth last the ad­van­tage had be­come ten lengths and was grow­ing, then sud­denly, un­ex­pect­edly his rider Jane Wil­liams was on the deck, un­seated. There was a dis­tinct de­lay in the crowd’s re­ac­tion, he’s never made a mis­take in points, al­ways flu­ent, never touches a twig. No­body saw this com­ing, in­clud­ing Wil­liams I’d ven­ture.

This left Life Long to beat, in truth, not a lot. He’d spent the race jump­ing awk­wardly right handed, rider Faye Con­way

con­stantly tug­ging on the op­po­site rein. He can ill af­ford to re­peat such er­rancy if he wants to fol­low up in this grade.

Af­ter the Men’s Open I found my­self in a very small mi­nor­ity re­gard­ing Paddy Gerety’s tri­umphant ride. No, I’ll type that again. Af­ter the Men’s Open I found my­self alone re­gard­ing Paddy Gerety’s tri­umphant ride. Every­body else thought it was a su­perbly judged dis­play, de­liv­er­ing Mr Mer­cu­rial (2/5f) in front over the last. I was of the opin­ion he sat too far off of the pace and was for­tu­nate the race fell in his lap. Five from home he was con­ced­ing a dozen lengths to the two lead­ers, here Will Fight gave the ob­sta­cle an almighty clump leav­ing Gun­money in front much, much sooner than his pi­lot, John Rus­sell, had in­tended. Not even Gun­money’s near­est and dear­est would call the hand­some geld­ing a bat­tler; those not so near and not so dear have of­ten called him a bot­tler. Out on his own, the hill started to look steeper and the ground be­gan to feel deeper and I thought he waited for a bit of com­pany to come home with.

There was a quite scin­til­lat­ing per­for­mance in the closing race, the Maiden. All af­ter­noon we’d wit­nessed horses cross­ing the fin­ish­ing line blow­ing for tugs at best, le­g­less at worst, then on

Two years ear­lier, NICO would have been watch­ing the Gold Cup on TV while phon­ing around for week­end spare rides

Fearthedark (A Vaugh­anJones) win­ner of the Open Maiden at Horse­heath

Men’s Open - win­ner Mr Mer­cu­rial (P Gerety) at Horse­heath

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