Tuesday, November 29, 2011
BRIGHT sunshine was appreciated by the large crowd at the opening meeting of the season at Black Forest Lodge – too bright really with the low morning sun causing the omission of two jumps on each circuit in the two and a half miles opener for four and five-year-olds, writes Granville Taylor.
Shrewd Investment pulled well clear of his rivals in the first event to score easily with jockey Nico de Boinville enthusing that, “he jumped fantastic and travelled well”. Nico works for Nicky Henderson and is lucky enough to ride Gold Cup winner Long Run at home. Five-year-old Shrewd Investment is trained by Laura Thomas at Barbury Castle and had shown promise from Alan King’s yard under rules.
Not so lucky was long time Devon and Cornwall Area title holder Richard Woollacott who sustained chest and shoulder injuries when My Runaway came down at the first ditch in the first race. A quick trawl for replacement jockeys saw Will Biddick take over on the Woollacott trained Sunset City in the following race, and this ex-Irish gelding just got the better of Moy River and Soul Native in a tight finish. “We got him out of a field in Ireland and he now belongs to Dick Westacott who is one of my longest standing owners,” explained the walking wounded trainer.
Alan Hill travelled two horses from his Kingston Blount base and both obliged at short prices. Alan and Lawney’s 16-year-old son Joe enjoyed a memorable first ride over jumps on Ravethebrave in the Club Novice Riders’, taking up the running at the eighth fence before cruising clear to score by seven lengths from Light Touch. Joe is studying for his GCSEs at Cokethorpe School near Witney, Oxfordshire. “That was a great thrill. I have been helped by several jockeys. James Tudor walked the course with me today and Choc Thornton has been very supportive,” he said afterwards.
James Tudor got himself on the score sheet with his only ride of the day when the Hill yard’s other runner, hot favourite Money Tree won the concluding Maiden. “The horse was as fit as anything and that was James at his best,” said the trainer, who bought the five-year-old out of Donald McCain’s stable at Brightwells Ascot July sales.
The Mixed Open also went to the South Midlands with Divine Intavention shaking off Khachaturian in the closing stages. The winner of a hunter chase at Market Rasen last season, seven-year-old Divine Intavention is owned and trained by Hugh Wilson near Banbury. “He shows nothing at home but saves his best for the racecourse,” said winning rider Mark Wall.
The connections of the Mixed Open runner-up Khachaturian went one better in the first section of the Open Maiden thanks to six-year-old Direct Line, who rallied well when pressed by Bradley Brook from the second last. Evan David had the mount on the winner, who is one of 20 pointers owned and trained near Porthcawl by David Brace. “I bought him privately in Ireland after he had been a bit unlucky in his point-to-points,” explained the South Wales trainer, who has raided Black Forest successfully on several previous occasions.
Bookmakers went 7-2 the field in the 14-runner Restricted which went to former Irish Maiden winner On My Living Life. The six-year-old was always prominent and stayed on well to hold Mister Trigger. Owner James Drummond bought the Alderbrook gelding privately after he was spotted by agent Aiden Murphy in Ireland. Trained by Pat Bryant at Motcombe, Dorset, On My Living Life was partnered by Dan Collins who works for Paul Nicholls and rides out for the Motcombe stable three days a week. “He was very fit and stretched away when I asked him,” said the jockey, who was enjoying his eleventh career success.
The new stringent whip rules which have recently been introduced under rules were applied to pointing for the first time at this meeting. Senior Steward Terry Hamlin briefed all jockeys thoroughly before each race and the afternoon passed without any transgressions.
Open Maiden 4 and 5-year-olds only 2m 4f Division 1: 1 Shrewd Investment (N de Boinville); 2 Coeur Brule (D Turner); 3 Gleann Ri (E Barrett); 14 ran; 8l; 1/2l; 5mins 21 secs
Division 2: 1 Sunset City (W Biddick); 2 Moy River (T Ellis) 3 Soul Native (D Collins); 13 ran; 3/4l; 3/4l; 5m 32s
Club Novice Riders’: 1 Ravethebrave (J Hill); Light Touch (Miss V Wade); Pastek (M Peaty); 7l; 1/2l; 5m 56s
Restricted: 1 On My Living Life (D Collins); 2 Mister Trigger (G Humphrey); 3 Elms School Story; (B Poste); 14 ran; 7l; 5l; 5m 57s
Mixed Open: 1 Divine Intavention (M Wall); Khachaturian (E David); 3 Hollow Ranger (B Poste); 9 ran; 10l; distance; 5m 54s
Open Maiden 4-year olds and upwards; 3 miles
Division 1: 1 Direct Line (E David); Bradley Brook (N Harris); 3 Allerford Jack (J Tickle); 12 ran; 6l; 10l; 5m 59s
Division 2: 1 Money Tree (J Tudor); 2 Liscow Lad (A Barnett); 3 Showman (P Prince); 12 ran; 6l; 5l; 6m 4s