REPORT - PPORC – BARBURY RACECOURSE – SUNDAY 8TH DECEMBER 2013

BY ANDREW NORMAN

 

Charlie Marshall made the perfect start to his Point-to-Point riding career by guiding Kornati Kid to a thrilling victory at the Point-to-Point Owners & Riders Club meeting at Barbury Racecourse on Sunday.

The winner had to overcome a monumental tussle with long-time leader Euro Farmer up the straight, Marshall’s mount ahead at the last only to surrender the advantage on the run-in before battling back close home. The sixteen-year-old rider, making a successful transition from Pony Racing, rides out for Di Grissell.

Mother Charlotte, who trains the Dodson & Horrell PPORA Club Members Novice Riders victor at Brightling in Sussex, said: “He was cheap to a good home but he’s not been an easy horse to get to the racecourse. He’s hunted hard, been to the beach and has just been treated like a proper family horse. We took the headgear off just to see what he could do and he’s given our son a lovely first ride.”

Absent since signing off in 2012 with two Open triumphs, the former Grade 2 chase scorer was purchased privately from Anabel Murphy in the summer along with Boychuk – the pair becoming stable mates in a different yard for the third time.

Another rider making his debut, 2013 Charles Owen Pony Racing 148cm Champion Sean Bowen, caught the eye aboard Natural Action before unseating three out when disputing the lead.

Tactical nous from trainer/rider Peter Mason enabled the consistent Shy John to score on the card for the second year running, following up last year’s Intermediate victory with an all-the-way success in the Jockey Club Estates Mens Open.

After a fine waiting ride at the venue last term, Mason decided to bounce the seven-year-old out here with none of his rivals keen to make the running. Receiving weight from his three opponents, the winner quickly shot clear and never saw a rival.

Bred by Mason’s late father Alex, the gelding was recording his fifth career success. Jennifer Mason, wife of Peter, said of the winner: “That isn’t the way he wants to run ideally but Peter decided to send him on given the situation. He’s much better when he’s got a bit of cover and was trying to pull himself up before diving at the last! He acts on quick ground so hopefully he’ll have a go in a few hunters’ chases towards the end of the season.”

The other runner attempting to follow up from last season’s corresponding fixture, Cottage Oak, never jumped with any fluency enabling Latest Trend to run out a convincing winner of the John Toomer & Sons Ladies Open.

“That was a massive surprise!” admitted rider Bridget Andrews after the chance to partner the 20/1 shot had been turned down by sister Gina in favour of the odds-on favourite.

After a quick early tempo, the hold-up tactics advised by handler Stuart Penny proved decisive. Penny, who trains in Henstridge in Somerset, said: “We’ve kept him sweet and had him fit for the job today. I tried to book Gina, who’s been in to school him, but she had already agreed to ride Cottage Oak. I’d have thought Bridget will keep the ride now; you can’t take a winning jockey off can you!”

Latest Trend was bought privately out of Tim Vaughan’s yard after an unsuccessful summer campaign. Penny reported stable star Quedillac, another ex-Vaughan inmate, to be a good order ahead of a possible seasonal debut at Larkhill next month.

Hall Kelly, making his first start for trainer Alistair Ralph, appreciated the sound surface to land the Connolly’s Red Mills Intermediate decisively under Abigail Banks.

The eight-year-old passed smooth-travelling runner-up Lucky Lane two out and stayed on well to record a seven-length victory.

Ralph, assistant trainer to Henry Daly, has taken over one of his boss’s old satellite yards with greater stabling capacity and has 13 horses in training. The Ludlow handler said: “Hall Kelly arrived in August and has done everything right at home. He’s done that really well and loved the ground. The Banks family have been kind enough to send me some of their horses including Invisible Man, Horsham Lad and Stratford Stroller. The Final [Cheltenham, April 30th] is a long way off but Cheltenham should suit him and he goes on quick ground.”

Although without a win in 20 attempts under National Hunt rules, Pampelonne shed her maiden tag between the flags at the first attempt after a comfortably taking the Jockey Club Open Mares Maiden.

The winner took up the running on the final circuit but was headed briefly by Bach Me, under a determined Andrew Doyle, turning for home. “I didn’t want to get there too soon and I was glad we had some company,” said rider Sam Davies-Thomas, who drove out the seven-year-old by six lengths.

Owner/trainer Sylvia Edmunds, who purchased the mare a fortnight after finishing second over hurdles at Fontwell in June, said: “We bought her privately from Charlie Longsdon on the recommendation of Claire Hart. She knows I’m old and needed a quiet horse to ride at home! She’s as genuine as they come and my only doubt was whether she’d get three miles, which she seemingly does. Hopefully we’ve found a fun horse for the season.”

Tom Lacey saddled the winner of the closing Barbury Castle and Alan King Four and Five Year-olds PPORA Club Members Maiden Race (2m 4f) for the second successive year as Illicit Illusion made a pleasing British debut.

The son of Heron Island jumped well under a patient Tom Weston, a substitute for Sam Drinkwater who was unable to ride for his parents Paul and Karen due to injuring his foot when schooling last week.

Owner Paul Drinkwater, who collected the trophy from race sponsor Alan King, said: “I sent Karen to Doncaster sales with a budget of £5,000 but she spent £11,000! It might not be bad business though as the horse that finished three lengths in front of him in Ireland made 170,000!”

Winning trainer Lacey added: “Paul and Karen bought him off their own back and asked me to train. He’s quite mentally fragile at home but hopefully he’ll develop into a fun horse for them. He’ll be better over further and with some juice in the ground.”