V.W.H. REPORT (SIDDINGTON) – SATURDAY 22ND MARCH 2014

 

By Peter Mansell

 

The Phillips family have a long association with the V.W.H. Point-to-Point and they had the pleasure of seeing horses carrying their colours win the first two races at Siddington on Saturday afternoon.

The ex-Caroline Keevil trained Moorland Sunset was well supported in the Members and Nick Phillips had the 7-year-old jumping impeccably throughout the 3-mile contest.

They turned for home with a 3-length advantage over Dona and Hope Royal and the leader had little difficulty extending his advantage over the final two fences.

Moorland Sunset carries the colours of the rider’s mother Scilla and was the first leg of a double for Elizabeth Brown who has taken over the training duties at the Phillips’s farm near Bibury.

35 minutes later and it was a case of déjà vu when connections made their second appearance in the winners enclosure following Forget Bob’s victory in the Confined.

The winner was taken to the front at the 10th, but the opposition were queuing up on the final bend where As It Is and Seven Days were the leaders nearest pursuers.

They looked dangerous approaching the penultimate but Forget Bob gained a precious length and looked to have the race in safe keeping at the last. A mistake at this obstacle cost him momentum and he was all out to hold his rival’s challenges on the flat.

Bridgnorth trainer Phil Rowley and jockey Alex Edwards took the Mixed Open with De Forgotten Man while Mor Brook was successful in the Maiden.

Mark Wall sent Numbercruncher to the front at the 10th in the Open but De Forgotten Man and Archies Boy were snapping at his heels all the way down the back straight.

Straightening up for home Numbercruncher was still fending off the attentions of De Forgotten Man, while Archies Boy was coming to the end of his tether.

Alex Edwards mount hit the front at the 16th before coasting clear in the final half mile to win by 15-lengths in the colours of Mrs Peter Andrews.

Connections had the winner in training with Martin Keighley under Rules but having fallen in his final three outings over the bigger fences Rowley was given the task of restoring his reputation. “He’s had several niggly problems and we were asked if we wanted to try to Point with him. He’s enjoyed that and Alex said he has won easily”.

The Rowley/Edwards double was completed in the Maiden, which resulted in an easy success for Mor Brook.

The locally trained Kilcrea Mill made a bulk of the running and was still in front turning for home, but Mor Brook and Alex Edwards moved up to take the lead at the 16th.

Themanfromcork looked dangerous approaching the penultimate but Edwards had plenty in reserve and his mount sprinted clear again between the final two fences.

Edwards was impressed with this victory claiming “I’ve never sat on such an easy winner”, while Rowley commented “We brought him at Doncaster in August 2012 and we’ve always thought he was a nice horse. I own a half share and a syndicate own the other half”.

Surveying the horse afterwards in the winners enclosure he observed “He’s done that easily, he’s hardly blowing and that was very impressive”.

Several of the leading fancies for the Restricted failed to live up to expectations and the race produced a surprise result. After a moderate early gallop James Ridley and Coast Road injected some pace into the race at halfway but they were joined by Sam Painting and Cock and Hen around the final bend.

The favourite Silver By Design was going well and poised to pounce at this point but that scenario failed to materialise as Cock and Hen continued to see off all challengers.

Painting could be seen shifting his position in the saddle towards the finish and that allowed the opposition to eat into his lead, so Painting had to pull out all the stops to scramble home by half a length.

“The girth snapped” explained trainer Matthew Tuck “and only the surcingle was keeping the saddle in place. Sam has down a wonderful job steering him home”.

The Stewards had concerns the saddlery problems could have resulted in loss of a weight cloth, but these proved unfounded when the winner weighed in correctly.

The Pegasus Club race went to London based barrister Barnaby Shaw who only started race riding two years ago.

Abberley trainer Zoe Hammond had split loyalities as she responsible for both the winner and runner up Freedom of Choice, who was ridden by her son Charlie. These two went head to head up the home straight but the favourite was able to assert over the final two fences.