18th April 2015 Penshurst
Point-to-pointing returns to the South East at Penshurst on Saturday, after having last weekend off to give us all a chance to enjoy the delights of the Grand National.
The 88-strong card is packed with local trainers sending plenty of their horses as well as decent horses from various different areas.
The day begins with a Novice Riders race, a race type that had been receiving baffling low entries earlier in the season but has attracted 19 of them here. Rose Grissell has three entered, recent Aldington winner De Clare Man, veteran Dead Or Alive and Orfeo Conti. Rose herself will ride the former or the latter in this, with both of them also entered in the following Club Members Conditions race. Phil York is likely to run two in the race, the seconditis suffering Hunters Lodge and recent Charing winner Gamato. The former will be praying for rain and watering while the Gamato enjoys nothing more than a firm surface to bounce off.  Duke Of Kentford gave Stewart Wright his first winner at Charing and he bids to follow up in this. The 13 year old is a strong stayer but may not be able to get such an easy lead this time around. Festival Bound won here in 2012 under Bridget Andrews, and Sandra Fryer could send him back with Andrews’ younger brother Jack doing the steering this time round. The nine year old has placed with Jack on his last two runs and a win looks imminent for the pair.
The following Conditions race has similar entries to the Novice Rider event, but one horse that stands out in this is Counting House, who was a close second to Behind The Scenes here before unseating in the South East Grand National at Godstone. Threats could include progressive County Foolery, Nick Pearce trained Conkies Lad, David Phelan’s recent Aldington winner Running In Heels, as well as a couple of Ed Turner trained horses, Franks A Million and Sa Kaldoun.
The Ladies Open has 13 entries and could be a thrilling race should all the entries take part. The first horse to mention is Behind The Scenes, who won an exciting Ladies here before finding Rear Gunner a bit too speedy around Charing. That horse is set to reappear here, a race that he won last season under his familiar jockey Hannah Rawdon-Mogg. On top of these two we also have Little Legend making a reappearance after his disappointing effort four weeks ago, No No Bingo who only found Theophrastus too good at Aldington, and Sandra Fryer’s Volcan Surprise, who won nicely at Higham over Easter. The bookmakers will be hard pressed to find a favourite and the winner is not an easy one to pick.
The Mens Open should be a fairly straight forward affair, as Philip Hall’s Adept Approach is rated above his rivals. However, his jumping was far from smooth at Aldington, even though he did win very easily. He will need the ground to be on the easy side so can't be guaranteed to run if the ground is too quick. Anything that puts his jumping under pressure could have a good chance of getting the better of him and that could fall down to a few horses. Count Salazar was rated highly under rules and has placed on all of his starts in competitive Mens Opens; he will easily be able to run into a place. Ed Turner’s Good Order was similarly highly rated and is steadily improving with every run, the Turner’s have a habit of nicking a few races at this meeting and Good Order could be the one to do it for them. A surprise entry is Port Golan, trained by triple Gold Cup winning trainer Henrietta Knight. The seven year old was just touched off in a thriller at Lockinge on Easter Monday, splitting a pair of decent Open horses with only a short head separating the three.
The Restricted race has 12 entries and is a good quality with plenty of recent Maiden winners stepping up in grade. Here I Am was a good winner at Charing, showing plenty of resolution to win by six lengths, he could provide the Grissell team with another memorable day. Jenna Pride unseated in Here I Am’s maiden race, but came out two days later and won comfortably at Aldington. Of the two she was perhaps the more impressive and it’s a surprise to see her rated lower. Kingsfold Flare won nicely here last time and she could easily follow up, she’s the highest rated but hasn’t faced the class of some of these yet. Miss Alice Jones is Nick Pearce’s second entry and she is also expected to improve for a firmer surface. She won impressively at Godstone after she had finished 20 lengths adrift of Spiritofchartwell at Charing and he is entered to re-oppose, where the drying ground could also be in his favour.
The Open Maiden has 15 entries, with two horses vying for the top rated status. Those two are Ballybrack Dancer and Slidecheck, who were separated by a head at Charing. They are both improving but neither have huge amounts of stamina and both will appreciate the drying ground. The nearest horse to them on the ratings is My Brother Pat, who could only finish fifth here last time but improved to finish third behind Jenna Pride at Aldington on Easter Monday. The rest of the field includes the likes of Bollin Ali, Crowd Control and Dccovi, who will all have to step up to have a chance here.
Novice Riders (8 runners)
1. CONKIES LAD Mr C. Marshall 4/1
2. FRANKIE ANSON Mrs R. Turner 10/1
3. FESTIVAL BOUND Mr J. Andrews 5/2
Time: 6mins 28s
Distances: 6l, 3l
Club Members Conditions (7 runners)
1. COUNTING HOUSE Miss A. Sansom 5/4F
2. SA KALDOUN Mr E. Turner 5/1
Time: 6mins 35s
Distances: 6l
Ladies Open (9 runners)
1. BEHIND THE SCENES Miss E. Darwin 11/2
2. VOLCAN SURPRISE Miss G. Andrews 4/5F
3. NO NO BINGO Miss E. Harbour 10/1
Time: 6mins 24s
Distances: 4l, 1/2l
Mens Open (5 runners)
2. GOOD ORDER Mr E. Turner 5/1
3. ORFEO CONTI Mr J. Rawdon-Mogg 3/1
Time: 6mins 28s
Distances: 12l, 6l
Restricted (5 runners)
1. KINGSFOLD FLARE Mr W. Russell 6/4F
2. JENNA PRIDE Mr P. Hall 5/2
Time: 6mins 38s
Distances: 2l, 2l
Open Maiden (8 runners)
2. BOLLIN ALI Mr C. Marshall 10/1
3. BACHMAN Mr P. York 16/1
Time: 6mins 35s
Distances: 2l, 25l
Race Reports by Nicola, Stephanie & Martyn Dean
Race 1: The South East Hunts Club Members Race for Novice Riders
Eight runners headed to the starter for the novice riders race with Hunters Lodge (Gareth Henderson) the 7/4 favourite. Festival Bound (Jack Andrews) was also popular at 5/2 whilst Conkies Lad (Charlie Marshall) was priced at 4/1. Gamato (Richard Defago) was priced at 7/1 whilst Ethiopia (Miss M O'Meara) and Frankie Anson (Rosie Turner) were both priced at 10/1 and Rio Novo (Chris Dennington) and Legend To Be (Brandon Clarke) were both priced at 16/1.
After two false starts the eight runners made their way to the first fence led by Hunters Lodge, Gamato, Ethiopia, Conkies Lad, Festival Bound, Legend To Be, Frankie Anson and Rio Novo. By fence two Ethiopia had made his way to the front and by fence three Ethiopia was leading by two lengths from Conkies Lad, Hunters Lodge and Festival Bound with Gamato a length further behind followed by Legend To Be, Frankie Anson and Rio Novo. The eight runners continued with Ethiopia leading and as they set out onto their second circuit Ethiopia had a three length advantage over Conkies Lad with Festival Bound in third two lengths further behind. Rio Novo made up places to fourth a length further back followed by Frankie Anson, Gamato, Hunters Lodge and Legend To Be who was starting to get detached. Ethiopia made a mistake at fence thirteen (second open ditch) and unseated leaving Conkies Lad a length clear of Festival Bound. Frankie Anson was in third four lengths further behind followed by Rio Novo and Gamato whilst Hunters Lodge was ten lengths behind the others and Legend To Be was further detached. Legend To Be was pulled up at the fifteenth fence where Conkies Lad, Festival Bound and Frankie Anson took the fence together. The trio of leaders took the sixteenth fence together as well but on the run to the penultimate fence Conkies Lad took a two length advantage over Frankie Anson and Festival Bound. Frankie Anson tried to close on the leader but a good jump at the penultimate fence saw Conkies Lad again another two lengths advantage and turning to the final fence Frankie Anson was making no impression in closing the gap. Conkies Lad took the final fence four lengths clear of Frankie Anson and then raced to the winning post to take the victory. Frankie Anson came home in second with Festival Bound in third. Gamato also completed as did Rio Novo whilst Hunters Lodge pulled up before the penultimate fence.
1st Conkies Lad Charlie Marshall 4/1
2nd Frankie Anson Rosie Turner 10/1
3rd Festival Bound Jack Andrews 5/2
4th Gamato Richard Defago 7/1
Five finished
Distances: 6 lengths and 3 lengths
Time: 6mins 35secs
Race 2: The South East Hunts Club Members Conditions Race
Fence fourteen omitted - damaged
Seven runners were declared with Counting House (Anna Sansom) sent off the 5/4 favourite. Country Foolery (Will Clarke) was priced at 3/1 whilst De Clare Man (Rose Grissell) was 4/1. Sa Kaldoun (Ed Turner) was next in the betting at 5/1 and Do You Follow Me (Izzy Mills), Cork Twenty Ten (Gareth Henderson) and Showman (Will Hickman) were all priced at 14/1.
After another false start the seven runners set off with Showman and Country Foolery disputing the lead ahead of Do You Follow Me, Sa Kaldoun, Cork Twenty Ten, Counting House and De Clare Man. De Clare Man was slow over the second fence and dropped back to sit three lengths behind his rivals. By fence three the lead had changed again with Do You Follow Me leading from Cork Twenty Ten, Sa Kaldoun, Country Foolery, Showman, Counting House and De Clare Man. Do You Follow Me made a mistake at the fifth fence but the partnership was maintained but lost a couple of lengths. The seven runners all took fence six (First open ditch) well but Do You Follow Me then ran out at the seventh fence and Cork Twenty Ten was hampered and unseated as a result reducing the field to five. Sa Kaldoun and Showman were left to lead the runners with Counting House a length further behind and Country Foolery and De Clare Man a further four lengths behind. By Fence ten the five runners had grouped back up together with Sa Kaldoun leading from Showman with Counting House half a length behind and De Clare Man and Country Foolery a further length back. At fence eleven Sa Kaldoun led by a length from Counting House and Showman with De Clare Man a further length back whilst Country Foolery was losing ground on the leading quartet. Country Foolery was pulled up after the twelfth fence as the pace of the race increased with Sa Kaldoun leading by three lengths from Counting House, Showman and De Clare Man. As the runners bypassed fence fourteen Showman unseated Will Hickman reducing the field to three and also hampered De Clare Man who lost a couple of lengths on his rivals. Sa Kaldoun continued to lead over the fifteenth and sixteenth fences but on the run to the penultimate fence Counting House moved up to join Sa Kaldoun and turning into the finishing straight moved past Sa Kaldoun. Counting House took the final fence without any problems to secure the victory with Sa Kaldoun eight lengths behind in second the only other finisher as De Clare Man was pulled up before the final fence.
1st Counting House Anna Sansom 5/4 (Favourite)
2nd Sa Kaldoun Ed Turner 5/1
Two finished
Distances: 8 lengths
Time: 6mins 35secs
Race 3: The Ladies Open Race
Five runners contested the ladies race with Volcan Surprise (Gina Andrews) sent off the 6/4 favourite. Rear Gunner (Hannah Rawdon-Mogg) was next in the betting at 2/1 whilst Behind The Scenes (Ella Darwin) and No No Bingo (Emily-Jane Harbour) were priced at 3/1 and Time Is Tickin (Rose Grissell) was the 8/1 outsider.
Volcan Surprise led the field from the start but Behind The Scenes jumped into the lead at fence one whilst Rear Gunner was in third ahead of Time Is Tickin and No No Bingo. The five runners continued at a reasonable pace over the first circuit with Rear Gunner moving up to join Behind The Scenes at fence four followed by Volcan Surprise five lengths behind in third and Time Is Tickin and No No Bingo a further two lengths behind. At fence eight Rear Gunner and Behind The Scenes continued to lead by two lengths from No No Bingo with Volcan Surprise a length further behind in fourth and Time Is Tickin six lengths further back in fifth. No No Bingo moved up to join the leaders at fence nine but then made a mistake at fence ten and lost a couple of lengths on the leading duo.
At fence thirteen (second open ditch) No No Bingo moved into the lead by a length ahead of Behind The Scenes and Volcan Surprise. Rear Gunner was in fourth three lengths behind the leading trio with Time Is Tickin a further three lengths back. The pace of the race increased again running to the fourteenth fence with No No Bingo and Behind The Scenes leading. Rear Gunner made a mistake at the fifteenth fence and lost ground on the leading trio. Volcan Surprise was untidy at the sixteenth fence but then started to challenge the leading pair racing to the penultimate fence. No No Bingo, Behind The Scenes and Volcan Surprise took the penultimate fence together but then turning into the finishing straight Behind The Scenes was asked for another burst of speed and opened up a two length advantage. Behind The Scenes took the final fence ahead of Volcan Surprise and No No Bingo who were both trying to close on the leader but Behind The Scenes continued to pull away on the run to the winning post to record his third victory of the season. Volcan Surprise and No No Bingo battled for second with Volcan Surprise just gaining the advantage at the winning post whilst Rear Gunner and Time Is Tickin also completed.
1st Behind The Scenes Ella Darwin 3/1
2nd Volcan Surprise Gina Andrews 6/4 (Favourite)
3rd No No Bingo Emily-Jane Harbour 3/1
4th Rear Gunner Hannah Rawdon-Mogg 2/1
Five finished
Distances: 4 lengths and 1/2 length
Time: 6mins 24secs
Race 4 : The Mens Open Race
Adept Approach (Philip Hall) was the 4/7 favourite for the four runner men's open race with Wait No More (Phil York) priced at 3/1 and Orfeo Conti (James Rawdon-Mogg) and Good Order (Ed Turner) both priced at 6/1.
The four runners set off at a steady pace with Good Order and Adept Approach leading from Wait No More and Orfeo Conti. The four runners completed their first circuit with Adept Approach leading by a length from Wait No More and Good Order with Orfeo Conti a further two lengths behind and as they set out onto their second circuit Adept Approach increased the pace of the race. At fence eleven Wait No More had joined Adept Approach with Good Order a further four lengths behind in third and Orfeo Conti four lengths further back in fourth. The four runners all took fence thirteen (second open ditch) well and Adept Approach increased the pace again racing to the fourteenth fence. At fence fifteen Adept Approach had a two length advantage over Wait No More and Good Order. Good Order was asked to chase after the leader as Wait No More started to drop back but Adept Approach continued to extend his advantage at the sixteenth fence and racing to the penultimate fence had opened up a six length gap. Adept Approach took the penultimate fence and turned into the finishing straight with a significant advantage over his rivals. The final fence was cleared without problem to secure his second success of the season. Good Order came home in second whilst Orfeo Conti took third ahead of Wait No More who also finished.
1st Adept Approach Philip Hall 4/7 (Favourite)
2nd Good Order Ed Turner 6/1
3rd Orfeo Conti James Rawdon-Mogg 6/1
4th Wait No More Phil York 3/1
Four finished
Distances: 10 lengths and 6 lengths
Time: 6mins 28secs
Race 5 : The Restricted Race
Five runners were declared for the restricted race with Kingsfold Flare (Wayne Russell) and Spiritofchartwell (Phil York) sent off joint 6/4 favourites. Aldington maiden winner Jenna Pride (Philip Hall) was also well backed at 5/2 whilst Leafy Arbour (Chris Dennington) and Third Degree (Will Hickman) were priced at 8/1.
The five runners set off steadily with Third Degree and Spiritofchartwell leading from Jenna Pride, Leafy Arbour and Kingsfold Flare. The five runners completed their first circuit with Third Degree continuing to lead by a length from Spiritofchartwell and Jenna Pride with Leafy Arbour four lengths further behind and Kingsfold Flare held at the back of the field a further length behind. Third Degree made a mistake at fence eleven and had his nose on the ground but continued to lead with Spiritofchartwell. At fence thirteen (second open ditch) Spiritofchartwell had a slight advantage over Third Degree but racing to the fourteenth fence Jenna Pride moved into second a length behind Spiritofchartwell as Third Degree started to drop back. Jenna Pride jumped into the lead at fence sixteen ahead of Spiritofchartwell with Kingsfold Flare and Third Degree twelve lengths further behind and Leafy Arbour a couple of lengths further back. Racing to the penultimate fence Jenna Pride had a length advantage over Spiritofchartwell and turning into the finishing straight the leading pair still had an eight length advantage over Kingsfold Flare who had moved into third. The leading pair took the final fence with Jenna Pride just landing ahead of Spiritofchartwell and Kingsfold Flare still six lengths behind but racing to the winning post Kingsfold Flare charged past her rivals to make it two wins from two runs at Penshurst. Jenna Pride held onto second ahead of Spiritofchartwell whilst Third Degree and Leafy Arbour both finished as well.
1st Kingsfold Flare Wayne Russell 6/4 (Jt Favourite)
2nd Jenna Pride Philip Hall 5/2
3rd Spiritofchartwell Phil York 6/4 (Jt Favourite)
4th Third Degree Will Hickman 8/1
Five finished
Distances: 2 lengths and 2 lengths
Time: 6mins 38secs
18/4/15 Penshurst: Race Reports
Race 6 : The Open Maiden Race
Eight runners headed to the starter with Ballybrack Dancer (Hannah Jones) sent off the 6/4 favourite to lose her maiden status. Kind Offer (Gina Andrews) was priced at 2/1, Peggy's Hero (Emily-Jane Harbour) was 4/1 and Bonnie Major (Will Clarke) was 6/1. Bollin Ali (Charlie Marshall) was next in the betting at 10/1 and Bachman (Phil York), Craig Beinn (Jack Andrews) and Thepenniesdropped (Hayley Moore) were all priced at 16/1.
The eight runners set off steadily with Peggy's Hero leading from Bachman, Ballybrack Dancer, Craig Beinn, Bollin Ali, Thepenniesdropped, Kind Offer and Bonnie Major. Bonnie Major made a mistake at fence three causing her jockey to lose his stirrup and to lose a couple of lengths on the others. At fence four Bachman led the field from Peggy's Hero, Craig Beinn, Bollin Ali, Thepenniesdropped, Ballybrack Dancer, Kind Offer and Bonnie Major who put in another huge leap at fence five. The eight runners completed their first circuit without any incident with Craig Beinn moving up to join Bachman at the front of the field at fence seven. By fence eight Craig Beinn had opened up a four length advantage at the front over Bachman and Peggy's Hero who were five lengths ahead of Bollin Ali, Ballybrack Dancer, Kind Offer and Thepenniesdropped whilst Bonnie Major was several lengths further back and becoming detached. At fence eleven Craig Beinn continued to lead by two lengths from Bachman and Bollin Ali who had made up ground to take third. Peggy's Hero was a further two lengths back in fourth followed by Thepenniesdropped, Kind Offer and Ballybrack Dancer whilst
Bonnie Major was pulled up having lost a lot of ground on her rivals. With eight fences to jump the pace increased and Thepenniesdropped started to lose ground as the seven remaining runners headed to fence twelve. Bollin Ali jumped into the lead at fence thirteen (second open ditch) with Bachman and Craig Beinn close behind. Bachman was untidy at fence fourteen where Craig Beinn also made a mistake and unseated allowing Bollin Ali to open up a two length advantage. Racing to fence fifteen Ballybrack Dancer started to close on the leading duo with Peggy's Hero also still in with a chance in fourth place. Bollin Ali continued to lead at fence sixteen but racing to the penultimate fence
Ballybrack Dancer moved up behind the leader and turning into the finishing straight moved past Bollin Ali easily. Ballybrack Dancer cleared the final fence and raced to the winning post to lose her maiden status with Bollin Ali finishing in second. Bachman completed for third and Peggy's Hero also completed whilst Thepenniesdropped and Kind Offer both pulled up before the final fence.
1st Ballybrack Dancer Hannah Jones 6/4 (Favourite)
2nd Bollin Ali Charlie Marshall 10/1
3rd Bachman Phil York 16/1
4th Peggy's Hero Emily-Jane Harbour 4/1
Four finished
Distances: 3 lengths and a distance
Time: 6mins 35secs
The second Penshurst meeting had the perfect combination of fine weather and safe ground, which meant the abundant crowd had six highly competitive races to enjoy.
Behind The Scenes was the leading horse in the area going into the meeting and he left even further clear, winning a competitive Ladies Open to increase his unbeaten tally at the course to four from four. Ella Darwin is now joint at the top of the Ladies Championship table with Rose Grissell, which is remarkable given she has only ever had five rides, all on Behind The Scenes. The thirteen year old proved that age is no barrier, showing too much speed and resolution for the odds on favourite Volcan Surprise, who at seven years old is almost half the old-timers age.
Just a neck behind Behind The Scenes here last time was fellow veteran Counting House, who strengthened that form by winning the Club Members Conditions race under Anna Sansom. Anna was riding her first winner for eight years, making a remarkable comeback from a horrific leg injury that had doctors advising her to never ride again. She broke her ankle in 2010 and wore a cast for a full year but the road to recovery isn’t over yet; she is hoping her final operation will be this June before another three months in plaster. She gave the twelve year old a patient ride and managed to avoid the carnage when Cork Twenty Ten and Do You Follow Me ran through the wing at the seventh fence.
There was a third girl to win on the day, as Hannah Jones recorded her first winner on her own Ballybrack Dancer. With stamina in doubt Hannah gave an impressively patient ride, dropping her eight year old mare right out of contention for much of the race. With a circuit to go the pair were still over fifteen lengths off the lead and it seemed like they had it all to do. ‘Bracken’ made up rapid ground on the final circuit, with Hannah reporting that she was still pulling hard coming into the final fence. Once clearing the last Hannah finally let her go and she stormed up the run in to win comfortably from Bollin Ali ridden by Charlie Marshall.
In doing so Hannah denied Charlie a double, as he had won the first race of the day on the Nick Pearce trained Conkies Lad. Always at the head of affairs, Charlie let Festival Bound and Frankie Anson join him over the final two fences, before pressing go turning up into the straight. The response was instantaneous, with the nine year finishing off the race like a five furlong sprinter, putting ten lengths between himself and the Rosie Turner ridden Frankie Anson. The win marked the end of a frustrating spell for Charlie, who had not won for over a year but had hit the cross bar several times, including finishing runner-up four times over Easter.
Phil Hall is well on his way to a third successive championship and he increased his lead when winning the Mens Open on Adept Approach. The nine year old had won on his comeback from injury at Aldington a fortnight ago and he was sent off the odds on favourite to follow up. He had some tougher opposition this time but he won comfortably on ground that is probably a bit faster than ideal. Hall was recording his eighth winner of the season, bringing him up to 100 wins in point-to-points, with a further nine under rules.
He looked certain to make a start on his next century in the Restricted race, when trying to give Nick Pearce a double on Aldington winner Jenna Pride. She was getting the better of the Phil York ridden Spiritofchartwell from two out, but gave way to previous Penshurst winner Kingsfold Flare, who came with a rattling run under Wayne Russell to grab the lead on the line. Kingsfold Flare was initially bought as a hunter for Russell’s wife Suzie, but now looks a smart pointing prospect having won both her starts this season. The next stop is the Maiden Final at Fontwell, where the shorter trip should prove ideal for a horse with such a turn of foot.