22nd March 2015 Penshurst
The Old Surrey, Burstow & West Kent hold their first meeting of the season at Penshurst on Sunday and they are the second South East meeting to attract over a hundred entries.
The opening race is the OSB&WK hunt race which has attracted ten entries. Five of these are trained by Rick Gurney, who has won this race multiple times over the years. Of his five Witch's Hat looks the most talented, but Spiritofchartwell is an improver and may follow in the footsteps of Spartan Place, Rio Novo and Behind The Scenes, who all took this race for Gurney after winning their maidens. The latter is now trained by Clerk of the course, Andrew Coveny, and he comes here on the back of a lucky win at Godstone. He is easily the highest rated but the inexperience of his jockey may count against him.
The following Club Members Conditions race has a very healthy 25 entries, with almost a quarter of the field trained by Rose Grissell. With a host of owner rider horses she could run Dead Or Alive, Kornati Kid, Orfeo Conti, Owenacurra, Time Is Tickin and Tobougg Welcome, potentially giving her team a very busy half an hour. The race includes several East Anglians, including two from the Turner yard, who are always to be feared around Penshurst.
The Ladies Open has seventeen entries, where Start Royal and Volcan Surprise look to be the class acts. The former won impressively at Kingston Blount last time out, while the latter has been unlucky to run into some decent horses this season and has been runner-up four times. Their biggest danger is local hero Little Legend, who was on his way to winning at Godstone when he fell at the last. His rider/trainer Cynthia Woods enjoys a lot of success at Penshurst and has steered the eleven year old to victory three times at the course.
The Mens Open may be the race where we finally see the return of Glint Of Steel. He was due to run at Parham but was unluckily met with another set back, if he has sufficiently recovered he will be short odds for this race but connections will be keeping their fingers crossed for some more rain. The remainder of the field are double entered in the Conditions race and which race they run in may depend on whether Philip Hall's star turns up.
The fifth race of the day is the Connolly Red Mills sponsored Intermediate and the race has nineteen entries. The horse that tops the list is the Nick Pearce trained Come On You, who won his Restricted at Charing where he emphatically beat subsequent winners, Country Foolery and Running In Heels. His greatest competition could be Time Is Tickin, who narrowly beat Running In Heels at Godstone before finishing fourth to Repeat Business.
The concluding Maiden race has sixteen entries, where Nick Pearce's Slidecheck could be set to cap off a good day for his trainer. He was second to Shutthebackdoor at Charing, with subsequent winner Conna Cloud in behind.  His biggest threat could be the Simon Andrews trained Weve Got Company, who has been placed this season and looks sure to win soon. On ratings the main danger could be My Brother Pat, with the ten year old showing improvement from a change of jockey. Cynthia Woods' Crowd Control is another horse to consider after his third at Godstone. 
Hunt Members Race (3 runners)
1. SHOWTIME Mr P. Bull 6/1
2. COURSEY ROVER Mr G. Gallagher 4/9F
3. WITCHS HAT Mr R. Gurney 9/4
Time: 7mins 20s
Distances: 25l, fence
Club Members Conditions (8 runners)
3. BENHEIR Mr R. Stearn 16/1
Time: 6mins 48s
Distances: 8l, 12l
Ladies Open (9 runners)
1. BEHIND THE SCENES Miss E. Darwin 11/2
2. COUNTING HOUSE Miss A. Sansom 12/1
3. LITTLE LEGEND Mrs C. Woods 1/2F
Time: 6mins 44s
Distances: neck, neck
Mens Open (5 runners)
1. GLINT OF STEEL Mr P. Hall 2/7F
2. ORFEO CONTI Mr O. Wedmore 10/1
3. KRISS WILLIAM Mr R. Stearn 10/1
Time: 6mins 56s
Distances: 20l, 3l
Connolly Red Mills Intermediate (10 runners)
1. SUD NIVERNAIS Mr B. James 20/1
2. COME ON YOU Mr S. Davies-Thomas EvensF
3. HEADS OR TAILS Mr J. Andrews 9/4
Time: 6mins 54s
Distances: 3l, 8l
Open Maiden (9 runners)
1. KINGSFOLD FLARE Mr W. Russell 9/2
2. ISKRABOB Miss R. Grissell 20/1
3. SLIDECHECK Mr P. Hall 6/5F
Time: 7mins 02s
Distances: 12l, 1/2l
Race Reports by Nicola, Stephanie & Martyn Dean
Race 1 – The Old Surrey, Burstow and West Kent Hunt Members, Subscribers and Farmers Race
Three runners contested the opening race of the day with Coursey Rover (Gordon Gallagher) sent off the 4/6 favourite. Witch’s Hat (Richard Gurney) was priced at 9/4 and Showtime (Peter Bull) was the 6/1 outsider.
The three runners set off at a very steady pace with Coursey Rover leading from Showtime and Witch’s Hat. At fence four Coursey Rover had a five length lead from Witch’s Hat and Showtime. The pace of the race remained sedate as the runners made their way to their first open ditch (fence six) where Coursey Rover jumped out to the right allowing Witch’s Hat and Showtime to close on the leader. As the runners made their way to fence eleven Coursey Rover had regained a four length advantage over Showtime with Witch’s Hat two lengths further back. Coursey Rover jumped out to the right again at fence thirteen (second open ditch) and again at fence fourteen. On the run to fence fifteen Showtime moved up to join Coursey Rover as the pace of the race increased and after the sixteenth Showtime moved into the lead and quickly opened up a six length advantage over Coursey Rover with Witch’s Hat becoming detached from the leading duo. Showtime took the penultimate fence well and continued to extend his lead over Coursey Rover. Showtime jumped the final fence with a clear advantage and raced to the winning post to take the race with Coursey Rover in second and Witch’s Hat also completed in third.
1st Showtime Peter Bull 6/1
2nd Coursey Rover Gordon Gallagher 4/6 (Favourite)
3rd Witch’s Hat Richard Gurney 9/4
Distances: 20 lengths and a distance
Time: 7mins 20 sec
Three finished
Race 2 – The South East Hunts Club Members Conditions Race
Eight runners made their way to the starter with Goodnight Vienna (Joe Hill) the 4/5 favourite. Session Or Ression (Philip Hall) was priced at 2/1 whilst The Master Remover (Charles Buckle) and Owenacurra (Stuart Robinson) were priced at 5/1. Do You Follow Me (Isobel Mills) was 12/1 and Cool Steel (Frankie Pullar), Benheir (Rupert Stearn) and Campbonnais (Jack Andrews) were 16/1.
Goodnight Vienna and Owenacurra led the runners over the first fence followed by Benheir, Campbonnais, Cool Steel, Session Or Ression, Do You Follow Me and The Master Remover. Do You Follow Me made a mistake at the second fence and unseated his jockey reducing the field to seven whilst Owenacurra dropped from the front of the field to the back. At fence four Goodnight Vienna had a six length advantage over Benheir and Cool Steel who had a length advantage over Campbonnais and Session Or Ression with The Master Remover and Owenacurra a further couple of lengths behind. The Master Remover hit the fifth fence but the partnership was maintained and all seven remaining runners took the first open ditch (fence six) well. As the runners completed their first circuit Goodnight Vienna had a four length advantage over Session Or Ression who moved into second ahead of Benheir, with Campbonnais and Cool Steel a further three lengths behind with The Master Remover and Owenacurra continuing but several lengths further back. At fence twelve Goodnight Vienna had a four length advantage over Session Or Ression with The Master Remover moving into third with Benheir followed by Campbonnais. Cool Steel pulled up before the thirteenth fence (second open ditch) and Owenacurra pulled up after the thirteenth as Goodnight Vienna continued to lead from Session Or Ression with The Master Remover and Benheir chasing and Campbonnais continuing a couple of lengths further back. After the fourteenth fence Goodnight Vienna and Session Or Ression started to pull away from their rivals with Benheir moving back into third ahead of The Master Remover and Campbonnais. Session Or Ression got in close to the sixteenth fence where The Master Remover unseated further back in the field. Goodnight Vienna continued to lead on the run to the penultimate fence with Session Or Ression two lengths back in second but turning to the final fence Goodnight Vienna found an extra burst of speed and having taken the final fence raced to the winning post ahead of Session Or Ression. Benheir completed in third with Campbonnais also completing for fourth.
1st Goodnight Vienna Joe Hill 4/5 (Favourite)
2nd Session Or Ression Philip Hall 2/1
3rd Benheir Rupert Stearn 16/1
4th Campbonnais Jack Andrews 16/1
Distances: 7 lengths and 8 lengths
Time: 6mins 48 sec
Four finished
Race 3 – The Ladies Open Race
Little Legend (Cynthia Woods) was the 1/2 favourite in the nine runner ladies open race. Jack Bene (Louise Allan) and Behind The Scenes (Ella Darwin) were both priced at 5/1 whilst Bit Of A Clown (Hayley Moore) was 6/1. Ukrainian Star (Katy Lyons) was 10/1, Counting House (Anna Sansom) was 12/1 and Lord Snow (Kath Port), Noble Commander (Alyce Fisher) and Sansa Stark (Celia Savell) were all priced at 20/1.
Jack Bene and Little Legend led the field away from the starter ahead of Bit Of A Clown, Behind The Scenes, Counting House, Ukrainian Star, Noble Commander, Sansa Stark and Lord Snow. Behind The Scenes moved up to take second behind Little Legend after the second fence as Jack Bene dropped back. Jack Bene made a mistake at the third fence and unseated as Little Legend continued to lead from Behind The Scenes, Bit Of A Clown, Ukrainian Star, Counting House, Lord Snow, Noble Commander and Sansa Stark. The remaining eight runners all jumped well over the rest of their first circuit and as they runners set out onto their second circuit Little Legend led by a length from Behind The Scenes with Ukrainian Star three lengths further back in third ahead of Counting House. Lord Snow was in fifth ten lengths behind the leading quartet followed by Bit Of A Clown, Noble Commander and Sansa Stark. At fence twelve the leading quartet of Little Legend, Behind The Scenes, Counting House and Ukrainian Star had a ten length advantage over the others. Sansa Stark unseated at the twelfth fence when detached from the other seven runners. Little Legend continued to lead at the fourteenth fence but at the fifteenth fence Behind The Scenes jumped into the lead whilst Noble Commander pulled up having lost touch with his rivals. Little Legend battled back to rejoin Behind The Scenes at fence sixteen and the leading pair raced to the penultimate fence side by side with Counting House three lengths further back whilst Bit Of A Clown moved into fourth ahead of Lord Snow as Ukrainian Star pulled up. Racing to the final fence Little Legend and Behind The Scenes were inseparable and landed side by side but on landing after the final fence two lengths behind the leading pair Counting House found an extra burst of speed and joined the leading duo on the run to the winning post with the finish incredibly close but Behind The Scenes just managed to get his head in front at the vital point whilst Counting House took second with Little Legend in third. Bit Of A Clown completed in fourth and Lord Snow also completed.
1st Behind The Scenes Ella Darwin 5/1
2nd Counting House Anna Sansom 12/1
3rd Little Legend Cynthia Woods 1/2 (Favourite)
4th Bit Of A Clown Hayley Moore 6/1
Distances: a neck and a neck
Time: 6mins 44 sec
Five finished
Race 4 – The Men’s Open Race
Five runners made their way to the starter with Glint OF Steel (Philip Hall) the 2/7 favourite. Good Order (Ed Turner) was next in the betting at 4/1 whilst Kornati Kid (James Rawdon-Mogg) was 8/1 and Orfeo Conti (Oz Wedmore) and Kriss William (Rupert Stearn) were both priced at 10/1.
Kornati Kid led the five runners over the first ahead of Glint Of Steel, Good Order, Orfeo Conti and Kriss William. The five runners all jumped well throughout the first circuit without any incidents with Glint Of Steel moving into the lead at fence seven by two lengths over Kornati Kid and Good Order with Orfeo Conti and Kriss William a further two lengths back. At fence eleven Glint Of Steel led from Good Order, Kriss William, Kornati Kid and Orfeo Conti. Kornati Kid made a mistake at fence twelve and lost some momentum and after the second open ditch (fence thirteen) Glint Of Steel started to extend his lead. Kriss William moved into second at the fourteenth fence where Good Order made a mistake and Kornati Kid unseated. Orfeo Cont also started to close on the leader but Glint Of Steel continued to hold a six length advantage at the fifteenth and sixteenth fences. Orfeo Conti moved into second place on the run to the penultimate fence but Glint Of Steel still had an eight length advantage and running to the final fence extended his advantage over Orfeo Conti in second. Glint Of Steel pulled further clear on the run to the winning post with Orfeo Conti holding onto second whilst Kriss William finished strongly taking third ahead of his stable mate Good Order in fourth.
1st Glint Of Steel Philip Hall 2/7 (Favourite)
2nd Orfeo Conti Oz Wedmore 10/1
3rd Kriss William Rupert Stearn 10/1
4th Good Order Ed Turner 4/1
Distances: 20 lengths and 3 lengths
Time: 6mins 56 sec
Four finished
Race 5 – The Connolly’s Red Mills Precision Nutrition Intermediate Race
Come On You (Sam Davies-Thomas) and Heads Or Tails (Jack Andrews) were the joint 5/4 favourites in the ten runner intermediate race. Dunloughin (Philip Hall) and Time Is Tickin (Oz Wedmore) were next in the betting at 6/1 with Pinsandneedles (Gordon Gallagher) at 10/1, Franks A Million (Ed Turner) at 14/1 and Gamato (Richard Defago), Sud Nivernais (Ben James), Oscarsfriend (Rosie Chinnery) and Leafy Arbour (Louise Ellis) all priced at 20/1.
Come On You led from Heads Or Tails and Oscarsfriend as the field left the starter with Gamato in fourth followed by Dunloughin, Franks A Million, Time Is Tickin, Leafy Arbour, Sud Nivernais and Pinsandneedles. Gamato moved up into second at fence three behind Come On You with Dunloughin in third ahead of Heads Or Tails and Oscarsfriend. The ten runners completed their first circuit without incident with Come On You still leading from Gamato followed by Franks A Million, Heads Or Tails, Dunloughin, Pinsandneedles, Sud Nivernais, Oscarsfriend, Leafy Arbour and Time Is Tickin. At fence twelve Come On You continued to lead from Gamato but by fence thirteen Pinsandneedles had made up ground to move into second chasing Come On You who started to open up an advantage and was four lengths clear of his rivals. Leafy Arbour and Oscarsfriend both unseated at fence fourteen where Come On You continued to lead from Pinsandneedles with Heads Or Tails in third ahead of Gamato, Sud Nivernais, Time Is Tickin and Dunloughin. Come On You continued to lead at the fifteenth and sixteenth fences but racing to the penultimate fence Heads Or Tails moved into second as Pinsandneedles started to drop back and Sud Nivernais also started to close on the leader. Sud Nivernais jumped into second at the penultimate fence and moved up to join Come On You at the final fence. Sud Nivernais got in close and hit the fence hard but battled back on the run to the winning post to take the race ahead of Come On You. Heads Or tails and Time Is Tickin had their own battle for third with Heads Or Tails just holding on. Dunloughin, Gamato and Pinsandneedles also completed whilst Franks A Million pulled up at the last.
1st Sud Nivernais Ben James 20/1
2nd Come On You Sam Davies-Thomas 5/4 (Jt Favourite)
3rd Heads Or Tails Jack Andrews 5/4 (Jt Favourite)
4th Time Is Tickin Oz Wedmore 6/1
Distances: 2 lengths and 10 lengths
Time: 6mins 54 sec
Eight finished
Race 6 – The Open Maiden Race
Nine runners made their way to the starter with Slidecheck (Philip Hall) the evens favorite. Weve Got Company (Jack Andrews) was also popular at 2/1 whilst Kingsfold Flare (Wayne Russell) was 4/1, Eagle Harbour ( J Jenkinson) was 5/1 and My Brother Pat (Chris Dennington) was 6/1. Skiptothegoodbit (Cynthia Woods) was 8/1, Iskrabob (Rose Grissell) was 14/1 and Thepenniesdropped (Hayley Moore) and Ugano Du Chatelet (Rupert Stearn) were both priced at 20/1.
My Brother Pat led the field away from the starter at a steady pace with Eagle Harbour in second ahead of Weve Got Company, Slidecheck, Ugano Du Chatelet, Skiptothegoodbit, Thepenniesdropped, Kingsfold Flare and Iskrabob. At fence five My Brother Pat continued to lead but Slidecheck had moved up to second with Thepenniesdropped in third with Eagle Harbour and Weve Got Company followed by Kingsfold Flare, Ugano Du Chatelet, Skiptothegoodbit and Iskrabob. The nine runners completed their first circuit without incident and set out on their second circuit with slightly more pace. All nine runners were grouped together at fence eleven with My Brother Pat and Slidecheck leading by a length from Thepenniesdropped and Weve Got Company with Kingsfold Flare in fifth a further length back followed by Eagle Harbour, Skiptothegoodbit, Iskrabob and Ugano Du Chatelet. Ugano Du Chatelet pulled up before the thirteenth fence where Slidecheck opened up a two length advantage. Skiptothegoodbit made a mistake at fence fourteen when starting to close on the leader and was pulled up at the fifteenth where Slidecheck continued to lead from Thepenniesdropped and Kingsfold Flare. Kingsfold Flare moved up to join Slidecheck at the sixteenth fence and then on the run to fence seventeen opened up a four length advantage over Slidecheck. Iskrabob also started to make up a lot of ground on the run to the penultimate fence. Kingsfold Flare jumped the final fence with a five length advantage and race to the winning post to lose her maiden status. Iskrabob and Slidecheck battled for second with Iskrabob finishing strongly to get his head in front. Eagle Harbour completed in fourth and My Brother Pat also completed for fifth whilst Weve Got Company pulled up at the penultimate fence and Thepenniesdropped pulled up at the last.
1st Kingsfold Flare Wayne Russell 4/1
2nd Iskrabob Rose Grissell 14/1
3rd Slidecheck Philip Hall Evens (Favourite)
4th Eagle Harbour J Jenkinson 5/1
Distances: 6 lengths and a neck
Time: 7mins 02 sec
Five finished
Glint Of Steel had missed the first half of the season through injury, but he came back with a bang at Penshurst, winning the Mens Open comfortably in the hands of his trainer and regular rider Phil Hall.
It was the nine year olds ninth successive win, dating back to February 2013 when he won his Maiden.
He wasn't the only odds on shot to score, as Goodnight Vienna won for the second time this season under Joe Hill. The nine year old ran well in defeat behind some decent horses last season and will be sure to pick up plenty more of these types of races.
Asides from the above two, it was a day of surprises, some more major than others.
The opening race was the Hunt Members and the old 'outsider of three' rule came into force, with Showtime beating the odds on Coursey Rover. The eight year old had failed to complete in his three starts in point-to-points but had gained valuable experience in the hunting field with his trainer Andrew Coveny.
Behind The Scenes was a long way adrift of Little Legend and Counting House at Godstone last time out, and was lucky to win when those two departed at the last. This time however, he won fair and square, beating Counting House and the odds on Little Legend in a thrilling finish with only a neck between the three of them. The win meant that Clerk of the course Andrew Coveny was rewarded with a double.
The Connolly Red Mills was down as a two horse race, with Come On You and Head Or Tails heading the field as joint favourite. But they were both denied by 20/1 shot Sud Nivernais, trained by East Anglian Louise Allan and ridden by Ben James who was having his very first ride.  
The concluding Open Maiden was won by Kingsfold Flare, trained and ridden by Wayne Russell. Rose Grissell steered Iskrabob into second place, while third went to the short priced favourite Slidecheck, ridden by Phil Hall.