4th April 2015 Charing
Easter is usually known for huge crowds and small fields but this year it will be different, as Charing has 83 entries spread across six races.
The opening race is a Veteran & Novice Riders, which has replaced the 2m 4f Maiden that traditionally kicked off the meeting. The race has attracted 12 runners and is a tough race to judge. The highest rated entry is Tim Underwood's Tallow Fair, who won three races in 2012 but hasn't been seen for two years. He also has Kellystown Lad, who finished a tiring fourth behind Owenacurra at the last Charing meeting. Definite Ridge and Kornati Kid finished in second and third in front of him that day, but the latters form has dropped off since that race, while the former needs to come back from slipping up at Godstone last time out. Zakharyina and Duke Of Kentford were only a neck apart at Parham, while Gamato, Lord Multifix and Captain Crackers have all been placed at the course.
The second race is the Subaru sponsored Restricted and 16 horses are entered to qualify for the Subaru Restricted final. Simonsruudt was an impressive winner at Parham and he could have a good chance to follow up here, but he could take up his entry at Aldington instead. David Kemp has two entered and will either run Greatballsoffire or Hill Of Gold, with the latter in the better form having finished second at Higham in February. De Clare Man was an impressive Maiden winner and comfortably beat Simonsruudt at Godstone, but then found Country Foolery too good. Conna Cloud placed here in February before winning at Hackwood Park and he should be better for the experience. A horse to note is Tim Underwood's Carnglave Cat, who was placed in a point-to-point in Ireland as recently as three weeks ago. The nine year old won his Maiden in 2012, but has a high point-to-point rating and may find this easier than what he's been used to.
The Open Maiden has 15 entries but should be fairly straight forward. Slidecheck was second to Shutthebackdoor here in February and despite being a beaten favourite at Penshurst a fortnight ago, he should be the best horse in the race. Jenna Pride is the second highest rated having finished third and fourth on her two races this season, while Ballybrack Dancer has similar form. Minmore Grey and My Brother Pat have also placed this season, but the rest of the field don't quite look up to troubling these yet.
The Mixed Open has 14 entries and will see Behind The Scenes aim to build on his lead as the leading horse in the area, where he could be tested by either Broughton Green or Session Or Ression. The other horses will need to raise their game to test Behind The Scenes, but a return to form from Bit Of A Clown could see him in the mix.  
The Club Members Conditions race has 13 entries, with a lot of them double entered in other races. David Kemp always has to be feared and he could have a chance of taking this with Caulkin, who was second at the Cheltenham Hunter Chase evening last year.  However, he could be undone by stretching his stamina and that could be done by Come On You, who stays all day and will be sure to make the running. Alternatively Nick Pearce could run Session Or Ression in this instead of the Mixed Open. Other dangers could be Orfeo Conti, Kornati Kid, Definite Ridge, Time Is Tickin or Tallow Fair.
The concluding race is the Ashford Valley and Coakham Bloodhounds Hunt Members Race, which has a whopping 13 entries. Come On You and Duke Of Kentford head the field, while Gagewell Flyer was a Grade Two winner over hurdles for Willie Mullins and would be an obvious threat if returning to anywhere near that sort of form.
Veteran & Novice Riders (7 runners)
1. GAMATO Mr R. Defago 14/1
2. TIERMORE Mr C. Marshall 14/1
3. ZAKHARYINA Miss T. Worsley 4/1
Time: 6mins 34s
Distances: 12l, 6l
Restricted (6 runners)
1. CONNA CLOUD Mr P. York 3/1
2. TOMPATPEG Mr C. Marshall 6/1
3. SIMONSRUUDT Mr P. Hall 4/6F
Time: 6mins 33s
Distances: 5l, 2l
Open Maiden (8 runners)
1. HERE I AM Mr O. Wedmore 3/1
2. SLIDECHECK Mr P. Hall 7/4F
3. BALLYBRACK DANCER Miss H. Jones 6/1
Time: 6mins 42s
Distances: 8l, hd
Mixed Open (5 runners)
1. REAR GUNNER Miss H. Rawdon-Mogg 3/1
2. BEHIND THE SCENES Miss E. Darwin 4/6F
3. OWENACURRA Mr S. Robinson 5/1
Time: 6mins 36s
Distances: 4l, 10l
Club Members Conditions (4 runners)
1. COME ON YOU Mr S. Davies-Thomas
Time: 6mins 40
Distances: finished alone
Hunt Members (8 runners)
2. INSIDE OUT Mr C. Marshall
Time: 6mins 34s
Distances: 12l, 10l
Race Reports by Nicola, Stephanie & Martyn Dean
Race 1: The F.G.S Agri PPORA Club Members Race for Veteran & Novice Riders
Seven runners contested the opening race of the day with Kellystown Lad (Phil York) sent off the 6/4 favourite. Definite Ridge (Ray Glennon) was next in the betting at 2/1 whilst Zakharyina (Tabitha Worsley) was priced at 7/2 and Kornati Kid (James Rawdon-Mogg) was 4/1. Gamato (Richard Defago), Tiermore (Charlie Marshall) and Legend To Be (Ben Clarke) were less popular in the betting and all priced at 14/1.
Tiermore led the field away from the starter ahead of Definite Ridge and Zakharyina followed by Gamato, Kornati Kid, Kellystown Lad and Legend To Be. Definite Ridge moved up to lead at fence three with Gamato and Tiermore close behind and the other runners about two lengths behind. Kellystown Lad was moved up to join the leading trio at fence five. Legend To be jumped out to the right at fence seven bumping to Kornati Kid in the process but both survived unlike Kellystown Lad who made a mistake and fell. As the remaining six runners turned down the hill for the first time Definite Ridge led from Tiermore and Gamato with Zakharyina three lengths further behind and Legend to Be and Kornati kid a further eight lengths behind. Definite Ridge continued to lead as the runners turned back up the hill but made a mistake at fence twelve (second open ditch) and fell leaving Gamato in the lead with Tiermore and Zakharyina chasing and Kornati Kid and Legend To Be continuing several lengths further behind. Gamato and Tiermore continued to battle at the front over the thirteenth, fourteenth and fifteenth fences with Zakharyina also trying to join in the battle but as the leaders turned at the top of the hill again Zakharyina was unable to go with the leading pair and dropped back from the battle. Gamato gained an advantage in the battle at fence seventeen where Tiermore got in close and then started to pull away on the run to the penultimate fence. Gamato continued to jump well and came home comfortably clear of Tiermore with Zakharyina taking third ahead of Kornati Kid whilst Legend To Be also completed.
1st Gamato Richard Defago 14/1
2nd Tiermore Charlie Marshall 14/1
3rd Zakharyina Tabitha Worsley 7/2
4th Kornati Kid James Rawdon-Mogg 4/1
Distances: 10 lengths and 5 lengths
Time: 6 mins 34 secs
Five finished
Race 2: The Subaru Restricted Race
Six runners took their place in the restricted race with Parham maiden winner Simonsruudt (Philip Hall) sent off the 1/2 favorite. Conna Cloud (Phil York) drifted from Evens to 4/1 which was also the price given to Tompatpeg (Charlie Marshall). Tuscany Star (Tabitha Worsley) was priced at 6/1 whilst Did You Ever (Will Hickman) and Leafy Arbour (Louise Ellis) were both priced at 12/1.
Conna Cloud and Simonsruudt led the runners from the starter followed by Did You Ever, Tompatpeg, Tuscany Star and Leafy Arbour who was slightly slow away. The six runners all jumped well over their first four fences with Conna Cloud leading from Simonsruudt, Tompatpeg, Did You Ever, Leafy Arbour and Tuscany Star. Conna Cloud jumped out to the right at fence six impeding Simonsruudt slightly but the pair continued to lead. Leafy Arbour was pulled up before the seventh fence. As the five remaining runners turned down the hill for the first time Conna Cloud led from Simonsruudt and Tompatpeg with Did You Ever 2 lengths further behind and Tuscany Star a further 2 lengths back. Did You Ever made up places over the eighth and ninth fences to move into second behind Conna Cloud and as the runners took their second open ditch (fence twelve) Conna Cloud led from Did You Ever and Simonsruudt with Tompatpeg two lengths further behind in fourth ahead of Tuscany Star who was starting to get detached. By the time they reached the top of the hill after fence fifteen Conna Cloud had regained the lead by a length from Simonsruudt who had made his way back up into second two lengths ahead of Tompatpeg with Did You Ever six lengths behind and Tuscany Star ten lengths further back. Simonsruudt got in close to fence sixteen when starting to close on the leader which allowed Conna Cloud to regain a two length advantage. At fence seventeen Tompatpeg jumped up to challenge Conna Cloud with Simonsruudt trying to battle back a length behind the leading pair. Tompatpeg managed to get his nose in front running to the penultimate fence but Conna Cloud battled back and turning towards the final fence started to pull clear of Tompatpeg and Simonsruudt who was also battling back. Conna Cloud took the final fence four lengths clear of Tompatpeg and maintained his advantage on the run to the winning post. Tompatpeg held onto second ahead of Simonsruudt whilst Did You Ever and Tuscany Star also completed.
1st Conna Cloud Phil York 4/1
2nd Tompatpeg Charlie Marshall 4/1
3rd Simonsruudt Philip Hall 1/2 (Favourite)
4th Did You Ever Will Hickman 12/1
Distances: 4 lengths and 1 ½ lengths
Time: 6mins 33 secs
Five finished
Race 3: The Charles Stanley Open Maiden Race
Eight runners headed to the starter for the maiden race with Slidecheck (Philip Hall) the Even money favourite. Jenna Pride (Phil York) was also popular at 2/1, Here I Am (Oz Wedmore) was priced at 4/1 and Ballybrack Dancer (Hannah Jones) and Joey Kangaroo (Charlie Marshall) were both 6/1. Dccovi (Tabitha Worsley), Thepenniesdropped (Hayley Moore) and Sansa Stark (Will Hickman) were all priced at 16/1.
Joey Kangaroo, Here I Am and Slidecheck led the runners to the first ahead of Ballybrack Dancer, Jenna Pride, Dccovi, Sansa Stark and Thepenniesdropped. Joey Kangaroo hit the third fence and lost places dropping back through the field leaving Here I Am to lead from Slidecheck and Ballybrack Dancer. The eight runners all took their next five fences well although Sansa Stark and Thepenniesdropped were both struggling to cope with the pace and were becoming detached from the leading group of six by fence seven. Jenna Pride hit the eighth fence and unseated reducing the field to seven. At fence nine Here I Am and Slidecheck continued to lead from Ballybrack Dancer and Joey Kangaroo by a length with Dccovi four lengths further behind and Sansa Stark and Thepenniesdropped continuing but six lengths behind. All seven runners took their second open ditch (fence twelve) well but Dccovi unseated at the thirteenth and Sansa Stark was pulled up. At fence fifteen Here I Am led from Ballybrack Dancer with Slidecheck a further two lengths back in third whilst Joey Kangaroo was pulled up having dropped back from the leading trio and Thepenniesdropped also pulled up at the fifteenth fence. Racing back down the hill Ballybrack Dancer moved into the lead but got in close to the sixteenth fence which allowed Here I Am to move back up to join her. Slidecheck was also closing on the leading pair at the penultimate fence but made a mistake and lost a bit of momentum. Racing towards the final fence Here I Am started to pull away from his rivals and opened up a four length advantage. A good jump at the final fence sealed the race whilst Slidecheck and Ballybrack Dancer battled for second with Slidecheck getting his head in front at the winning post to take second place.
1st Here I Am Oz Wedmore 4/1
2nd Slidecheck Philip Hall Evens (Favourite)
3rd Ballybrack Dancer Hannah Jones 6/1
Distances: 5 lengths and a head
Time: 6mins 42 secs
Three finished
Race 4: The Tom Hills Memorial Mixed Open Race
Five runners were declared for the mixed open race with Behind The Scenes (Ella Darwin) the 4/6 favourite. Bit Of A Clown (Hayley Moore) was backed from 4/1 to 2/1 whilst Owenacurra (Stuart Robinson) and Rear Gunner (Hannah Rawdon-Mogg) were both 4/1 and Dance Tempo (Philip Hall) was the 10/1 outsider.
Owenacurra was the early leader ahead of Bit Of A Clown, Rear Gunner, Behind The Scenes and Dance Tempo. Rear Gunner made a mistake at fence three but lost little momentum and then moved up to dispute the lead with Owenacurra at fence four (first open ditch) ahead of Behind The Scenes, Bit Of A Clown and Dance Tempo. The five runners continued to set a reasonable pace as they completed their first circuit with Rear Gunner and Owenacurra leading from Behind the Scenes, Dance Tempo and Bit Of A Clown. Bit Of A Clown made a mistake at fence twelve (second open ditch) and lost a couple of lengths on his rivals as Rear Gunner continued to lead from Owenacurra, Dance Tempo and Behind The Scenes. At fence fifteen Rear Gunner and Owenacurra had a three length advantage over Behind The Scenes with Dance Tempo a further six lengths behind and Bit Of A Clown further detached. As the runners turned down the hill for the final time Rear Gunner opened up a two length advantage over Owenacurra whilst Bit Of A Clown was pulled up. Behind The Scenes started to try to close on the leader at the seventeenth fence and moved into second ahead of Owenacurra and Dance Tempo however Rear Gunner continued to hold a three length advantage over Behind the Scenes and took the final two fences to take the victory. Behind the Scenes took second ahead of Owenacurra whilst Dance Tempo also finished in fourth.
1st Rear Gunner Hannah Rawdon-Mogg 4/1
2nd Behind The Scenes Ella Darwin 4/6 (Favourite)
3rd Owenacurra Stuart Robinson 4/1
4th Dance Tempo Philip Hall 10/1
Distances: 3 lengths and 9 lengths
Time: 6mins 30 secs
Four finished
Race 5: The Crawfords Ltd South East Hunts Club Members Conditions Race.
Four runners made their way to the starter with Come On You (Sam Davies-Thomas) the 4/5 favourite. Tallow Fair (Phil York) and Time Is Tickin (Oz Wedmore) were both priced at 5/2 and Kasban (Philip Hall) was the 6/1 outsider.
Time Is Tickin and Come On You had a four length advantage over Kasban and Tallow Fair as they jumped the first fence and the leading pair maintained a four length advantage over their two rivals as they completed their first circuit at a reasonable pace with all four horses jumping well. Kasban was pulled up before the eleventh fence having picked up an injury leaving Come On You and Time Is Tickin leading by six lengths from Tallow Fair. Time Is Tickin gained a length’s advantage over Come On You at fence twelve (second open ditch) but by fence fifteen all three remaining runners were in with a chance as Tallow Fair made up ground to join the leaders and the trio were grouped together. However Tallow Fair unseated on the bend leaving Time Is Tickin and Come On You to battle it out. At fence sixteen Time Is Tickin had a two length advantage over Come On You but Come On You moved back up beside the leader at fence seventeen where Time Is Tickin made a mistake and fell leaving Come On You the sole survivor of the race. With only the obstacles in front of him as danger, Come On You was steadied and took the final two fences to win the race.
1st Come On You Sam Davies-Thomas 4/5 (Favourite)
Distances: Finished alone
Time: 6mins 40 secs
Race 6: The Shepherd Neame Ltd Ashford Valley Tickham & Coakham Bloodhounds Hunt Members, Subscribers & Farmers Race.
Eight runners contested the members race with the betting close again as Duke Of Kentford (Stewart Wright) and Cold Mountain (Paul Blagg) sent off the 7/4 joint favourites whilst Country Foolery (Will Clarke) was also popular at 2/1. Rather Curious (Rex Dingle) was priced at 5/1 whilst First Attempt (Michael Burge) was 8/1, Showman (Will Hickman) was 10/1 , Inside Out (Charlie Marshall) was 12/1 and Beat Master (Chris Dennington) was the 16/1 outsider.
The eight runners set a reasonable pace as Duke Of Kentford and Country Foolery led the runners from the starter whilst First Attempt and Beat Master were slightly slower to get away and handed their rivals a four length advantage. At fence three Duke Of Kentford and Country Foolery led from Cold Mountain, Inside Out, Showman, Rather Curious and First Attempt and Beat Master. Inside Out didn’t take the first open ditch (fence four) particularly well but continued to hold her place in the field. The eight runners completed their first circuit with Duke Of Kentford leading from Cold Mountain with Country Foolery and Inside Out disputing third a length further behind. Rather Curious and Showman were a further length behind whilst First Attempt was a further six lengths back and Beat Master was detached from the others. Beat Master was pulled up before the ninth fence reducing the field to seven. As the seven runners took their second open ditch (fence twelve) Duke Of Kentford continued to lead from Cold Mountain, Country Foolery and Inside Out with Showman and Rather Curious a further four lengths behind and First Attempt another three lengths back but closing on the main group of runners. At fence fourteen Inside Out moved up to join Duke Of Kentford with Country Foolery a further two lengths back followed by Showman and Cold Mountain with Rather Curious eight lengths behind and First Attempt three lengths off of his closest rival. Inside Out was asked to take the lead running to fence sixteen but Duke Of Kentford jumped better and regained the advantage on landing and the leading pair started to pull away from their rivals with three fences to jump. Duke Of Kentford again put in the better jump at fence seventeen and had a two length on the run to the penultimate fence. Inside Out tried to challenge again but Duke Of Kentford added another burst of speed and started to pull further clear racing to the penultimate fence. Duke Of Kentford jumped the final two fences fluently to win the race with Inside Out taking second ahead of Country Foolery. Cold Mountain won the battle for fourth ahead of Showman with Rather Curious finishing sixth and First Attempt also completing in seventh.
1st Duke Of Kentford Stewart Wright 7/4 (Jt Favourite)
2nd Inside Out Charlie Marshall 12/1
3rd Country Foolery Will Clarke 2/1
4th Cold Mountain Paul Blagg 7/4 (Jt Favourite)
Distances: 10 lengths and 6 lengths
Time: 6mins 34 secs
Easter Saturday at Charing proved as popular as ever, with a bumper crowd flocking to witness the best that South East point-to-pointing has to offer.
The highlight of the day was the Mixed Open, which was won by Rear Gunner, who was bouncing back from a few disappointing runs this season and was revitalised by the use of a pair of cheekpieces. He led for much of the way under regular pilot Hannah Rawdon-Mogg and easily held off the odds on favourite Behind The Scenes who came to challenge between the last two fences but was no match for the 13 year old. Rear Gunner was recording his third win at the course from four starts and will hopefully return to the course next year as a 14 year old.
Rear Gunner’s win brought up a double for trainer Rose Grissell, after she had taken the Open Maiden with Here I Am in the previous race. It was Oz Wedmore who did the steering in that race, winning by a comfortable five lengths, while Slidecheck got the better of Ballybrack Dancer in the scrap for second.
Thoughts of a treble for Rose and a double for Oz were quashed when Time Is Tickin fell when going the best in the Club Members Conditions race. He was three lengths clear at the third last when taking a crashing fall, leaving Oz unable to ride for the rest of the day. His departure meant that Come On You simply had to negotiate the final two fences to win, after the other two runners had already called it quits.
The meeting started with the Veteran & Novice Riders race, which was won easily by the Phil York trained Gamato, ridden by his owner Richard Defago. Gamato had previously been victorious at the course at odds of 16/1, but was a shade shorter this time at 14/1, a price that gave his backers plenty to cheer about. Back in second was fellow outsider Tiermore, who was also sent off at odds of 14/1 under Charlie Marshall.
The Restricted was the second race and York took that too, with Conna Cloud following up his Hackwood Maiden success in convincing fashion. Behind in second was David Phelan trained Tompatpeg ridden by Charlie Marshall, who frustratingly finished runner up on all three of his rides, although all of them were at long odds. The odds on favourite Simonsruudt struggled with the relentless pace and finished back in third, but still qualified for the Subaru Restricted Final at Stratford in May.
The concluding Hunt Race went to Duke Of Kentford and Stewart Wright, who was recording the first win of his career. The pair had been unlucky to be caught on the line at Parham last time out, but Stewart took no chances this time, sending his mount to the front from flag fall and leading all the way for an emphatic win. Back in second yet again was Charlie Marshall, this time on Nick Pearce trained Inside Out, who has improved massively from here previous starts and should soon by winning at maiden level.