15 March 2011 Scene & Heard: Sir W W Wynn's - Bangor-on-Dee
by Carolyn Tanner
It was a day of doubles and trebles on the 11-race marathon card at Bangor.
Three-timers were recorded by the trainer and rider combinations of Steve Flook and Rob Jarrett and Sheila Crow and Richard Burton, while the double scorers were trainer Phillip Rowley and owner Brian Mould. Steve, who broke his leg in a schooling fall in February, had gone to Warwick to supervise his Hunter Chase runner Good Company and so unfortunately missed seeing what was an initial training treble.
Bills Bank, Steve and Rob's first winner in the second part of the split-on-the-day 3m Maiden Division Two, had failed to make his reserve at Ascot in 2009, but a phone call from Steve to Brian Mould ascertained that the owner would be prepared to pay a little more. A deal was duly done, and although Bills Bank was already on his way home arrangements were made for Steve to meet his lorry and transfer him to his own box at a suitable point adjacent to the M5.
Rob's second winner, Twisted Cross in the 2m4f Maiden Division One Part One, gave the jockey his first double on a horse for which Steve had paid 2000gns and who was described by owner Sally Vaughan as "The thinnest I've ever had on the farm in 45 years."
"Steve had seen the video of his Irish run and liked him," she continued, explaining that the problem turned out to be a slow-maturing molar which was preventing him from eating properly.
However, there was a sting in the tail for connections. Although Twisted Cross ran in Sally's familiar blue and white, he had erroneously been entered with Brian Mould's black and white, so Sally was fined £60 for failing to declare a change of colours from those listed on the racecard. In addition, she was relieved of a further £50 due to Twisted Cross's late arrival in the paddock, while Rob was also fined for the same offence.
It was perhaps surprising that there were not more problems of a similar nature, as following both the extra contest early on the card and the projected split later, race timings were somewhat haphazard, while racegoers also could have been kept better informed of the revised times.
The Flook-Jarrett treble was completed in the third of the 2m4f Maidens by Miss Tilly Oscar, who was broken in by Steve and ran for Stuart Addis before being purchased by Brian Mould just before she ran at Eyton last month.
"She's very busy at home but she gives 110%," said Steve's partner Lynn Wallace, "and she's settled down so much this year."
Brian will be at Cheltenham on Friday to see Gentle George take his chance in the Foxhunter Chase under Richard Burton.
My Flora, the apple of Sheila Crow's eye, set the ball rolling for Richard in the Men's Open, with the only surprise being her generous starting price of evens. There are no concrete plans for the mare, though a tilt at the pointtopoint.co.uk John Corbet Hunter Chase at Stratford could be on the agenda.
Sheila had some sad news about My Flora's dam Bishop's Folly, who was in foal to Black Sam Bellamy but who had died of colic that very morning.
What Jimmy Call It, owned by Sue Davies with Gareth and Jane Samuel, took the 2m4f Maiden Division One Part Two, which was described by Richard as "a weird race to ride in" due to the tactics employed by Alpha Way, who went off like the proverbial bat out of hell and was at one stage a fence clear.
"I thought I was beaten three out," admitted the jockey, whose mount rather ran in snatches. "Considering how he works at home he emptied a lot quicker than he should," he elaborated.
The Crow-Burton treble was completed in the Intermediate by Current Exchange, whose forte would appear to be stamina. Sheila has trained for countless owners over the years but none, it seems, has been such a nervous spectator as the chesnut's - her son Alastair!
Phillip Rowley has his team in fine form, and he saddled Billyvoddan (Jane Williams) to win the Ladies' Open and Shouldhavehadthat (Liam Payter) to take the Confined.
Billyvoddan was a gift horse to Juliet Minton from Trevor Hemmings. "He knows more about racing than you or I ever will," laughed Juliet's husband David. "He's really artful, but luckily he's in love with Jane and she's in love with him!"
Billyvoddan needs a month between races so the plan is to go to Tabley next month prior to running in the AGA final at Cheltenham in May.
Shouldhavehadthat was originally bought for Nicky Henderson by Minton's Highflyer Bloodstock, who again made the winning bid when he was submitted from Seven Barrows last year. He now belongs to a group of seven consisting of Shropshire farmers and "wheelers and dealers," David explained.
Having lost his enthusiasm for racing, his new connections say they have been playing with him by giving him plenty of variety in his training so he longer thinks he's a racehorse.
Jockeys are often said to be poor tipsters, and so it proved in the case of Ben Furnival, who opted to partner Foundry Square in the 3m Maiden Division Two. Foundry Square finished second, but unfortunately for Ben the one which finished in front of him was the one he rejected, Brookview Lad, trained for Bernard Perkins by Royston Smart.
The beneficiary was Oscar Churton, who picked up the ride 24 hours earlier but must have thought his luck was out when he was unshipped prior to the race, his mount slipping up en route to the start. Oscar currently works for Oliver Greenall but is hoping to join the King's Royal Hussars in September.
"We spent all week searching for a jockey, and this was the last one we could find!" grinned Adam Wadlow, who had sprung his collarbone in a fall from Brookview Lad at Chaddesley, and who obviously did not have Oscar at the top of his list!
Ben Poste's pre-race optimism regarding the prospects of Just Gizmo in Division One Part One proved well-founded, Mick Mann's five-year cruising home to win easily. "He was a weak unimpressive foal, and he's still growing," pointed out trainer Sue Taylor of her charge, adding "He's so laid back you wouldn't really know if he was feeling all right or not."
Ben, who is based with Andy Turnell, waited just long enough for the photo call before grabbing his gear and hotfooting it to Warwick, where he finished runner-up in the Air Wedding Hunters' Chase on Good Company.
Rider Nick Slatter and rookie handler Ray Owen are enjoying a fruitful partnership and they added another winner to their respective tallies when Sarah Thomas's Whitepark Legend took the Hunt race. "He's very lazy," said Ray, who has had the son of Rudimentary in his stable since Christmas and has continued to equip him with the cheekpieces which he wore when in Gary Hanmer's yard last season.