13 May 2011 Scene & Heard: Folkestone Hunter Chase night
by Carolyn Tanner
Owner-trainer Alan Hill admitted to being "gobsmacked" after Mysaynoway had romped home under Gina Andrews in the 3m7f Shepherd Neame Open Champion Hunters' Chase.
"I thought if we got in the first three we'd have done well," he said, adding "I needed the money to pay the fine." Alan was relieved of £140 by the officials when Mysaynoway's passport was found to be out of date, meaning that she is unable to run for a month.
"Gina got carted for the first two miles," smiled Alan. "I was a bit worried, because a good horse can go that speed, but I don't think she's that good."
The diminutive mare, described by Andrew Thornton as "the smallest horse I've ever ridden that jumps so well," had been schooled two days earlier by David Bass, and she may next go summer jumping.
The combined yards of Alan and his wife Lawney have now sent out 18 winners from their last 24 runners.
Gina's mount King's Chase had earlier just failed to peg back the Chandler Family's Captain Knock, on whom Darren Edwards temporarily lost an iron during the race, in the Hamlet Oak Framed Buildings Maiden Hunters' Chase. It was an initial training success under Rules for Clare Bowles, 21, to whose yard Captain Knock had been transferred when Holly Chandler moved from Kent to Somerset. "Besides, Clare's prettier than David Phelan [the horse's former handler]," laughed Holly's father Mike.
Holly, who sustained a broken collarbone in a fall at Lockinge on Easter Monday, has failed to gel with Captain Knock, and he is now on the market.
Nick Pearce, third to Captain Knock on Righteous Glory, broke his sequence of one-day bans incurred at this meeting in the past three seasons. "I've tried to be careful because a longer ban would have ruled me out of Stratford," said Nick, who has had a fancied mount at the Warwickshire track each time. "This year, when I haven't got a ride, I've been let off with a caution!"
"Not many of my plans work out but this one has - he's happier on the flat," grinned a jubilant Chris Gordon after saddling Kate Digweed's Swordsman to score a bloodless victory in the Milbourn Equine Veterinary Clinic Open Hunters' Chase in the hands of Tom Cannon. Chris had correctly gambled on the fact that the low sun would be responsible for the omission of the fences in the back straight, and Swordsman had just ten of the scheduled 18 obstacles to negotiate.
"He's had hard race after hard race, so hopefully this will have done his confidence good," explained Chris, who earlier in the day had sent out Exchange to win at Salisbury and 24 hours previously had triumphed at Fontwell with Winning Show, who runs in the name of Kate's father Roger Alwen.
The Digweed family is no stranger to success, Kate's husband George having just returned from the States where he won the World Clay Pigeon Shooting title for no less than the 19th time.
Tom Cannon, who will be turning Conditional as soon as all the necessary procedures have been completed, was recording a double, having earlier won the Grant's Cherry Brandy South East Novices' Hunters' Chase on Viv Palmer's home-bred Mortar. "You name it, he's done it," said Viv of her all-rounder who, in addition to Chasing, has had spells of dressage and eventing.
Mortar is trained by Suzy Smith, whose partner Sergio Gordon-Watson had charge of the 12-year-old when he won a Maiden Point at the end of April. "He loves fast ground so he may go summer jumping," commented Suzy, while his preference for a left-hand track was evident from the way in which he hung in that direction up the straight.
Ide No Idea provided the perfect ending to Caroline Fryer's exceptional campaign by taking the Claydon Horse Exercisers Novices' Hunters' Chase under Mikey Ennis. "I love this horse so much," smiled the rookie handler, for whom it was a first victory under Rules, and who has saddled ten winners in her initial season. "He'll be out in the field tomorrow," said Caroline, who is hoping that her success will encourage new owners to her Norfolk yard.
The Royal Oak, Brookland, Open Hunters' Chase also went to East Anglia courtesy of Joe Turner's Champtho (Rupert Stearn), whose stable companion and likely favourite Assassino was a non-runner due to the firm ground.
Champtho had not run since falling at Horseheath in February but, stressed Ed Turner, had not missed any work through that and has been kept going, along with his stablemates, on the Turners' dirt gallop. "We took him to a meeting recently but then decided to run something else instead," he explained.