Aldington, 6/5/18

They said it would not happen but the lost meeting from Easter got rearranged. It seems to have lost the East Kent affiliation along the way, but apart from the lack of a members' race, the racing - with not as many runners as would be hoped for from the entries - was more or less as expected. And consequently, there was a bit of a shortage of close and exciting finishes after the first race. What it leaves is one of those reports where everyone gets a mention.

Going: Good to Soft, soft patches

Race 1: Tilney Open Maiden

1: Dontdillydally     2: Winola     3: Are You Well

Winner owned: Cynthia Woods & Guy Woods, trained: Cynthia Woods, ridden: Will Hickman

The short priced favourite for this was the ominously named Writingsonthewall, whose form this season was fell then pulled up. Clearly there was not a shortage of people who felt last week's Parham run was a bit of a school round, and he was in serious contention when clouting the last and unseating. That seemed to have put Winola in the driving seat, despite an indifferent round of jumping, but Dontdillydally finished with a right rattle and pinched the result by a short head. It was a fine ride by Will Hickman, as the little that we have seen of Dontdillydally reveals that she is a nightmare in the preliminaries, and we have to assume that she has to be treated as a bit unpredictable in the race as well. Any case of ten year olds in a maiden is never a good sign, but Are You Well used the modest pace to hang in there until between the final couple of fences.

Empire: Ididandididn't - Made the running but pulled up lame with a lap to go. Sadly it looks almost certain to be a career ending injury.
Ididandididn't leads Writingsonthewall, with Are You Well and Winola chasing. So a picture excluding the winner and only a small, indistinct look at the second...

Race 2: Hallett And Co. Restricted

1: Cada Club     2: Clondaw Nell     3: Grayhawk

Winner owned, trained & ridden: Hannah Jones

The favourite for this was Grayhawk, on the basis that he won last time out, at Penshurst. It was not much of a race there, and it had taken him quite a few attempts to get off of the mark. So whilst it was understandable that he was favoured, he was just the sort to be looking to take on, and Cada Club did that by going aggressively onto the offensive after Next Surprise had done most of the donkey work in the first mile and quarter and then come to the conclusion that it was all too much hard work. Grayhawk did actually scrap his way to a slight lead three out, but he fluffed the next and could only trundle along at his traditional one pace from that stage. Clondaw Nell, who has had a bad season so far, but had some interesting older form, swept into second place on the run-in. She had not been able to keep tabs on Cada Club, but had been the paddock pick, so Clondaw Nell might have blossomed in the warmer weather and be capable of a repeat good display. Next Surprise gradually lost touch and pulled up, and the slow starting Wah Wah Taysee pulled up without ever getting involved.

Race 3: Holiday Extra Ladies Open

1: Dont Do Mondays     2: Hazy Tom     3: Wor Rom

Winner owned & trained: Libby Lawson, ridden: Louise Burnell

Only three took part, and with veteran Wor Rom showing his age during this season (and probably last) there were two to pick between. Hazy Tom has not taken to his return to pointing as well as might have been hoped and his win last week at Parham was a Members' race, whereas Dont Do Mondays had landed two competitive Opens in his last couple of runs. Hazy Tom made a race of it, but could not match Dont Do Mondays for pace from the second last fence. This took rider Louise Burnell's score to rides 2, wins 2.
Dont Do Mondays is happy enough with his hat trick

Race 4: Wilkins Kennedy Mens Open

1: Generous Ransom     2: Adept Approach     3: Smadynium

Winner owned: Huntin, Shootin, Fishin Partnership & Mr Homewood, trained: David Phelan, ridden: Shane Roche

The commentator noted that in seasons where he has taken part in a race, Adept Approach has never failed to win at least once.* He is still blank for 2018, with time running out. Hope here lay in the fact that there was probably only one viable alternative, but that was the very much in-form and once very decent handicap chaser Generous Ransom. All it needed was for Generous Ransom to have an off day. He refused to do that. At the line Adept Approach was only beaten by about a length - a good enough effort to suggest that another bash or two is merited. Smadynium was also prominent in the betting, presumably more because he is trained by Alan Hill than because he had run OK in defeat in a novice riders' race and a members' one so far this term. He was involved until the second last, from where it became apparent that Generous Ransom (predictably) and Adept Approach (nearly as predictably) were too speedy for him. Dystonia's Revenge was fourth, his best run since returning to pointing for this season. Probable non-stayer Kitchapoly ran just like a non-stayer should, but struggled on to complete tailed off in fifth, and Crazy Eyes pulled up for the fourth time in four races this season. He is another teenager who seems to be wondering what the sign language for "I wish to retire" is.

* Later revision actually showed that in 2014 Adept Approach's pointing form was 2F, a truncated season but one the proved the assertion to be slightly out.
Generous Ransom has won and would not be too anti the idea of another lap

Race 5: Faversham Joinery John Hinge Memorial PPORA Club Members, Veteran & Novice Riders

1: Margot Fontane     2: Knockedoutloaded     3: Broughtons Bandit

Winner owned, trained & ridden: Peter Bull

This race had a fairly healthy level of entries, but plenty had alternatives on this card, and it cut up to only five runners. For most of the way round, Knockedoutloaded led with Margot Fontane stalking him. Leaving the final turn, Margot Fontane attacked and Knockedoutloaded's lack of any finishing verve was again exposed, seeing him dismissed by twenty lengths. However, second place was securely in his grasp as a sluggish Broughtons Bandit out slugged Fountains Cider for third place, a position that they competed for all the time that Margot Fontane was setting up for the victory. Spitfire Ace was heading for first completion of the season when he fell three out, although he was tailed off at the time.

Race 6: Evegate Conditions Race

1: For 'N' Against     2: Indian Chance     3: Le Fou Royal

Winner owned & trained: Alan Hill, ridden: Izzy Marshall

Outsider Nouailhas pushed the field along at a pace that seemed to the naked eye to be a fair bit quicker than the rest of the card. After about two miles he came to the end of his tether and gradually dropped out, leading to pulling up. The remaining four runners looked at the end of the back straight as if a close finish could be contrived, but Le Fou Royal soon cracked and Arbeo began to drift away from four out. He unseated at the second last, when well beaten, hence Le Fou Royal making the frame. Up front the highly productive Indian Chance was battling away against For 'N' Against, who has been taking a more meandering passage through a so far winless season. Today was the time it all came right, and he fended off everything that the favourite could throw at him.
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