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Aldington, 17/4/17

East Kent with West Street

At first it seemed that there was going to be a slightly lower crowd than normal for this meeting, but it turns out that there was a long queue of people trying to get in and after race one the parking overspill area was fuller than ever. As far as horses were concerned, after Charing on Saturday the quick count was thirty nine individuals entered that had not run this weekend, so only getting twenty-two runners (one of whom had raced two days earlier) was a tad disappointing.

Going: Good – lots of hard prep work had got it in decent nick, and if there happened to be a patch or two of faster stuff, nobody was inclined to quibble over it.

Race 1: Faversham Joinery Open Maiden

1: Clondaw Nell     2: Indian Chance     3: Secret Legend

Winner owned: Simon Tindall, trained: Nick Pearce, ridden: Jack Andrews

Clondaw Nell (1st): Making a belated seasonal debut after showing promise last season, she looked fit enough to do herself justice, and the only serious concern was that the pace was so slow that she might have misunderstood and thought that she was being asked to pull up.

Indian Chance (2nd): Settled a little adrift of the other pair to begin with, his jumping was a bit patchy on only his second run – little danger of falling but losing ground because of it. When the race was coming to a close, he did make an effort to threaten the winner, but it was in vain. He is learning but maybe next season is when he flourishes.

Secret Legend (3rd): A twelve year old in a maiden, so what do you expect? This was his ninth pointing run and only the second completion, so the £100 that came with it is hopefully appreciated.

Race 2: Hallett & Co Restricted

1: Nothing Personal      2: Knockedoutloaded     3: Wah Wah Taysee

Winner owned & trained: Stephen Allen, ridden: Jody Sole

Nothing Personal (1st): In this race he was a relative outsider in the betting, presumably because he is still a maiden, but this is the time of year in the area when you can get the odd stronger horse in maidens than in restricteds. What he did have is proven stamina compared to the enemy, and peak maiden form good enough to win this, although consistency is a word with a meaning that eludes him. Not many horses manage to be carried out in two races, but he has done that as well. Today Nothing Personal led after a mile, ensured a strong pace and had scared nearly everyone else off by fence sixteen. Knockedoutloaded gave chase but failed.

Knockedoutloaded (2nd): Made it six races in a row finishing in the first three, including a success in a short maiden and winning a suspect value members race last time. This was not a terrible effort, but Aldington takes a bit of getting, and his stamina did not see him home, with the winning margin eventually extending to a dozen lengths. He needs a 2m 4f restricted somewhere.

Wah Wah Taysee (3rd): Always in rear and not always jumping fluently early in the race, it did seem that he made some late progress, but on sober reflection he passed some fading rivals without gaining on the winner at all. Or even the second.

Skiptothegoodbit (4th): Started off prominently and could not stay there. Since winning easily at Hackwood Park he has now been pulled up and tailed off. So we may have to leave him on the wait and see list for the moment.

Pinsandneedles (5th): Another whose natural ability is swamped by shortage of stamina, he had a shot at third place until the usual weakness hit him and he was passed by Wah Wah Taysee and Skiptothegoodbit.

Fresh’s Fever (PU): Totally normally he showed up well for a couple of miles then weakened very quickly and pulled up. The winner might note how this one uses consistency, but would have to know that it is not being done in the right way.

Poppy Hill (PU): Made her British debut after an unusual Irish career. She was in total command when a faller on debut, a no show in her next two, and then well defeated when left in the lead to win her fourth go. This was disappointing. Slow jumping got her tailed off by fence seven and she called it a day with a lap to go. She is almost certainly better than this, but the debut fall has apparently dented her confidence quite severely.
Description
You know that awfully insincere thing that American politicians do, seeming to point to a friend in the crowd? When Jody Sole tries it, Nothing Personal does not approve.

Race 3: Holiday Extra Ladies Open

1: Crack Of Thunder     2: Probably George

Winner owned: Matthew Hollis, trained: Rose Grissell, ridden: Tabitha Worsley

Crack Of Thunder (1st): When observing on the report from Saturday at Charing that he would find a win eventually, two days later was not the race in mind. But he only had one opponent to deal with here, and the pair went around mostly with Crack Of Thunder a length up. It became a race where the winner was who could dash home quickest from the second last. He did it, helped by having the inner on the final dogleg bend.

Probably George (2nd): Has had an interesting season. Almost refusing to race first time was not good, but his next effort against a classy horse was very creditable. Last time he hit an horrendous flat spot mid-race, but rallied fairly well in vain. This defeat was down to inferior late pace, but it is impossible not to speculate on what he may have been thinking about at the time. Arm wrestling and cider are the favoured bids.
Description
Crack Of Thunder finally has that pointing win, but seems strangely unimpressed

Race 4: Volvo Mens Open

1: Adept Approach     2: Forget Bob     3: Head Spin

Winner owned: The Danegate Partnership, trained: Phil Hall, ridden: Oz Wedmore

Adept Approach (1st): There is a school of thought that Adept Approach’s excellent winning record has been helped by people being a bit shy to take him on with decent horses, and he has been beatable when challenged. Not always beaten, but worth a shot at. This did not explain why he drifted from 4/6 to briefly 13/8 for this race – we double checked, even triple checked, and nobody had tied his legs together. Those who kept faith were rewarded, as he lobbed around in front on this seasonal debut and won by about three lengths. Impressive? Not quite. Extended and stressed? Not that either.

Forget Bob (2nd): A bit sluggish at the start, he was patient in making up the ground on the leaders. After going around the far bend he did make an effort to get on terms with the winner, but was not quick enough to do it. Kept on, very much at one pace. That sounds flat but actually counts as good, because despite four pointing wins, he had only ever pulled up in open company before today.

Head Spin (3rd): Briefly left in the lead at fence two, he went round keeping Adept Approach company, and then was losing touch when a bad error at the fourteenth nulled his chances.

Take The Mick (Unseated): Won the members race at Parham last time, which made him the one who may take advantage of whatever the betting ring thought was ailing Adept Approach. Unseating at the second fence means that we will never know if that was really possible.

Bay To Go (Pulled up): Overshot going to the start and then calmed down too much and was caught half asleep when the others started. He did a lap tailed off and then surprisingly went off for a second spin round, pulling up when miles behind three fences out.

Race 5: Evegate Business & Retail Park PPORA Club Members

1: Quick Oats     2: West Lake

Winner owned: Nigel Padfield & S Church, trained: Nigel Padfield, ridden: Jack Andrews

Quick Oats (1st): Hit a winning run late last season and was not rushed into action this term. The reappearance was not hugely impressive at Penshurst, but this race was akin to the ladies open, with the pair going round together and the winner being the fastest horse from the second last. Quick Oats could do that.

West Lake (2nd): Lost this on business end speed, but only by a couple of lengths. A third win of the season is still possible because he should be able to find races were there are no opponents teetering on the edge of open class. Start by entering every race possible in the country, and then cross out the difficult options.

Race 6: Shepherd Neame Members

1: Little Legend     2: The Job Is Right

Winner owned: Cynthia Woods & Michael Haydon, trained: Cynthia Woods, ridden: Will Hickman

Little Legend (1st): The little legs may not move as fast as they once did, but the zest is still of the youthful type. He blazed off in front with his one remaining opponent not interested in keeping up. For all but the last couple of furlongs it must have seemed like the long, boring schooling session.

The Job is Right (2nd): Peaked at a rating of 134 over fences in Ireland, but had been in a bit of a slump for a couple of years. So he has moved to Britain for point-to-points, as you do. He was caught out by the winner charging off at speed here, and was soon a dozen lengths adrift. Any idea of getting closer was spoiled by some rusty jumping. Going to the third last he did finally make up a fair bit of ground, but the effort to get within four lengths was all that he could manage. Better for the run perhaps, or just lost what he once had?

Time Is Tickin (3rd): Unseated at the first fence. No more to add.
Description
Unable to see that Time Is Tickin was riderless, Little Legend goes into overdrive to stay ahead of him.
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