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Charing, 20/4/19

Ashford Valley Tickham

A disastrous day for south-east pointing, with a massive crowd turning up, but almost no horses. The first race had two declared but one was withdrawn at the start. The next pair had two and three, but then the open was walkover and only one horse had been declared for the last two. In the final race the remaining runners had not been sighted on course, so another walkover was impending. That made it time to flee before the crowd started a mass exodus when the dog show ended.

Having walked a part of the course after the third, the horses were making no print at all, so the official going seems to be rather optimistic. However, with the course staging the first area meeting of the season because the chalk allows water to go straight through it, this was not a shock situation given recent weather, despite the watering. On the one hand we can say that the late Easter made this risk inevitable and around the country other points fared only slightly better (including the likes of Dingley that specialise in late season meetings). However, the occurrence of late Easters are well known and having a contingency plan, e.g. a course swap, would be advisable.

Going: Good, Good to Firm places

Race 1: Shepherd Neame Open Maiden

1: Winola

Winner owned, trained & ridden: Katie Featherstone

Winola was left with a walkover after Iron In The Soul was noted bleeding from the nose at the start. Although she had been given plenty of tries in maidens, Winola has at least been a reliable finisher so she will probably keep doing the same in Restricteds as well.

Race 2: Wellesley House Conditions, 9 year olds and up

1: Conkies Lad     2: Kentucky Star

Winner owned: Glebe House Racing Club, trained: Charlotte Marshall, ridden: Charlie Marshall

After breaking with tradition and winning a two finisher Open at Penshurst last week, Conkies Lad was not unduly stretched to add this one to the score as well. Making the running he had a scares when a) Kentucky Star rushed up and took a brief lead after a lap, b) he fluffed fence eleven and c) at fence eighteen there was a horse and jockey mutual complacency that led to a very slow jump, but by then Kentucky Star had accepted defeat and the win was unchallenged.

Race 3: Barretts Land Rover Restricted

1: Steel The China     2: Shallamar     3: The Crazy Crab

Winner owned & trained: Noel Wilson, ridden: Charlie Marshall

It had been noted on this site that Steel The China looks like a horse that should be functional as a pointer but he had not been getting his act together to live up to that aspiration. Here he was up against Shallamar, who won on seasonal debut and has gone FP4P since (the four not a close one) and The Crazy Crab, a thirteen year old who has not looked likely to break out of Restricted level for quite some time. The pace was set by The Crazy Crab until he hit the eleventh, leading to him losing touch by the thirteenth and popping round tailed off for third. Shallamar hung in as a competitor until three out but ran out of steam quickly, leaving Steel The China to have a comfy victory.

Race 4: Tom Hills Memorial Mixed Open

1: Court Dismissed

Winner owned: Glebe House Racing Club, trained: Alan Hill, ridden: Izzy Marshall

Walkover.

Race 5: Crawfords Conditions, 2m 4f

1: Streets Of London

Winner owned & trained: Tim Underwood, ridden: Phil York

Walkover.

Race 6: Mount Mascal Stables Members

1: Head Spin

Winner owned: The Random Optimists, trained: Hannah Grissell, ridden: James Rawdon-Mogg

Walkover.   here.
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