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Charing, 22/2/20

South East Hunts Club

The organising committee did a monstrous job to rearrange the meeting six days on from the original postponement but the racegoing public let the side down with a pitiful attendance rate. One gold star to those there, a crack on the jaw with a bit of 2-by-4 to those who did not bother. It was so deserted when arriving an hour and a quarter before the first race it did seem as if it was possible that a perfectly viable delay to a 1.00pm start had been overlooked. No, it just is the case that many humans are terrible people.

As for the horses, from over hundred individuals entered, we might have expected a few more runners, but the races were competitive, and who can ask for more than that? Charing racegoers, thats who, because in the last race we saw a horse taken out of a race in the sort of incident that you could go racing a million times and never see. Imagine if you had backed it?

Going: Good to Soft

Race 1: Giles Hopper Memorial Open Maiden, 2m 4f

1: Kenyan Cowboy     2: Howitsdone     3: Cydercourt

Winner owned: Mr & Mrs C Poste, trained: Francesca Nimmo, ridden: James King

The annual debate about four year olds in maidens displayed both sides here. Kenyan Cowboy, receiving 21 pounds, went clear three out with Howitsdone. The way that Kenyan Cowboy, making his racing debut, skipped six lengths ahead of that challenger on the run-in does look like the weight was important, but Howitsdone finished so tired that he may well have lost even were the pair much closer in burden carried. And the other four year old, also new to sport, Storm Arcadio, was so naive regarding jumping and galloping, that no weight would be low enough to have made him a factor. For the fifth year in a row, the solution is to hope that at some point the badly advised and gullible will cease chucking large sums at horses who have run in one modest race. No hope? Well, non-declaree Saquon apparently failed to meet his reserve at the sales this week... Cydercourt had pulled up on his pointing debut but had run well in a couple of bumpers in 2017. It is reasonable to think that he had come on for the experience and fitness, with the conclusion to this being potential maiden success. The main eyecatcher was Kilmaley in fourth. He trundled through three Irish races with no impact but at least beating half of his opponents twice. When the first pair kicked on he did not have the pace to go with them, or was not asked to finish too close in vain.

Race 2: Jockey Club & Retraining Of Racehorses Veterans

1: Generous Ransom     2: Kelvingrove     3: Thomas Junior

Winner owned: The Huntin, Shootin, Fishin Parternship, trained: David Phelan, ridden: Jack Andrews

The second race produced the finish of the day as Generous Ransom just about repelled a purposeful rally by Kelvingrove, who had been outjumped at the last but struck back hard, at fresh air, to fail by only a head. He gets extra credit because he did not travel especially well at a few moments in the race. To still be determined rather than fed up at the end of three miles of strenuous labour is worth some kudos. Of course, since he went pointing it has never been totally clear what to expect from Generous Ransom. As he did not lose, it was definitely a going day, so maybe he just idled a bit when he thought the job was done. Thought prematurely, we saw. Thomas Junior will be better for the seasonal bow and only inherited a very distant third when pace setting Double Whammy's fatigue caused him to blunder off his rider at the final obstacle. It should be noted that all these events came after favourite Burtredgipandgump unseated at fence one.

Race 3: Shepheard Neame Mens Open

1: Full Irish     2: Streets Of London     3: Midnight King

Winner owned: Anthony Ward-Thomas, trained: David Phelan, ridden: Jack Andrews

When the likes of Generous Ransom are in the mood to knuckle down for a scrap, it is a clue that the yard is in form, and that is even better if the results to prove it have not yet emerged because prices can be most appealing. Full Irish had run pretty respectably at Ampton, despite ending up only third of four. He was one of a trio tthat easily went clear coming down the hill, the others being up and coming six year old Streets Of London and teenager Midnight King, very much a known quantity. In the end they were the only finishers, the others stopping after some belated urgency was introduced approaching four out. Midnight King lacked the finishing kick in the exact style expected from a horse of his age on seasonal debut. Streets Of London must have the stereotypic "blew up" three out as he seemed set to grind to a halt there but rallied somewhat to avoid being embarrassed. Like many a Tim Underwood horse he is shrewdly placed to keep finding soft wins, irrespective of quality and is yet to prove himself in decent OPen company. Favourite Silvergrove, who is an odd shape for a racehorse, stopped quickly after fence ten and the pulled up was presumably down to injury more than incompetence. He was certainly fit enough to offer more.
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Man Of Steel leads Expedite and Silvergrove. The red sleeves of Full Irish can be sighted through the wing

Race 4: Ladies Open

1: Darius Des Bois     2: Dont Do Mondays     3: Namako

Winner owned: Mark Flinton, trained: Jennifer Owen, ridden: Frankkie Flinton

Dont Do Mondays has become a regular yet not hugely busy winner in the last couple of years and even managed to be seventh in a Cheltenham Foxhunters, but first time out has never been his forte and he was here to be shot at. The popular option was Peggies Venture. She was rated 115 after a couple of chase runs in autumn. The suspicion was that three miles on the prevailing going could be too much for her, but her jumping was not guite good enough either and two combined to nearly put her on the deck three out. She was pulled up quickly, her chaance having already gone before the worst blunder. That left the assassination to be dealt by the blade of Darius Des Bois. He was not the obvious pick because his two British point runner-up efforts had both seen him well beaten. However a couple of Rules seconds last winter made him look like he had a steely stilleto to deliver the blow, not a rough cudgel. He was not given time to take it easy but from the second last he always looked odds-on against Dont Do Mondays. Namako is Japanese for "a horse who is not short of wins, but perhaps fewer than raw memory may credit him."

Race 5: Adrian Henry Vivier Memorial Conditions

1: Earlshill     2: Cooladerry King     3: Chicoria

Winner owned: Mrs J Burton, trained: Jennifer Owen, ridden: Lucy Burton

To only have seven of the twenty-six entries make it to run was a bit disappointing. Cooladerry King set off to the start like a bat out of hell (and that was going into the wind!) so speculation as to how much of a race he could manage was inevitable. As it turned out, a five lengths second was a very honourable display. That degree of trying was not enough to fend off Earlshill, who cruised through the race in comfort, flirted with diasaster via a blunder three out and recovered to put the race to bed. Chicoria only lost by nine lengths in the end but somehow it is hard to recall a moment in the race when he threatened to do better. Having missed last season, Midnight Cowboy pulled up on his comeback at Horseheath. Fourth here was at least progress but did not yet make him a winner waiting to hapeen, which was what wold be hoped for from a mid-130s rated chaser in these sort of races.
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Cada Club leads awkwardly at the fence in the finishing straight, but more importantly Earlshill is in shot in second (mostly). Midnight King (grey) and Cooladerry King (pink) snap at their heels, ahead of Chicoria.

Race 6: Messrs Cockerell & Cowing Restricted

1: The Golden Rebel     2: Schiap Hill     3: Tinnehinch

Winner owned: Roger Freeman & Don Gardner, trained: Julie Wadland, ridden: Jack Andrews.

In many ways this was a very typical area Restricted. Only one of the eight entries did not run, and that was because she had raced earlier on the card and had wandered off for a post-match pint. It had the slight oddity that the`second, fourth and seventh from the Cocklebarrow Restricted took each other on and also the winner of that track's 2m 4f Maiden. But the special once in a lifetime event occurred at the open ditch that is fence four. Bulfin Island fell and in the process managed to wrap his reins around the legs of Almost There. Gina Andrews was alert enough to the pull her horse up before any harm appeared to be done, and commentator Robin Scott sharply noticed the problem in double quick time. With Iron In The Soul having unseated at the second, we were left with only one non-Cocklebarrow graduate in the race, and he was soon not really involved. Tinnehinch was priced at 11/10 despite finishing only three lengths ahead of Schiap Hill, and the tables had been turned by the sixteenth, when the jolly tailed off. They were all trumped by The Golden Rebel, who only scraped home in his win, but demolished Worth Knowing in third, who finished tailed off in today's maiden. Interesting note, to some, Darius Des Bois had also been a Cocklebarrow runner-up.
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