Vine & Craven point-to-point at Barbury Racecourse

Vine & Craven point-to-point at Barbury Racecourse

By Jake Exelby, Sunday 25th November 2018

Highlight of the day at a chilly Barbury Racecourse was the mixed open. Six of the 12 entries went to post, including multiple course winner Iberico from Sam Jukes’ yard, useful hunter chaser Shotavodka and James Owen’s recruit from Gigginstown Stud, Net D’Ecosse and the three principals were close in the betting, Iberico holding firm at 6/4, Shotavodka drifting from the same price to 5/2 before the start and Net D’Ecosse backed late from 6s to 2s.

Net D’Ecosse took the lead at the cross-fence on the final circuit and looked to be going best, especially with the favourite making mistakes, however he blundered and unseated rider Jack Andrews at the very next fence. This left Petrou – who had useful form under rules for Dan Skelton – in front, but Shotavodka was always travelling well and jumped into the lead two out, holding on by a length and three-quarters from the fast-finishing Iberico, with Petrou two and three-quarter lengths away in third.

Another classy individual on display was Alan Hill’s Hawkhurst, who started at 1/4 and took the four-runner Alan King Racing Conditions Race in the manner a long odds-on shot should. Settled in second by multiple champion lady rider Gina Andrews, having her first mount of the season, he took the lead six out, drew clear with minimal effort and won hard-held by eight lengths from the pursuing Hinxworth, with long-time leader Tinelyra 23 lengths third.

The restricted went the way of another odds-on chance in Julie Wadland’s Lily’s Got Wings. The six year old, a 1/2 shot, faced three rivals and ran them ragged in the hands of Jack Andrews, leading all the way and giving an exceptional display of jumping to come home a fence clear – and hardly blowing – of the only other finisher Wild Ginger.

The opening contest, a maiden, for four, five and six year olds over two and a half miles had four runners. Despite the small field, it was an eventful contest, with second favourite Winter Squaw bolting into a long lead – she was almost a fence clear by the fourth – before rider Gordon Treacy suddenly had to pull her up two fences later due to a broken stirrup leather. This left 4/6 favourite, the Mickey Bowen trained Equus Leader – ridden by Peter Bryan – well clear and they were untroubled to win by a fence and a half from outsider Mickie Franklin (that’s the horse, not the jockey) who was completing for the first time.

The closing race on the card – the open maiden – had four started. Fittingly enough, it was won by the only horse running who was qualified with the Vine & Craven, Tim Underwood’s Irish import Shallamar. The 11/10 joint-favourite jumped well and was always prominent, taking the lead going out on to the final circuit. Gina Andrews on Jemma’s Gift, the other joint-favourite, pressed and harried the leader and looked to be going best round the final bend, but 52-year-old youngster Phil York always had something in hand on Shallamar and won cosily by three lengths. Market Court never threatened in 12 lengths third.

The intermediate was a walkover for Skyhill Allstar, owned and trained by Shropshire based Simon Edwards and partnered by his son Huw. At least the prize money made their journey worthwhile and the horse is now qualified for the intermediate final at Cheltenham.