BRIDGNORTH trainer Phil Rowley finished the season on a high note with a double during the West Midland Areas annual end of season finale at Chaddesley Corbett on Monday afternoon.
Five horses lined up for the Mens Open – the final piece in the jigsaw for the Higgs & Sons Solicitors West Midland Area Open Race Championship – with three of them having a chance of winning although it was dependent on the outcome of this race.
Mark Wall’s mount Dandan was in pole position for this award along with Ice Cool Benny, while One More Tune needed to win to stand any chance of success.
Warne and One More Tune set the pace, but the former began to weaken after Mark Wall sent Dandan into the lead halfway down the back straight with this partnership securing a three-length advantage as they raced uphill towards the third from home.
Alex Edwards and One More Tune began to creep closer as turned into the home straight and the Phil Rowley trained runner held a slender advantage at the penultimate. They began to draw clear as Dandan weakened over the final two fences and had the race in safe keeping at the final obstacle.
One More Tune’s owner and Chaddesley clerk of the course Jim Squire said: “At least we have done what we needed to do to try and win the Championship, but I am not counting my chickens.”
It was a close run thing but after much deliberation Dandan’s connections were able to claim the prize as they had secured one more placing than their rival.
One More Tune’s stablemate Cracking Find had been pulled up on two previous outings this season, but the five-year-old was in front from flagfall in the concluding Maiden and scored a pillar to post victory in the hands of Alex Edwards.
The opposition were queuing up to challenge Cracking Find going out onto the second circuit but all their efforts were in vain because the leader kept finding extra and turned for home with the race in his pocket.
Overly Cautious and Hurricane Vic had their own private battle for the runners up spot in the home straight, but the further they went the further Cracking Find increased his advantage and on this performance looks worth the money connections paid for him at Goffs Sales last May.
Punters who follow the old racing adage of ‘horses for courses’ were rewarded when two horses which had been successful at the Wheatland two weeks ago, scored again at this meeting.
Champagne Rian and Hugh Nugent always had the leaders in their sights in the Novice Riders before a protracted battle with Treacyswestcounty down the back straight and the two were inseparable as they raced downhill towards the second from home.
Treacyswestcounty renewed his effort between the final two fences but Champagne Rian refused to let him pass and ran on with the utmost resolution to land the prize for Warwickshire trainer Francesca Nimmo.
Mark Wall and Nobby Kivambo adopted their normal front running tactics in the West Midland Area Club Conditions race but after losing their place briefly at halfway they were back in front again at the 13th.
Flicka’s Witness and Mr Sawyer began to draw clear as they turned for home and there was little between these two rivals over the final two fences.
Flicka’s Witness jumped slightly to his left at the penultimate and did so again at the last and which may have contributed to his rival’s departure.
The Ladies Open provided a shock with the more fancied pairing of Start Royal and Patricktom Boru having to give best the Francesca Nimmo trained runner Right Enough.
The grey disputed the lead with I Believe until they were passed by Patricktom Boru racing uphill towards the third from home, where it looked as though the two leaders would justify their market positions.
Right Enough and Caroline Tucker continued to be a thorn in their rival’s side and were back in front as they raced downhill towards the final two fences and they stayed on in determined fashion to provide his 35-year-old rider with her first success on her fourth ride.
Seenigora did not seem to have any chance of winning as Rilly Goschen’s mount was in last place at halfway in the Restricted.
Knockoutloaded and Gina Andrews attempted to make every post a winning one and they had seen off a succession of challengers before the winner was making significant late progress during the final mile.
They were on level terms with the leader between the final two fences before going clear of their weakening rival on the flat.