CHADDESLEY Corbett was dressed in green and gold for a special day of racing as punters enjoyed an Irish themed event.
The Anglo-Irish Challenge has been a major success in Ireland for the last two years and the meeting in Worcestershire on Monday proved equally attractive to racegoers.
A large crowd turned out to see the British Ladies claim the top two places in the AGA sponsored West Midland Area Club Members Race.
The Irish Male team restored some pride by taking first and
third in the Tattersalls and Irish Thoroughbred Marketing Restricted.
But when the scores from both events were combined British Riders retain their vice like grip on the Challenge having seen off the Irish in the two previous years by outscoring their rivals by 21 to 17.
Irish riders are not normally allowed to ride in British Point-to-Points but after gaining dispensation from the relevant authorities Leading Irish Rider Derek O’Connor made history by guiding Force of Habit in third place in the Men’s Open.
Worcester-based trainer Tom Weston and this year’s British Champion Lady Jockey elect Gina Andrews combined to take the first leg of the Anglo-Irish Challenge with Thoonavolla.
Maxine O’Sullivan sent Billing to the front from the start where they were kept company by Skating Home and these two dictated the pace for most of the race.
But in the end, the race was never in doubt as Thoonavolla created a substantial lead before galloping home to win by 15-lengths.
Derek O’Connor showed why he has ridden over 1,000 winners between the flags in his native Ireland with a dominant display on Part and Parcel in the Restricted, while Shropshire trainer Sheila Crow saddled her Cheltenham Hunter Chase winner Fruit Fayre in the Mens Open.
It was a close affair in the Mares and Fillies Maiden as the lead changed dramatically in the closing stages.
Hanbury based Sue Bowen and her daughter Sarah looked likely winners of this contest with Shantara leading her rivals on the final bend.
They were still in front between the final two fences but Jane Williams started to get a response from Leighton Lass and after trailing at the last they drew clear on the run to the judge.
Meanwhile, Gina Andrews who had taken the first leg of the Anglo/Irish challenge earlier in the afternoon went on to complete a treble courtesy of High Counsel in the Ladies Open and Craig Beinn in the concluding Maiden.
The latter came in the final race of the West Midlands season as Craig Beinn battled it out with Packermac Jack and Sweet Belle for glory.
Sweet Belle was the first to go, followed by Packermac Jack, who capsized at the penultimate, to allow Craig Beinn to claim the win.
Club Members Conditions
1st Now Ben – Miss J Williams
1st Fruit Fayre – P Gerety 4-5 fav
3rd Force of Habit
1st Leighton Lass – Miss J Williams 2-1 fav
3rd Ask Away
WMAC Club Condition (Angle-Irish Challenge-Ladies)
1st Thoonavolla – Miss G Andrews 6-4 fav
2nd Skating Home
3rd Tick Tock Tim
Restricted (Anglo-Irish Challenge – Mens)
1st Part and Parcel – D O’Connor 5-2
2nd A Touch of Sass
1st High Counsel – Miss G Andrews 9-4
2nd Awesome George
1st Craig Beinn – Miss G Andrews 3-1