COTSWOLD VALE FARMERS
SATURDAY 10 APRIL 2004
by Peter Mansell
With so many meetings over the Easter Holiday period, it is
almost inevitable that runners will be thin on the ground at some events and
that is exactly what happened to Saturdays Cotswold Vale Farmers fixture at
Andoversford with just 21 horses contesting six races.
Despite the lack of runners, two young riders will have fond
memories of this meeting, which provided them with their first successes
between the flags.
22-year-old James Jones from Staunton was the first to get on
the score sheet by partnering Tirley Gale to victory in the Members. Jones
was content to restrain his mount until halfway but took the lead down the
back straight and had sufficient reserves to see off the determined
challenge of Arctic Burner over the final two fences.
Donald Smith has been a staunch supporter of this meeting
over the years and he has always enjoyed his fair share of success in this
contest so it was fitting that Nicky Smith should train this winner for her
father in law. Jones who works for a number of local trainers was finally
getting his head in front after two years of trying.
16-year-old Shropshire schoolboy Charles Huxley had a much
easier task on Galeshan in the Club Members. This partnership was left in
splendid isolation after Simon Howe had parted company with Hubbly Bubbly at
Galeshan had useful form under Rules for Lisa Hales, but now
carries the colours of Rachel and Phil Huxley and provided the first leg of
a double for Shifnal trainer Andrew Dalton who took the second match on the
cards when Ashgan and Geoff Barfoot Saunt proved too strong for Felloo in
the Mixed Open.
The latters rider Ed Walker had a frustrating afternoon with
both his remaining mounts Ballyblack and Jolly Jake finishing second in
their respective events.
Both horses are trained by Emma Baker at Naunton. She would
not have been disappointed with Ballyblacks run in the Restricted because
the 10-year-old was making his seasonal debut and Walkers mount was unable
to respond when Waterloo Leader swept by between the final two fences.
Owner/rider David Smith made a last minute decision to travel to this
meeting in preference to their original choice at Dingley.
Ecstasy and agony would probably describe the emotions of
Jolly Jake’s connections prior to and after the announcement of the result
of the concluding Maiden.
The 10-year-old has finished runner up on seven occasions in
this type of event, and will find no easier opportunity than this in the
future but despite his brave efforts he just could not get his head in front
when it mattered.