A crisp clear day at Barbury brought the crowds flocking to this outstanding venue high up on the Marlborough Downs, so different to previous years atrocious conditions. The first South Midlands meeting of the season attracted a quality card of 109 runners and 8 races on going good - good/firm in places.
1. The two market leaders dominated the opening race on the card, the club members maiden. Ex Irish pointer Out Of The Black just holding the Caroline Bailey trained Agua Ardente by a neck. Disappointment of the race was the David Pipe trained Off Piste who was never dangerous & pulled up.
2. Tim Edwards rode a fine race on Lord Kilpatrick in the Members Novice Riders. Always up with the pace only had to be pushed out to win. A runner in the two military races last season, he should follow up. Topical Tip also up with pace was a gallant second and deserves to win a small race. In third was Holdimclose who ran on late & looks one to follow given softer ground.
3. In the second division for novice riders, Mickthecutaway made good late headway to beat Boyne Banks, the winner made his British debut here when finishing alone in an Intermediate back in 1999. Even money favourite Tictac of David Pipe's was well in touch until weakening about a mile out. Eyecatcher was Guignol Du Cochet, well backed he made smooth headway until weakening 2 out and will strip fitter next time.
4. The Ladies Open was run at a tremendous pace & was an action packed race. Odds on favourite Dusk Duel was taken to post early, but faded 2 out after being in contention. Ballysicyos led them all a merry dance & was still in the lead until coming to grief two out. This led the way to the ultra consistent Upton Adventure to record her 14th victory in points.
5. A quality field of 20 runners lined up for the Mens Open. Lord Atterbury, such an impressive winner at Aintree on Grand National day, was made the hot favourite. Taking it up on the second circuit, jockey Ashley Farrant only had to push him out to beat the ex Tim Easterby trained Garruth, now with Richard Barber. The favourite jumps his fences with great zest & the David Pipe gelding must be on the short list for the Foxhunters. Owner David Johnson & Martin Pipe arrived by helicopter to watch this imposing individual.
6. The mares maiden race produced a cracking finish with the newcomer & favourite Itchen Mill trained by Sally Alner just getting up to beat market rivals Knighton Star & Kayleigh who made a promising debut.
7 The Restricted was divided. Eight went to post in the first division. All the money was for Kingston-Banker & he duly obliged giving Sally Alner a double on the day. The David Pipe trained I Am Said I drifted from odds on to odds against but still ran creditable to finish runner up.
8. The final race of the day saw Highway Oak beat the promising Pot Shot.