Stratford-On-Avon Review – 21/07/13 (Ladies Day)
After an overcast morning the sun came out in all its glory to provide the perfect backdrop to Ladies Day at Stratford Races. The ladies arrived in all their glory (and some of the guys too) to provide a wonderful splash of colour to the occasion.
The first race was a selling hurdle which was one comfortably by the Philip Hobbs trained Quadriller who lead two out to win by 2 lengths under Tom O’Brien. He was subsequently sold for £4900 at auction and looks the sort to win again at this level. The consistent Vom was squeezed for room approaching the last but looked to have secured 3rd place when unseating Trevor Whelan at the last. Runners up spot went to The Bay Bandit who never threatened the winner. The Gay Gardener the 7/4 favourite faded tamely after 3 out.
Next saw the 1/6 shot Professeur Emery win win ease for Noel Fehilly as he was entitled to. Trained by Warren Greatrex he seems to have benefitted from a break and is now ready to aim higher. Osorios Trial plugged on to get second for Paul Moloney and Anthony Middleton.
The most valuable race on the car was the 2 miles 7 furlongs 102 Touch FM Handicap Chase with afield of 11 runners providing the most competitive race of the day. The Nick Gifford trained To Live went off the even money favourite but though every chance at the last the 16/1 shot Mostly Bob who had made most of the running proved too strong under James Best holding off Beggars Velvet by half a length.
Tony McCoy had clearly chosen Stratford over Newton Abbot with winners in mind and so it proved in the fourth race when 6/4 favourite Strongly Suggested won with over 4 lengths in hand despite unimpressive jumps at the last two hurdles. The Andy Turnell trained Ullswater chased him home without every landing a blow. This was Jonjo O’Neill’s 3rd winner of the day after a double at Newton Abbot.
Not even McCoy’s could get a decent jump out of Sagredo in the next who clattered several and ended a well beaten 6th of 7. It was Aidan Coleman’s turn to land the spoils on 20/1 shot Ironical for Shaun Lynch.
Turning for home Tom Cannon looked to have timed his run to perfection on Chilwoth Screamer but they had no answer to the winner from the last. The 6/4 favourite Sonofagun was a disappointing 4th having led 2 out.
The 6th race was a novice handicap chase and another relatively unfancied horse landed the spoils. Tri Nations trained by Paul Moloney and Anthony Middleton came from off the pace to beat Walden Prince by 2 and 3/4 lengths. The O’Neill/McCoy combo had the 10/11 favourite Surf and Turf
but he didn’t jump well and was beaten between the last 2.
The bumper proved a fascinating contest with the McCoy ridden When in Roam and the Coleman ridden Dorkas vying for favouritism. Dorkas travelled the best of the pair but it was the well bred Miss Sassypants trained by Seamus Mullins and ridden by apprentice Kevin Jones who stole the show much to the delight of many of the lady punters it seemed (including my wife and daughter!). This daughter of Hernando looked quite babyish in the parade ring and can only improve further. Dorkas looked a big strong filly who may come into her own when put over fences.
So ended my first ever trip to Stratford which combined with some sight seeing in the town and the nearby Cotswolds made for a highly enjoyable weekend. I found the course to be very friendly and intimate with the parade ring in front of the stands a welcome feature. There was perhaps too much emphasis on the Premier racegoers in terms of stands and availability but thank fully the good weather made this less of an issue than it might have been. Certainly my none racing enthusiast daughter and wife found it a very enjoyable (and profitable) occasion, so that’s good enough for me.