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Mr McGregor storms to Harkaway triumph
5:00pm Monday 30th December 2013 in Sport
JOCKEY Annabel Dalton made a good start in her bid to retain the area title after Mr McGregor scored a hard-fought point-to-point victory in Worcestershire.
The second half of the Non-Rules Maiden at a windswept and stormy Harkaway Club meeting at Chaddesley Corbett was run in driving rain and lashing gales.
Canshetrain and Mark Barber were still three lengths clear approaching the second from home.
Mr McGregor, trained by the rider’s mother Heather near Shifnal, and favourite The Drinkymeister began to eat into the leader’s advantage but the latter was stopped in his tracks by a bad blunder.
Dalton’s mount hit the front at the last and saw off the renewed challenge of Sam Drinkwater on The Drinkymeister, who recovered well to finish second a length-and-a half behind.
The Harkaway fixture is normally a lucky meeting for local owners but they had to play second fiddle to horses from outside the area.
Silver Token won the Club Member Conditions but is likely to lose the race for not carrying a penalty for his victory the previous year.
Charlotte Prichard’s mount swept into the lead in the home straight and was holding the challenge of Siro Demur, trained by Phil Rowley near Bridgnorth, down the home straight in an exciting finish.
The Restricted resulted in a pillar-to-post victory for Mr Mackay, who was ridden by his joint owner Ruth Tutton-Cook. They looked vulnerable as Dbobe moved up menacingly entering the home straight, but Mr Mackay forged clear between the final two fences.
This was the fourth career success for the courageous Tutton-Cook, who has broken her neck twice with the second time at the Warwickshire Point-to-point in 2010.
The Ladies’ Open provided a major surprise with Ali Galliers-Pratt and Bubbly Breeze beating more fancied rivals.
Bubbly Breeze got first run on his rivals so the jockeys on Bertie’s Dream, Cottage Oak and Horsham Lad were always playing catch-up.
Phine Banks sent Horsham Lad in pursuit between the final two fences but Bubbly Breeze continued his relentless gallop.
Cottage Oaks trainer Joe O’Shea and owner Richard Hewitt sent Ninetieth Minute on a retrieval mission in the Men’s Open.
But they lost out as an exciting battle ensued with West Country challenger Minella Stars over the final two fences.
The Hewitt and O’Shea partnership finally gained their reward in Division One of the Maiden where Executive Benefit stormed clear up the final hill to defeat James Ridley and Big Georgie.
Area hopes in the final division of the Maiden rested with the Tom Weston-trained Soutine but several late mistakes meant the Hindlip-trained gelding had to settle for third behind Fine Resolve and Cool Steel.
RESULTS Harkaway Club Members Conditions: 1 Silver Token (C Prichard, 3-1 joint-favourite), 2 Siro Demur, 3 As It Is. Thirteen ran.
Harkaway Club Members Restricted: 1 Mr Mackay (R Tutton-Cook, 14-1), 2 Dbobe, 3 Onetwobeat. Thirteen ran.
Ladies’ Open: 1 Bubbly Breeze (A Galliers-Pratt, 20-1), 2 Horsham Lad, 3 Berties Dream. Eleven ran.
Men’s Open: 1 Minella Stars (R Henderson, 8-1), 2 Ninetieth Minute, 3 Sangfroid. Fourteen ran.
Harkaway Club Members Non-Rules Runners Maiden: 1 Mr McGregor (A Dalton, 13-2), 2 The Drinkymeister, 3 Canshetrain. Fifteen ran.
Harkaway Club Members Maiden (Division One): 1 Executive Benefit (P Gerety, 5-2), 2 Big Georgie, 3 Overafrica. Eight ran.
Harkaway Club Members Maiden (Division Two): 1 Fine Resolve (R Leyshon, 6-1), 2 Cool Steel, 3 Soutine. Nine ran.