BERKS & BUCKS AND STAFF COLLEGE & RMAS DRAGHOUNDS
Ravethebrave claimed a notable scalp by slamming Gwanako to spark a treble for Aston Rowant trainer Alan Hill at Kingston Blount, near Chinnor, and tighten his grip on the Connolly’s Red Mills Trainers Championship.
With Earl Grez coming out on top in a thrilling finish and Rogue Dancer posting a facile victory, it saw Hill move seven winners clear in the title race with three weeks remaining.
But it was Ravethebrave’s sparkling win in the ladies’ open which was especially sweet for the trainer.
With National Hunt champion trainer Paul Nicholls paying his first visit to the course to see his daughter, Megan, ride Gwanako as she chases the lady novice riders’ title, the Rose Loxton-trained 11-year-old was sent off a 1-3 favourite.
However, the 2008 Topham Chase winner was powerless to respond as Ravethebrave and Hannah Watson, who clinched the South Midland Area lady riders’ title, took up the running approaching the second-last fence and powered clear to win by eight lengths.
National Hunt champion trainer Paul Nicholls (second left) hands out riding instructions to his daughter, Megan, before she partnered Gwanako in the ladies’ open
Nicholls dismounted Gwanako after the line, and her mount returned gingerly, but there was no denying Ravethebrave’s big moment in the sunshine.
Hill’s son, Joe, the ten-year-old’s regular rider who is sidelined after breaking his right ankle, was ecstatic.
“It’s brilliant,” he commented. “I am just over the moon. Like my old man said ‘never run away from one horse’.
“Hannah was given him an absolute peach of a ride.”
Hill snr, who secured the South Midland Area owners’ and trainers’ titles, added: “I think he is a slightly underrated horse. It was seriously, seriously nice to beat Gwanako.
“I didn’t speak to Paul, but Lawney (Hill’s wife) said he was brilliant in defeat.”
Gwanako and Megan Nicholls clear the last fence in the ladies’ open, but Ravethebrave has gone beyond recall
Earl Grez made it a double for Hill when flying home under James Tudor in the restricted to pip Mine Sweeper and Milan Rua in a finish of necks after Blue Benny had led over the last fence.
And Rogue Dancer completed Hill’s hat-trick with a 25-length romp with Tudor on board in the open maiden.
Hill said: “That was my nap of the day and I told all the locals they could have what they wanted on it.”
New Alco repeated his course and distance win of two weeks ago in the men’s open for Sarah Case, who trains at Edgcote, near Banbury.
Max Kendrick, who gave the 13-year-old a positive front-running ride to beat last year’s winner, Ned The Post, by six lengths, said: “He is a family favourite. I think I have won seven on him, including my first winner.”
Elizabeth Smee rode her first winner when Lucky Lane galloped clear of his rivals to take the members’ race by eight lengths from Daintydavey.
And Sam Davies-Thomas sealed the South Midland Area men’s title by making all the running on One Wish to take the intermediate for Chris Loggin, who trains at Hinton-in-the-Hedges, near Brackley.
Members: 1 LUCKY LANE (E Smee) 2-1, 2 Daintydavey 5-1, 3 Eco’s Gamebird 8-1. Trainer: P York. Dist: 8l, dist. 6 ran.
Intermediate: 1 ONE WISH (S Davies-Thomas) 7-2, 2 Commanche Conflict 4-1, 3 Tiger Rag 4-7 fav. Trainer: C Loggin. Dist: 1l, ½l. 6 ran.
Men’s open: 1 NEW ALCO (M Kendrick) 11-10 fav, 2 Ned The Post 12-1, 3 Hoopy 33-1. Trainer: S Case. Dist: 6l, 4l. 9 ran.
Ladies’ open: 1 RAVETHEBRAVE (H Watson) 5-2, 2 Gwanako 1-3 fav, 3 Behind The Scenes 16-1. Trainer: A Hill. Dist: 8l, 12l. 7 ran.
Restricted: 1 EARL GREZ (J Tudor) 7-1, 2 Mine Sweeper 7-2, 3 Milan Rua 3-1. Trainer: A Hill. Dist: nk, nk. 9 ran.
Open maiden: 1 ROGUE DANCER (J Tudor) 5-2, 2 Little Mead 6-1, 3 Lucky To Be Alive 12-1. Trainer: A Hill. Dist 25l, hd. 9 ran.
SOUTH MIDLAND AREA CHAMPIONSHIPS
Owners: 1 A Hill (Ravethebrave), 2 R Brown (Soupcon D’Albain), 3= R West (One Wish) & W Lee (Triggers Ginger).
Trainers: 1 A Hill, 2 R Waley-Cohen, 3 T Lacey.
Mares: 1 Triggers Ginger (W Lee), 2 Grand Exit (S Edmunds & J Busby), 3= Pampelonne (S Edmunds & J Busby) & Hill Forts Gloria (A Hill).
Men’s riders: 1 S Davies-Thomas, 2 T Ellis, 3 S Waley-Cohen.
Lady riders: 1 H Watson, 2 K Lyons, 3 L Jenkins.
Novice riders: 1 K Lyons, 2 T Kindley-side, 3 L Jenkins.
KINGSTON BLOUNT CHAMPIONSHIP
Leading horse: 1= Mine Sweeper, New Alco, Ravethebrave.