Chaddesley wraps up the West Mercian area season
by Andrew King
The picturesque late Spring back-drop of Chaddesley Corbett provides the perfect setting for the West Mercian pointing area's season finale at the course on Bank Holiday Monday (May 29th).
Ground conditions for the proposed six-race card which has mustered a very healthy 107 entries are reported to be Good all over with the course having been chain harrowed and topped in recent days. And the racing line will be set up on the very outside of the track with watering continuing to maintain the best possible surface with a relatively dry week ahead.
The remarkable 15-year-old Southfield Theatre is among those who may line up for the Ladies Open in attempt to go one better than when runner-up in the contest 12 months ago after setting a brisk pace. It was only in the last half furlong or so that Sara Bradstock's evergreen veteran gave way and he will surely bid to make it a true test once again under the trainer's daughter and regular rider Lily.
However the Bradstocks have slightly muddied the waters by also entering Myth Buster in the race but, according to the trainer, he is likely to take up an engagement at Kingston Blount 24 hours earlier. The trainer said:" The ground is going to be the deciding factor as to where they might take their chance and we will have to wait and see how things pan out going into the weekend with the weather.
"But the pair will only race where the going is safe and, as things stand, we know that Myth Buster handles the hill at Kingston Blount so he may go there while Southfield Theatre will probably head to Worcestershire on Monday as he has won at that course in the past."
Tom Ellis has once again carried all before him in the training stakes this term with some shrewd placing around the country and he can add to his impressive tally with Gunteur in the Restricted contest. The grey was slightly disappointing when pulled up on his first try for Ellis at the course in mid-April but, after a months break, he scooted clear of his rivals at Dingley recently.
Given that he is relatively unexposed there is every chance he can follow up on this occasion with Dondiam a danger if making the trip from the Bradley Gibbs yard.
The Men's Conditions race has a very open look about it with Encounter A Giant, winner of the prestigious Lady Dudley Challenge Cup at the course last month, attempting to return to winning ways after being beaten at Cheltenham's Hunter Chase evening. Quicker ground than in April would be a question mark over him and it may pay to look elsewhere for the winner with Ahead Of The Game and Good Source appearing to have decent chances on the prevailing going.
There does not seem to be too much depth in the Jockey Club Mares' Maiden and it may not take that much winning in the circumstances. Hannah Lewis's Queenhill is perhaps not the most consistent of performers but if she consented to put her best foot forward there is very chance she would have a say in the outcome of this event.
The Novice Riders' Conditions race is another competitive looking heat and it may be best left to Raven's Tower, whose winning run was interrupted at Mollington last time and he can make amends here.
A divided race may well beckon for the concluding Maiden which has amassed no fewer than 28 entries as connections frantically search for winning opportunities before the season ends in a couple of weeks.
If it comes to a split perhaps the two to keep an eye on are maybe Mexican Boy, who will be making his debut for Joe O'Shea, and the Ellis-trained Kelsey Park.