Veterans and novices enjoy card on perfect ground at Andoversford
by Andrew King
Novice and veteran riders take the spotlight around Andoversford's unique right-handed undulations this Sunday with four contests on the six-race card aimed at showcasing the abilities of both young and old in the saddle. The first race is scheduled for 2pm and the ground conditions at the course are predicted to be near perfect with "good and good to soft in places " being the official assessment at time of writing.
Muckamore is the one that takes the eye in the Mens Open (For Veteran and Novice Riders) as he showed great tenacity to score at Edgcote earlier this month proving that he handles an uphill and downhill test. He defeated previous winner Shoal Bay, who is no slouch on that occasion and a repeat of that performance on Sunday could see him and regular pilot Harry Arkwright back in the winner's circle once again.
The obvious danger looks to be The Composeur, who is definitely not the easiest horse to win with, but Jacqui O'Neill's charge has some ability if his young rider Jack Wilmot can find the key to him.
There are a couple of question marks dangling over the two main protagonists in the opening Hunt Members race as Chu Chu Percy and Waterloo Warrior both have to overcome outings only last weekend. A number of respected judges wanted to be with Chu Chu Percy at Berkeley and he duly obliged in determined style whereas the enigmatic Waterloo Warrior was soundly beaten when third around Tabley.
If Chu Chu Percy has come out of his first outing in a year in good shape he should be able to follow up as the very able Fern O'Brien has once again been booked to take the ride.
The Conditions (Level 2) contest appears to be one of the most open races on the card as many horses of similar ability are due to line up but My Way looks the part as he has some sound form to back up his credentials. Sam Loxton's charge has been well placed to win his last two starts at Larkhill and Stafford Cross while defeats by the likes of Macfin and Envious Editor earlier in the campaign bear close scrutiny. He would not want the ground to become too testing but the Andoversford course is well known for drying out relatively quickly so he could well get the underfoot conditions which suit him best.
Jenny Gordon sets a poser in the Ladies Open (For Veteran And Novice Riders) as she has the choice of Captain Buck's, Commanche Red and recent impressive Chaddesley Corbett winner Thegallantway. One of them is very likely to take his chance as Gordon is particularly keen on seeing her jockey protege Molly Landau get the better of a tight tussle with Amber Jackson Fennell for the Ladies Novice Rider title.
All three horses are well entered up over the Bank Holiday weekend but, taking a stab in the dark, it would be no surprise if Captain Buck's was the one that took his chance in a race that may well suit.
Master Sunrise is something of an old character who takes some kidding along in his races but he seems to have been found a good opportunity to get his head in front again in the Conditions (Level 2) (For Veteran And Novice Riders) for older horses. He showed that he still had some fire in his guts when runner-up at Paxford on testing ground and the long up-hill run for home at this circuit may enable him to register success with Fred Philipson-Stow in the saddle. Touch Tight could prove the danger.
Gentleman Sam gives the distinct impression that something like the Maiden contest is within his compass as he was runner-up at Bitterley behind a promising type in Tommy The Tank and he can give owner/rider Iola Hopkinson another winner.