Ellis signs off the season with winner No. 71
by Andrew King
What a way to top and tail another record breaking season! Tom Ellis saddled his final runner of the 2022/23 pointing campaign after Good Source landed the Men's Conditions contest at Chaddesley Corbett on Bank Holiday Monday in front of a bumper crowd.
And he fondly recalled how the winners' bandwagon had rolled into action when his initial runner of the term - Vinnie Sparkles - scored at Dunsmore in mid-November. The champion trainer said: "It seems a long way back to wintry November to standing here in the early summer sunshine but obviously I could not be more happy with the way things have gone in the meantime.
"We have had 70 winners plus a walkover pointing which means we bettered last year's tally of 62 - but it is all just numbers for now as next November we will all be back on zero and trying to do it all over again."
Good Source was sent off a 7-2 chance in the race and had enough in reserve up the home straight to thwart the late run of Ahead Of The Game by a couple of lengths with odds-on favourite Far From Over back in third. Ellis continued: "They have done a great job with the ground at the course as it's as close to good as you can get and Good Source fairly bounced off it. He's a nice horse for the future as he is only six years old."
When asked for a couple of horses to follow for next season, Ellis was quick to name I'm Spellbound, who he hoped could progress further next autumn and Kelsey Park, who was runner-up on his debut for the team earlier this month.
However, D'Last Spez looks like one that might have got away as far as Ellis is concerned as the six-year-old came good on his first outing owner/trainer/rider Phil York with a fairly comfortable success in the Restricted contest. He had three-and-a-quarter lengths to spare over Get Bye.
A smiling York said of the 14-1 winner, who was formerly in the care of Ellis: "I have only had him for the last ten days or so but he is a nice horse to have as that was a properly competitive race on paper and he has won well in the end."
Raven's Tower made it three wins from four outings this season when coming with a well-timed run under Meagan Fox to take the honours in the Conditions Race for Novice Riders at the expense of Craigmor. Tom David, representing winning owner Sophie Pauling, said: "He is 13 years old but he is not the sort of horse you can retire as he is so fresh and turns out every morning fresh as a daisy, bucking and kicking all over the place. So he will be back next season."
The tussle for the lady novice riders' title has proved a prolonged rivalry between Amber Jackson-Fennell and Molly Landau but, with only two meetings remaining, the former nudged one ahead of her rival after Quickcharge's success in the Maiden. Following a duel from the top of the home run, Jackson-Fennell's mount showed a good attitude to come away in the closing stages and register a 12-lengths verdict over 5-2 favourite The Borobudur.
The rider said of the Gillian Anderson-trained winner: " He is definitely going the right way and he was much better suited by the quicker conditions here rather then the sticky ground when he was second at Bonvilston last time." Of her battle with Landau, she added: " I have got Queen Kalamba to run at Bratton Down this coming weekend but after that it will be trying to pick up any spares that might be going - whatever the outcome I have had a really good season."
The ultra-consistent Grageelagh Girl proved the answer to the Ladies Open when Hannah Lewis's charge found what was required under Fern O'Brien to get the better of Bawnmore by four-and-a-half lengths.
O'Brien said: " She is an absolute legend and always tries her best as she has not been out of the first two in five runs this season. I thought they were going a bit quick in front so bided my time on her and she has picked up in style to win again."
The Maiden restricted to mares and fillies went the way of Citizen Jane who appeared to spring something of a 10-1 surprise when comfortably accounting for Missthecuddles under Murray Dodd.
D'Last Spez recorded a fast time when winning what seemed a relatively deep race formwise on his debut for Phil York and gave the impression he is one to keep on the right side next season.