'Slippery' conditions cause grief in chases; EXHAM Tuesday.
EVEN though the course had been well watered, rain on fast ground caused two horses to slip up in the first chase of the evening.
The first two races, both over hurdles, went without a hitch, but as the runners for the fiverunner novice chase were approaching the seventh fence the leader, Oh Really, ridden by Gary Berridge, slipped and came down several strides before the obstacle, and was followed in an independent incident by Selection Box, who slipped and came down under Denis O'Regan.
Both riders reported conditions to be slippery, although Christian Williams, who rode the runnerup, Piran, said that he experienced no problems.
The incident inevitably meant that the stewards, accompanied by riders, trainers and the veterinary officer, inspected the course, but racing went ahead, although two fences per circuit were omitted. However, in the only other chase, three more came to grief on the slippery ground.
Piran was sent off at 2-9 to justify his long trip from South Wales, but was beaten into second by 14-1 chance Dad's Army, who was ridden by Phil Kinsella for trainer Malcolm Jefferson and scored by three and a quarter lengths to record his first win on only his second run over fences, although he ran several times without success point-to-pointing.
Williams said that the oddson shot may have been feeling the effects of his two races earlier in the month.
The 2m handicap chase went to Justwhateverulike, ridden by Tom Messenger. The seven-year-old, who is trained by Sandy Forster for Peter Innes, completed a hat-trick by beating Blast The Past by ten lengths.
Father-and-son team of Robert and Tim Walford, second with Blast The Past, had taken the previous 2m4f novice handicap hurdle with Sheriff Hutton, with the five-year-old getting off the mark in good style, coming home nine lengths clear of bottom weight Booster Divin.
The 3m handicap hurdle went to Whatdoidowiththat, trained by Sue Smith and ridden by Tjade Collier, with the five-year-old rallying after the last to beat Ben Britten.
Catherine Walton, who rode Sticky End in the amateur riders' novice handicap hurdle, was given a two-day ban on dates to be notified to her for using her whip when out of contention.
Trainer Jimmy Lambe, who had two winners and a second