Take another look at What A Glance

The 65th running of the Stratford Foxhunter, sponsored by Pertemps Network, produced a result worthy of the point-to-point community it supports, when What A Glance produced a good turn of foot at the last to win for Shropshire owner Ann Taylor and her grandson Tom Britten, who trains the nine year old. Ridden by Murray Dodds, a second winner in as many days for him, the gelding was produced between horses at the last, having been handy throughout.

The three circuits of Stratford gave plenty of opportunity for jumping errors, but this experienced field included winners of some of the sport’s best known hunters’ events, including Premier Magic, winner of the 2023 Cheltenham Foxhunter, and Law of Gold, winner of this event in 2021, and runner-up to stablemate Vaucelet the following year. The Mullins – trained Annamix was well fancied, not least as stablemate Onlyamatteroftime had won in a hack canter at Warwick 24 hours earlier.

Five out, Dale Peters made the best of his way home, sending Law of Gold into a 2l advantage over favourite Fairly Famous, with the winner and Lift Me Up close behind. Go On Chez blundered at the third last but recovered to rejoin the back of the main group at the turn, the rest spent.

What A Glance and Murray Dodd jump the last fence to win the Pertemps Network Stratford Foxhunters’ Champion Hunters’ Chase at Stratford. 31/5/2024 Pic Steve Davies

Britten will look forward to Cheltenham 2025 after benchmarking his horse against Premier Magic and Annamix.

Thirty minutes earlier, it had been the moment for one of Pointing’s staunchest supporters, Diana Williams, to step forward and receive the John Corbett Cup for the success of previous course winner Forest Chimes in the pointtopoint.co.uk Novices Champion Hunters Chase. Recent Cheltenham winner Iskander Pecos was sent off favourite, but found Stratford’s bends and faster ground a bit too sharp. Forest Chimes, under Darren Andrews, was able to take up the lead at the last in the back straight, and always had enough in hand to keep Iskander Pecos at bay. Philip Rowley has a notable record in the hunter chase division.

Forest Chimes and Darren Andrews jump the last to win the point-to-point.co.uk Champion Novices’ Hunters’ Chase at Stratford. 31/5/2024 Pic Steve Davies

Only 5 went to post for the Ladies Open Hunters’ Final, in what looked a face-off between 2023 Aintree Foxhunter winner Famous Clermont and young pretender Imperial Esprit, recent winner at Edgcote. Famous Clermont has stuck to point-to-points until this race this season, but evidently lost none of his zest for racing. Taking a keen hold, he was prominent from flagfall, taking it up at the 6th of the 17 fences., and he always had the measure of the younger Imperial Esprit. It would be doing newly crowned lady point-to-point champion rider Izzie Marshall a disservice to say she was run away with, but it turned into something of an armchair ride, albeit rather an active armchair!

Famous Clermont and Izzie Marshall win the Stratford Ladies Open Championship Hunters’ Chase Final at Stratford. 31/5/2024 Pic Steve Davies

Marshall had already visited the winner’s enclosure to start the evening in the Jumping For Fun Restricted Hunters event on Alan Hill’s Learntalot, although it required the judge to decide the winner in a blistering finish involving Well P and the fast-finishing Padjoes Legacy. It transpired Learnalot had held on by a head, Well P a further 3/4l behind in third. Another stride would have produced a different result.

Peter Wright has been a force for good in leading the sport’s amateur division over the past 6 years, including the small matter of a pandemic and the wettest winter on record. His achievement ws recorded in the Peter Wright Over & Out Hunters Chase, the only handicap in the sport. David Kemp is always a force to be reckoned with at this fixture, and his Rebel Dawn Rising was sent off 100/30 favourite but came off a length worse to Envious Editor, whose last visit here had been a remote 5th in the Ladies Final in ’23. His outings have been sparse this winter, limited to a single winning run at Hexham, but that freshness showed in a race where he picked off the favourite at the last and made every pound of the 12lb he was receiving count. The 1l distance at the line was comfortable enough for young rider Henry Crow and his mother Caroline, and he should continue to visit the winner’s enclosure at this level for a year or two yet.

Shortest race of the evening, the White Swan Hotel Stratford Hunters over 2m, saw Fier Jaguen bounce out of the gate to make the running for Freddie Mitchell, substituting for the suspended Bradley Gibbs, surviving a dramatic blunder at the water. Four out, no more than 4l would have covered all bar one of the runners, as they all lined up to take on the leader.

Last year’s winner Kaproyale looked to have it all to do as they straightened up, Mix of Clover, Missed Tee and Cat Tiger having stolen a length or two. Charlie Case drove Kaproyale between horses to win in another judge-confirmed finish, over Cat Tiger and Mix of Clover, with distance of a nose and a neck. Phew.

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