Kimblewick Hunt point-to-point meeting at Kingston Blount review

By Roger May, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4069745
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Sunday, May 8, 2022

Written by Russell Smith

TIM Underwood paid tribute to Tempelpirate after his popular veteran recorded his 26th win in what is likely to be his last race at the Kimblewick Hunt meeting at Kingston Blount, near Chinnor, on Sunday.

The evergreen owner-trainer, who is based at Beedon, near Newbury, still harbours ambitions of riding the 15-year-old son of Black Sam Bellamy in public.

But if those dreams don’t materialise then his stable star’s victory under Freddie Gordon in the Conditions Race (Level 2) for Novices Riders, sponsored by the Bull & Butcher, could be his swansong.

Showing no signs of his advancing years, Tempelpirate stretched his record as the course’s most-winning horse to 12 successes with a game triumph.

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Gordon, who at 16 is just one year older than his mount, took up the running going down Crowell Knowell for the last time, and although his three rivals snapped at his heels, he held them off in a bunch finish to score by half a length from Aigle De La See and Charlotte Butler, with Mahlers Star a neck back in third.

Underwood said: “It is probably his last run. It all depends on me and getting my shoulder done. I’ve got an operation on June 16, and I want to get my licence back next year to have a ride on him.

“He has been absolutely brilliant. He has had his problems, but is an absolute saint. I give him to the grandchildren in the summer to help them ride.”

Gordon was the 12th rider to win on Tempelpirate – with previous successful pilots including James Bowen – and the teenager said: “He jumps really well and did it for me. I thought when he got in front, he would take some catching.”

Underwood was completing a quick-fire double after Bolamore Bridge took the Restricted Race, sponsored by Richardsons, to continue Will Hickman’s revival following his return to the saddle.

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The Hythe-based rider delivered the six-year-old to collar Dinah Washington and Phil York at the last fence, before holding on to triumph by three-quarters of a length, with Hilnamix a length and a half back in third.

Hickman said: “I only got my licence out a few weeks ago. With Covid I was not getting many rides and horses in the yard went.

“My partner (Hannah Jones) had premature twins in October and one of them died. I was comfort eating and had to get my weight down. Tim asked me to ride and now I’ve had four winners from nine rides this season.”

Underwood added: “I bought this horse with a leg a year ago and could have nearly given him away, but we got him going and brought him back.”

Aston Rowant trainer Alan Hill had spent countless hours watering his local course to produce Good ground and was rewarded with a double courtesy of Knight Bachelor and Craven Bay.

Izzie Marshall, aboard Knight Bachelor, kept Deans Road firmly in her sights after Gina Andrews sent her mount into the lead coming down the hill for the final time in the three-runner Ladies Open, sponsored by Chiltern Fox.

The pair jumped the last together, before battling it out up the run-in with Marshall prevailing on the Cranfield Family-owned 12-year-old by a short head in a real thriller.

The winning rider said: “Knight Bachelor really put his head down over the last two fences, and for an older horse he really tries.

“I thought I had it, but now with iPads, which have been such a great addition, sponsored by Anthony Bromley and David Minton (Highflyer Bloodstock), there is the photo evidence.”

Hill’s brace was completed by Craven Bay in the Maiden, sponsored by College & County, with James King also sealing a double in his quest to retain his men’s riders’ championship.

The six-year-old swept round the outside of Blackjacktennessee approaching the last in the 2m 5f contest only to idle on the run-in, before the reigning champion powered him home by a length and three-quarters from Huw Edwards’s mount.

King said: “He had loads left. He has been a bit of a monkey before. He was left in front at Edgcote and got beat, but it is great to get a winner for Alan Hill.”

The trainer added: “We was ready to run at Christmas, but he had a back problem and needed six to eight weeks’ box rest. It’s very unfortunate for the owner (Graham Henderson) because he needs a new knee and couldn’t be here, but he said to run him.

“James gave him a terrific ride. I am not a great person for using blinkers, but I thought that horse is an advert for them.”

However, there was a sting in the tail for King as he picked up a £100 fine for excessive use of the whip.

King had initiated his double on Kaproyale, who made it seven wins from eight starts for Francesca Poste’s Ettington stables, near Stratford, in a match for the South Midlands Area Conditions Race (Level 2), sponsored by the French Horn.

He sent the seven-year-old past the front-running Craigmor and James Hayward on the final circuit, and his mount eased home by two lengths.

Kaproyle is owned by The Galloping Dentist @45thegreen Partnership, headed by Katie Sunderland, who said of their charge’s winning run: “It is unbelievable. We are not pot-hunting. We are here because Alan has supplied good ground.”

Sunderland, who lives near Deddington, revealed the ‘Galloping Dentist’ was her husband, Tim, with the syndicate completed by the trainer’s father, Chris Nimmo, plus Nick and Denise Reynolds.

Andrews avenged her earlier defeat by Marshall with victory on Master Templar as the country’s two leading lady riders served up another exciting finish in the Intermediate, sponsored by Bonner & Babbington.

The eight-times champion, riding the seven-year-old for her husband, Tom Ellis’s Marton stables, near Rugby, and Marshall, aboard Voie Dans Voie, collared long-time leader Josh The Plod, before Master Templar prevailed by a neck.

Andrews commented: “I said to Izzie ‘Got you this time!’ He has talent, but needs direction. I knew when I got him straight, he would run to the line. He is just a monkey.”

The seven-year-old has won four of his six starts this season, but was pulled up at Woodford last time out. Owner Jenny Hayward explained: “He got baulked at the start and didn’t want to run. He is a quirky little character and will only go left-handed.”

Owner-trainer-rider Thomas Murray repeated his win of 2019 on Gabrial The Great in the Mens Open over 2m 5f, sponsored by Emmett & Stone.

Setting a slow pace on the 13-year-old in the three-runner contest over 2m 5f, Murray was challenged by Isaac Wonder and Phil York going down the back straight for the last time, but his mount kept pulling out more to triumph by two lengths.

Murray, who is based at Elmley Castle, near Evesham, was winning for the third time at the course on the gelding.

“Gabrial has never gone that slow before,” he said. “I thought if he keeps this up, I can use his speed at the end. His jumping was brilliant and coming down the hill for the second time I let him roll.”

Murray plans to return for the meeting on May 29 in a bid for course win No 4.

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