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Gordon odds on to retain point-to-point title

SOUTH EAST area champion jockey Chris Gordon moved a little closer to retaining his title by winning two of the six races at the Old Surrey Burstow & West Kent Hunt meeting at Penshurst.

Gordon rode the even money favourite, Lively Lord, to take the Restricted and followed up in the next race, the Men's Open, on Prime Course, the 6-4 joint favourite. These wins now put him on 90 points with his nearest rival Peter Bull on 74 points.

In the Ladies championship, Jenny Grant's win moved her into the lead with 30 points, two ahead of her nearest rival, Didi Rowell.

But it was not a lucky day for the secretary of the meeting, Caroline Holliday. Riding her own horse, Half Moon Spinney, in the Hunt Race she looked all over the winner with a clear lead going into the second last fence.

Having completed a foot perfect round, the horse stood off outside the wings, hitting the fence hard. The pair took a crashing fall, leaving Holliday unconscious for almost 15 minutes. She was taken to hospital for observation.

Had she not had the fall, Holliday would have ridden Strong Medicine in the Ladies race. This was the only horse declared and the race declared a 'walk over' for deputising jockey Jenny Grant.

The Hunt race was duly won by 17-year-old James Sarchet who was 20 lengths behind the leader when they fell, giving him his first winner. Sarchet is studying for his A levels at Tonbridge School and many of his school friends were there to give him a rapturous welcome on returning to the winner's enclosure.

White Smoke ran out a good winner for jockey, Russell Ross, in the Confined. The horse is trained by the jockey's daughter, Demelza, who has a small yard near Storrington. White Smoke, by Carlingford Castle, has been prone to breathing problems, but his young trainer has solved these by giving the horse an inhaler each day.

The last race of the day, the Maiden, was won in fine style by Rush 'N Tear, who led from pillar to post partnered by 49-year-old Nigel Benstead in the fastest time of the day, which is unusual for a maiden race. Rush 'N Tear has been off the race course for over 1,000 days which makes the achievement even more remarkable.

After the Confined race when Physical Fun ran out at a fence, the stewards interviewed the jockey Chris Gordon and the trainer Ann Blaker. They were satisfied with their explanation that the horse had tried to stop going past the horse box park, and thereafter was unwilling to race.

Results. Official going: Firm.

Hunt Members: 1 Simony Sam (J Sarchet) 12-1, 2 Caddy Man (A Coveney) 7-2, only 2 finished. 6 ran. Winning owner: Mrs H Sarchet. Time: 7min 14sec. Distance: 15 lengths. Tote: Win £4.60, place £1.60, £1.50, dual £39.90.

The Confined: 1 White Smoke (R Ross) 6-1, 2 Shouil Daingean (P Hall) 5-4 jt fav, 3 Chief Gale (P York) 6-1. 3 ran. Winning owner: Mrs S Rowe. Time: 6min 48sec. Distance: 20 lengths and distance. Tote: Win £6.60, place £3.20, £1.90, dual £13.60.

The Resticted: 1 Lively Lord (C Gordon) evens fav, 2 Chill Factor (P Hall) 7-2. 5 ran. Winning owner: S Tindall. Time: 6min 48sec. Distance 20 lengths. Tote: Win £2, place £1.50, £1.10, dual £2.20.

MenÕs Open: 1 Prime Course (C Gordon) 6-4 joint fav, 2 Perky Lad (P York) 6-4 joint fav, 3 Broguestown Pride (P Blagg) 33-1. 8 ran. Winning owner: J Barrant. Time: 6min 57sec. Distance 4 lengths and 8 lengths. Tote: Win £2.30, place £1.70, £3.30, £4.70, dual £2.60.

Ladies Open: 1 Strong Medicine (Miss J Grant) walkover. Winning owner: Dr D Silk.

The Maiden: 1 Rush 'N Tear (N Benstead) 10-1, 2 Star Glow (P York) 3-1, 3 Moon Rising (P Bull) 2-1. 7 ran. Winning owner: Mrs A Hawkins. Time: 6min 44sec. Distance: 10 lengths and 2 lengths. Tote: Win £4.60, place £1.80, £2, dual £12.30.

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