Say No lands the feature race at Heythrop meeting

Ballyjames and Hannah Watson on their way to winning the Ladies Open at Sunday's Heythrop Hunt meeitng. Photo: Jackie Oliver graftonwood.co.uk
Ballyjames and Hannah Watson on their way to winning the Ladies Open at Sunday's Heythrop Hunt meeitng. Photo: Jackie Oliver graftonwood.co.uk

The Lord Ashton of Hyde’s Trophy was lifted by connections of Say No at Sunday’s Heythrop Hunt point-to-point meeting at Cocklebarrrow.

Say No won the feature race, the three-mile seven-furlong Men’s Open in the hands of Freddie Henderson for his father James Henderson, who owns and trains the horse.

Nine runners went to post including the favourite Perfectly Willing, fresh from an excellent second to Benedictus in a hot Men’s Open at Larkhill. Other fancied contenders included the useful but quirky Golan Way and former classy chaser Oscargo.

The hard pulling Golan Way led for most of the first two circuits until the favourite took over, seemingly going well. But Say No was always prominent and Perfectly Willing had no answer when he jumped to the front at the third last.

Say No kept on well, despite a mistake at the last, to win the race with proven stayer Schindlers Prince in second under James Ridley with Perfectly Willing and Mark Wall third.

Ballyjames won the three-and-a-half mile Ladies Open.

Moscow Blaze was hot favourite to follow-up his win in last year’s race but has not been in such good form this time around.

He faded to finish fourth after rider Page Fuller was unable to shake off long-time leader Ballyjames when she hit the front briefly on the final circuit.

Hannah Watson had Ballyjames jumping beautifully throughout and she prevailed from Tinelyra in the closest finish of the day with Oh Toodles overtaking Moscow Blaze on the run-in to finish third.

Trainer Heidi Brookshaw, daughter of Grand National winning trainer Steve Brookshaw, brought Ballyjames down from Shropshire and he is now qualified for the Aintree Foxhunters.

Full report in this week’s Banbury Guartdian.