Parham races enjoyed some exciting finishes as a large crowd enjoyed the spring sunshine on Saturday. The first race of the day was the Intermediate with five runners facing the starter and all five runners were in contention as they approached the penultimate fence. Approaching the final fence the race was between the two betting market favourites, Horizon d’Ainey and Mount Pleasant with Our Brother John also pressing the leaders. All three took the final fence well and then the battle was on to reach the finishing line first and it was Mount Pleasant and Alex Chadwick who managed to get themselves to the front to win by two lengths from Horizon d’Ainey whilst Our Brother John was third. Monmouth Hill came home in fourth ahead of Buffalo Sabre who also completed.

The maiden race followed with six runners declared. Spaghetti Pete and Windgap Hill were the market favourites, however Windgap Hill was a faller at fence four (the open ditch) and brought down Del Amitir which reduced the field to four with Alan Hill trained Barry Scott leading the way. As the four runners headed down the back straight for the final time, Barry Scott was still in command whilst Marching Mason was starting to struggle and was pulled up before the third fence from home.  At the penultimate fence Barry Scott ridden by Izzie Marshall, continued to lead but Spaghetti Pete was hot on his heels, but despite having led most of the way, Barry Scott was able to pull clear approaching the final fence and ran away to be a cosy winner beating Spaghetti Pete by ten lengths. Elder Statesman also completed to take third.

The ladies open saw five runners come under starters orders and again all five runners were tightly grouped and in contention until they disappeared into the dip towards fence fifteen. As the runners came back into view towards the penultimate fence, three runner, Monkey Puzzle, Count Simon and Imperial Acolyte were side by side and racing hard towards the finish. Monkey Puzzle was trying to reassert himself over Count Simon at the final fence but hit the top of the fence and was a faller which left Count Simon a couple of lengths clear of Imperial Acolyte who battled on the run to the winning post but Count Simon managed to keep his advantage to secure the victory for local trainer Rob Varnham and provide Izzie Marshall with a double on the day. Go Whatever and Right Hand of God had their own battle for third place with Go Whatever coming out on top.

Rob Varnham trained his second winner of the day in the following owner-trainer conditions race as Ripper Roo justified favouritism to take the victory. He tracked the early leaders Kilfords Queen and Thomas Junior until moving to the lead heading towards the penultimate fence. Hyberry was the only runner able to try to go after Ripper Roo, but he was not able to get close and finished seven lengths second. Kilfords Queen came home in third, completing for the first time for his trainer / jockey Hannah West whilst Thomas Junior took third.

The men’s open saw the largest field of the day with eight runners. Alex Chadwick aboard Red Maple was looking for a double and was sent off the bookies favourite whilst Rob Varnham was looking for a trainers treble with Trappist Monk also popular in the betting market. However it was Reikers Island from Alan Hill’s yard who took the victory. Having last run at Aintree in the Foxhunters Chase where he pulled up, Reikers Island was friendless in the betting market and was sent off at 12/1. But similarly to Izzie Marshall in the maiden on Barry Scott, Reikers Island led from the fall of the flag to the winning post. Trappist Monk and Definite Dilemma trained by Ella Gillings were both trying to challenge at the penultimate fence, where Definite Dilemma made a mistake and was relegated to third behind Trappist Monk. The leading pair took the final fence together, but Reikers Island, who was placed in a race over 3 miles 6 furlongs in mid-March showed his stamina and was able to hold off the challenge to win by a length. Definite Dilemma took third with red Maple in fourth. Wireless Operator was the only other finisher, as Southfield Royale unseated on the first circuit, Premier d’Troice pulled up at the thirteenth where Ballintara ran out.

The racing concluded with the restricted race which saw six runners declared. After an initial false start, Why Didn’t Ya refused to start reducing the field to five and this became a game of cat and mouse. Daniel Cherriman, looking for a double after his success on Reikers Island had Money Spinner prominent for the early part of the race but was challenged at the thirteenth fence by Cossack Dancer, Penniless and Russian Invasion who had made the long trip from Devon. At the fifteenth fence, the race was between Money Spinner, Cossack Dancer and Russian Invasion as Penniless could find no more and the three battled side by side to the penultimate fence. Money Spinner was the first to weaken and heading to the final fence Russian Invasion opened up a two length advantage over Cossack Dancer. A safe jump secured the victory for Russia Invasion whilst Money Spinner was able to rally to take second ahead of Cossack Dancer. Penniless also completed in fourth whilst Highland Glory pulled up on the final circuit.