THERE was competitive action at Aintree last Sunday and the easiest winner of the day came in the 3mi handicap hurdle when The Shy Man ran out a very impressive winner for Middleham trainer George Moore.

The seven-year-old, now a six-time winner, was ridden by Barry Keniry and the horse certainly owed him this victory, because 12 months ago the Leyburn- based rider suffered a fall off the same horse at Kelso leaving him with a badly broken leg and out of action for the busiest part of the season.

Bearing no grudge, Keniry said afterwards: “I suppose he did owe me one but I have always liked this horse and everything fell right for him today.

“I’m not sure where he will run next but in this sort of form he is a very smart horse.

Low-key flat cards were the fare on Monday, and on days like this jockeys really can make a difference as Philip Makin was seen to great effect in the claimer at Leicester as he switched his mount Just Five right across to the stands side rail, in search of better ground, and it duly paid off.

The following day, Catterick staged one of their last flat meetings of the year, and again Makin stole the riding honours when making all the running on the Kevin Ryan trained Magnini, again switching to the stands side rail, and holding on gamely close home.

The 2mi handicap produced a cracking finish with the Chris Fairhurst Moonlight Blaze holding off the Micky Hammondtrained Danceintothelight.

Running in the colours of the Pqd Partnership, Moonlight Blaze was well ridden Duran Fentiman and afterwards the winning trainer said: “He’s always promised a lot but had never delivered. He needs this soft ground, and he stays. We tried once over hurdles but it was a bit of a disaster, but we’ll try him again in the New Year as he’ll need two and a half miles.”

Owner and trainer John Wade, who puts so much into racing in the north, had a good couple of days with Emirate Isle winning at Catterick under P J McDonald before his well known maroon and white colours were carried to success twice the next day, over the sticks, at Haydock.

Deuteronomy and Le Platino were the horses in winning action at Haydock, both ridden by Brian Hughes, and the pair could well win again, on the evidence of this.

Wetherby’s two-day Charlie Hall fixture kicks off today, with the six-race card due to get under way at 2.10pm.

Howard Johnson has entered his stable star Tidal Bay in both the Charlie Hall Chase and the John Smith’s Hurdle at Wetherby and is leaning towards the hurdle option, saying: “Tidal Bay will most likely run this weekend, all being well. I haven’t spoken to his owner Graham Wylie yet but I would think he will go for the John Smith’s Hurdle rather than the Charlie Hall Chase.

“The horse looks grand but he’s getting older. He had a good summer, he’s fine and, touch wood, he’s training well. I definitely want to run him on Saturday.”

This year’s Charlie Hall Chase looks a cracking renewal with plenty of the top yards represented.

Last year’s winner Deep Purple is set to line-up again but the one that catches the eye the most is the Paul Nichollstrained The Tother One.

The nine-year-old has only had six starts over fences and has got a fantastic record first time out and can go close if Nicholls decides to go down that route.

With no flat racing this Sunday, Ann Duffield has taken the chance to hold an open day in aid of Racing Welfare. Duffield, who has enjoyed such a fine season, will open the doors of her picturesque Constable Burton yard between 11am-1pm and everyone is welcome.

With the weather due to stay dry and many activities including a parade of yearlings and top jockeys, including Paul Mulrennan, Philip Makin, Silvestre De Sousa, Tom Eaves, Amy Ryan and last but not least her husband George.

Speaking on Thursday morning, Duffield said: “Our open days have always proved very popular and it is a great opportunity for the public to get up close and personal with the horses and the jockeys.”

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