The sky is overcast and the track is heavy for the Parliamentary Hunt Club’s feature race the Credibility Steeplechase.
The first horse into the birdcage is ACTion Man, by Hide n Cheek out of Roger’s Rules. This is a small stallion with a reputation for stamina.
Then we have Blue Boy by Future Hope out of Aspiration. He’s young but he’s got confidence and the punters are backing him.
Next up is Red Witch by My Way out of Sixties Child. Some commentators think she should be put out to pasture but she’s a stayer and if she can keep in touch with the leaders she’ll have a strong finish.
She’s followed closely by her stable mate Man Alone, a gelding by Old Socialist out of Self Interest. This horse never attracts many bets, but often finishes in the money.
Te Whanau by First Here out of Passion is another young horse with promise. Lining up next is Mr Sensible by Many Parties out of Whatever Will Win. Then there’s Watermelon by Red Green out of Green Red.
And the last horse is Bauble King by Lust for Power out of No Principles.
They’re under starters orders, the flag is up and they’re racing now.
Blue Boy is out first followed by Red Witch with Man Alone on her tail. Te Whanua and Watermelon are a couple of lengths behind then its ACTion Man followed by Mr Sensible and Bauble King’s bringing up the rear.
The field’s slowing as they approach the EFA Hurdle. Blue Boy, Te Whanau and ACTion Man jump cleanly, Mr Sensible hesitates but now he’s over; Red Witch catches a heel in the brush; it’s a bit higher than Watermelon expected and Man Alone stumbles but they’ve managed to jump clear and Bauble King ploughs straight through as if it’s not even there.
Over the second hurdle and Blue Boy’s a few lengths clear of ACTion Man. Te Whanau’s made up ground then it’s back then to Red Witch followed closely by Watermelon and Man Alone; then it’s Mr Sensible and last is Bauble King who’s weaving all over the course going from one side to the other and back again but his jockey’s got a firm grip now though he’s veering to the left.
The policy hurdle can be tricky but Blue Boy’s heading for the centre and he’s over; ACTion Man’s out on the right and clears it; Te Whanau’s jumped cleanly and the rest of the field is bunched up together but they’re over and away.
Blue Boy’s running strongly, he swerves to left then right to avoid a sticky patch but now he’s back up the centre, Te Whanau is half a length back with ACTion Man still in touch, and Mr Sensible a few lengths back.
The other horses are bunched together Man Alone is slowing and Bauble King’s bogged down in the mud; Red Witch is making heavy going of it and Watermelon’s getting spattered as they approach the ETS hurdle neck and neck. Will they make it? Yes they’re over but the rest of the field’s well out in front as they approach the last fence.
The principle hurdle is tricky, but Blue Boy and Te Whanau clear it, so does ACTion Man, Mr Sensible’s jockey isn’t sure which way to jump but the horse knows where he’s going and they’re over.
Watermelon pulls to the left then crashes over and Man Alone looks confused but he clears it too.
Well back now Bauble King is staggering and it looks like he might bring the Red Witch down, she’s covered in mud and she’s made a real hash of the principle hurdle but she’s managed to stay on her feet.
Down the home straight now and across the finish line it’s Blue Boy in front, a length back to Te Whanau then ACTion Man and Mr Sensible followed by Red Witch with Water Melon and Man Alone on her tail.
And here comes Bauble Boy, he’s turned his back on the principle hurdle, his jockey has lost control and there’ll have to be an inquiry. Hold all bets, the stewards are conferring and this could take some time.