Mid Devon at Black Forest Lodge
Sunday 4th February 2007
by Granville Taylor
Michael Miller was the jockey in form at the Mid Devon, achieving a quick fire double in the first two races and getting placed on his three later rides.
The Dorset rider took the opening Confined event with the progressive Swift Wood, who had little difficulty in landing odds of 1-3 in the four runner contest.
Miller soon followed up when the useful Highway Oak gave a superb exhibition of jumping to take the Men’s Open in the fastest time of the day. Owner bred by Malcolm White and trained by his son Ben at Hardington Mandeville, Highway Oak was winning his fourth race at the Black Forest track. “He likes these tight, twisting tracks” said the owner and “will mix point-to-pointing with Hunter chases”, with a run at the South Dorset likely to be next on the agenda for the eleven year old, who won a Hunter chase at Taunton last April.
Bishops Nympton trainer Keith Cumings, who had saddled Swift Wood to win the Confined, was also on the ball in the Intermediate with the improving Maxou Des Brosses. This seven year old, owned by Mr and Mrs Geoffrey Brown from West Anstey, scored comfortably in the hands of Ryan Bliss, and could have the Exeter Racecourse Intermediate Point to Point final as an objective later in the season.
Although only five faced the starter, the Ladies’ Open was full of incident. The well fancied Lady Misprint refused at the first and the Hobbs runner Mounsey Castle was in the lead when ducking out at a marker at half way. The favourite Bally Blue took advantage of these mishaps, jumping with his usual fluency for Tabitha Cave to score by three lengths from Silent Sound with Isou well held in third.
Six year old Whisky In The Jar led from the eighth to win the Restricted in good style. The winner was bought at Doncaster last August by owner/trainer Tom Gretton, who is assistant trainer to Henry Daly near Ludlow. Former Exeter University student David Dunsdon, now a 24 year old law student in London, had the mount on the 7-1 chance.
Lucy Gardner finished runner up in the Restricted on Winter Scene and went one better in the first Maiden with her promising six year old Massini Man. The winner is by the Sadlers Wells stallion Dr Massini and was bought in Ireland as an unbroken three year old.
Jockey Neil Harris had a weekend to forget. He gave up his mounts at Wadebridge on Saturday with a touch of the ‘flu and suffered a knock on the head when unseated at the start of the Confined on his intended mount Must Be So, who subsequently bolted and had to be withdrawn. Neil’s woe was compounded when he was stood down by the doctor in consequence of his injury and missed a winning ride on Emanate in the second Maiden. Darren Edwards took over on the Jeremy Scott trained nine year old, who stayed on gamely to hold the persistent challenge of Mercurey.
1 Swift Wood (Mr M Miller)
2 Lord Ville (Mr N Schlfield)
3 Possible Pardon (Miss J Congdon)
4 ran; 12l; distance; 6 mins 9 secs
1 Highway Oak (Mr M Miller)
2 Sailor’s Folly (Mr P Mason)
3 Titchfield (Mr K Yates)
7 ran; neck; distance; 6m 1sec
1 Bally Blue ( Miss T Cave)
2 Silent Sound (Miss S West)
3 Isou (Miss A Mills)
5 ran; 3l; 8l; 6m 22secs
1 Maxou Des Brosses (Mr R Bliss)
2 Whites Touch (Mr M Miller)
3 Bullrush (Mr D Dunsdon)
9 ran; 6l; 25l; 6m 5 secs
1 Whisky In The Jar (Mr D Dunsdon)
2 Winter Scene (Miss L Gardner)
3 Grey Kid (Mr K Yates)
10 ran; 10l; two and a half lengths; 6m 3secs
Open Maiden Div 1
1 Massini Man (Miss L Gardner)
2 Force Ten (Miss K Squires)
3 Knickers (Mr M Miller)
14 ran; 5l; 16l; 6m 13secs
Open Maiden Div 2
1 Emanate (Mr D Edwards)
2 Mercurey (Mr M Miller)
3 Hi Star (Miss L Gardner)
12 ran; two and a half lengths; 5l; 6m 15secs