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Dulverton West
Bratton Down
Saturday 16th May 2009
by Lucy Johnson

ASHLEY Farrant achieved his ambition for the season at Bratton Down on Saturday when he went into double figures and trained his tenth winner.

Heavy hail storms meant the going was officially changed to soft during the meeting but Farrant had run Tonic Du Charmil in the mixed open, the second of the eight races rather than the later confined race. “He needs genuine good ground so we had to go for the mixed open before the rain got into the ground too much,” he said.

Farrant was denied a double when the well fancied Master Overseer, who started at oods-on, just failed by a short head to win the novice riders race with Tom Chanin getting up to score his third win of the season on Stone Valley.

Master Overseer’s jockey Matt Griffiths had earlier walked over the members’ race on Swift Wood.

A return to point-to-points restored Thirtytwo Red’s confidence after an unlucky couple of runs in hunter chases. The eight-year-old was always travelling well under Josh Guerriero who sent him to the front after the last and pushed him out for an eight length win. Winning trainer Ray Alford said: “We wanted to give him his confidence back and its worked. I lease him off Mike Gallagher and he’s a nice horse.”

Sixteen went to post in the restricted and it was Velvet Victory, ridden by Ryan Bliss, who landed a gamble to win by eight lengths.

Trained near the course by Roy Smith who uses Victor Dartnall’s gallops, the mare had had a virus for much of the season, but back on form she showed her determination to score an eight length win from Slipawayon. “I only train two horses and we’ve had a virus all year, but they seem to be right now,” said Smith.

Front Page, who had shown plenty of early season promise, finally came good in the first division of the maiden, staying on well up the run in despite a slipping saddle to hold off the favourite Bless My Soul and record a three length win under Charlotte Tizzard.

Bred by Stuart and Monique Pike out of their good mare Front Cover, she is owned by pub landlords Roger and Linda Newton whose colours were worn by Bally Blue. “We do think a lot of this mare but she’s been a bit unlucky and her confidence had gone. This is her type of track,” said Mrs Pike.

Karley was the easy winner of the second division coming right away from the field after the final fence and scoring a decisive ten length win under Will Biddick who was riding for his trainer father Mike. Owner Sally Alford bought the eight-year-old at Doncaster Sales as a yearling and had needed plenty of patience to score a win. “It’s taken him a long time as he has had a lot of problems. He broke a bone in his foot his first year and then we just couldn’t get him right.

The Richard Barber-trained Niver Bai was favourite to win the intermediate and he took it up at the last to win well under Alistair Ralph who broke his make on the gallops in October but was back in the saddle by March.

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