CLERK OF THE COURSE Mike Weir and his team produced remarkably good ground in the face of the current dry spell at Flete Park for the Dartmoor meeting. Ample watering on the old turf provided a very acceptable racing surface and drew praise from jockeys.
A massive Easter Saturday crowd, with the car parks overflowing before the first race, saw riding doubles from both Richard Woollacott and Michael Heard.
Mike Tozer's six-year-old Moonberry is also trained by Woollacott, and landed the Confined Maiden from the gallant Josiah Bay after both horses had been jostled by the loose Award Winning on the run from the second last. Moonberry took his rider to the 14-winner mark for the season as his success in the Maiden added to his win on the Sam Holdsworth trained Turning Tide in the Confined.
18-year-old Michael Heard, who works at Woollacott's Rose Ash yard, is steadily pressing for National Novice title honours, and his double on Paddy The Piper and Roll On Rose took his score for the season to six. Both these horses are trained by his father John near Okehampton. 14-year-old Paddy The Piper readily outstayed Wee Bertie and Karinga Coin to win the Lord Mildmay Memorial four miles Open. Roll On Rose just got the better of Turtle Tim in the Intermediate to add to her recent success at the Lamerton.
The Ladies' Open produced the closest finish of the day with Dr Cerullo and Suzy Berry getting the verdict by a nose over Deloughtane (Alice Pearn). This pair had raced stride for stride from the second last after the odds-on favourite Miss Midnight had dropped out of contention.
Brothers Tom and Ian Chanin started this hot afternoon well with a winner apiece. Ian gave Dr Cerullo's trainer Ed Walker a double when Best Bette followed up her Great Trethew win in the Restricted. The five-year-old mare may have had more to do had not Prudent George clouted the second last. Bryony Frost did well to survive this blunder on her race riding debut, but had to give best to gravity at the last. Tom Chanin partnered his fourth winner of the season when scoring on Global Party in a match with Flora Springs for the hunt race. Nine-year-old Global Party is trained by Dennis Turner for his wife Marion.