FINDLAY'S FIND and Lady Myfanwy were the stars of the show at Bratton Down, rounding off a memorable season for Paul and Myfanwy Miles in taking the Men's and Ladies' Opens respectively.
Five-year-old Findlay's Find was winning his ninth race of the season, and in the process captured the Connolly's Red Mills National Leading Horse award, overtaking his main rival for that award, Freddies Return, who has been roughed off.
Jockey Nick Williams took Findlay's Find into the lead entering the final circuit and readily shook off Will Biddick's mount Mustangsallyrally in the home straight. "He's a machine isn't he," said Nick, whose mount clocked 5mins 51secs.
Lady Myfanwy was scoring for the sixth time this season after a spirited duel throughout the race with runner up Innocent Rebel. "Lady Myfanwy thrives on racing but that's it for the season now," said Myfanwy Miles. "We got stuck in traffic for an hour on the way in a motorway hold up. The mare was very playful in the trailer but it didn't bother Findlay's Find," she added. Her rider Claire Hart, who has now won five times on the little Welsh mare this season, said, "she is so game and loves it when she gets her head in front"
18-year-old Michael Heard is closing fast on long time leader Micheal Nolan in his bid for the Devon & Cornwall Area novice riders' title, and made all the running to win the Restricted on the hitherto unlucky Jopero. The winner is trained by Richard Woollacott for owners Royston Britton, Pete Wade and John Gardner. "He stays and stays," said the young rider who is attached to the Woollacott yard and was enjoying his 11th winner of the season.
Light Touch (Vicky Wade) and Party Pictures (Josh Guerriero) were the only two runners in the Restricted but provided an exciting finish after matching strides for most of the way. Party Pictures kept out jumping his rival, but Light Touch found the better finishing pace. Vicky Wade trains the winner for her parents Keith and Sally. "I have a box at Jeremy and Camilla Scott's yard where I work and this is my third winner," said the winning rider.
The Hunt race was also a match, and the odds-on favourite Deloughtane was always in command over Eslin Bridge. Alice Pearn had no hesitation in making the running on her father's most consistent gelding and sauntered home by a distance to record her fifth win of the season.
The first five odds-on favourites had obliged and Will Biddick's mount Derniere Dance was a warm order for the concluding Maiden. The six-year-old failed to cope with newcomer Cnoc Bui however. Jenny Carr's mount came up the hill the stronger to fend off the favourite, giving owners Sinead Kennedy and Pete Diffey their first winner. "She is my first ever runner," said a visibly astonished Sinead who trains the mare at Wareham, Dorset. "We bought her very cheaply in Ireland just after Christmas because nobody wanted her," she added.