THE use of an aggravator and some precious rain helped to ease the ground a bit on this moorland track where a total of 36 runners contested the seven races in a blustery wind.
Cappoquin won his fourth consecutive race of the season in the Men's Open in a race run in memory of popular bookmaker Bob Pittard, who died last year. Odds-on favourite Gaelic Flight gave Neil Harris no chance of retaining their partnership when blundering at the sixth fence, and Cappoquin was content to stalk the leader Classic Rock until easing clear at the penultimate. "Luckily he didn't have a hard race and can run again next week," said trainer Richard Barber of his seven-year-old.
Will Biddick was riding his 27th winner of the season on Cappoquin, but could only manage two seconds, a third and a fifth from his other four rides, leaving him six behind championship leader Richard Burton. His Open Maiden mount Derniere Dance was narrowly beaten by Grant Cann's five-year-old In The Dock (Amanda Bush) after veering left on the punishing climb to the post and carrying the winner across the course in the closing stages.
Biddick's luck was also out when Certain Flight went under to Turtle Tim who stayed on well to take the Intermediate under Josh Guerriero after the pair had jumped the last together. The winner is trained by Leslie Jefford for Michael and Judith Pidsley. "He ran two bad races earlier in the season but has improved for the tongue tie," reported the trainer.
Richard Woollacott sent out the first two winners on the card from his Rose Ash yard. He partnered the highly progressive Deb's Dasher to win the Confined before saddling the consistent gelding Deloughtane to win the Ladies' Open ridden by Alice Pearn. "We will come back here for the Exmoor hunt race in two weeks time," said owner John Pearn.
Preacher Boy and Barney's Mate fought out the finish of the Novice Riders' event. 19-year-old Philip Prince was virtually out of the saddle when Preacher Boy clouted the 13th fence, but was soon back on an even keel and right on the heels of hot favourite Barney's Mate (Harry Derham). Timing his challenge to perfection, the young rider hit the front on the ultra game Preacher Boy inside the last 150 yards to gain his seventh success of the season.
Obamarama gave Ed Barrett his ninth winner of the season when beating Darnay's Whistle and Wassonthen in the Restricted. Six-year-old Obamarama is trained by Ed Walker for owners Ken and Sylvia Dare. "He likes fast ground but this will probably be his last run of the season," said the trainer.