COURSE specialist Byerley Bear dominated the Ladies' Open under Leanda Tickle. The nine-year-old had mopped up all three Ladies' races run on the Royal Cornwall Showground last season and again showed his liking for the track with another emphatic victory.
Chloe Roddick's mount Rebel Du Maquis threatened briefly on the bottom bend, but 4-7 favourite Byerley Bear strode clear of the ex-Paul Nicholls chaser up the final hill. The winner's trainer Robert Chanin said, "He is stronger than ever this year and has enjoyed his hunting. There are no firm plans but he may go for a hunter chase at Taunton in January." Leanda Tickle was equally enthusiastic. "He was at his best and switched on when challenged," reported Leanda who rides out for Victor Dartnall as well as Robert Chanin and Leslie Jefford.
Double Bank is one of the most genuine pointers in the west country and kept up a relentless gallop to defy a penalty in the Men's Open at the expense of Kirkleigh and Champagne Rosie. "He jumped his way into the lead and I let him bowl on," explained regular rider Merv Woodward. The winner is trained for owner Jonathan Cole by Emma Oliver at Teign Valley. "Double Bank has won over trips from two miles 5 furlongs to three and a quarter miles and all types of ground," explained Emma, who also has an eye on the Taunton hunter chase next month.
"The finishing hill here is like Cheltenham," quipped John Mathias who came from Wales for one ride. This was the game Raffa who duly followed up his recent Black Forest win with a hard fought success over Supreme Danehill in the Intermediate. Joint owner Lucy Fielding-Johnson said of her home bred seven-year-old, "He loves going up hills but is a bit small and may struggle in Opens".
It was a good training performance from Spaxton based Teresa Clarke to send out Takamaru to win the Restricted. The eight-year-old had been off the course for 18 months but stripped fit and well to defy the favourite Theatre Goer and Ratline Rosie. Takamaru was bought for the Four 4 Fun Partnership last summer from Ashley Farrant, and spokesman Phil Browne commented, "The partnership was formed over a few drinks at the Blue Ball pub in Triscombe near Taunton and I think there is more to come from this horse." Successful jockey, 19-year-old David Noonan hails from Kilbrin, County Cork, and works for David Pipe. "This is my fifth winner and I still qualify as a novice rider," said the jockey.
The novice rider race on this card went to Working Title, who was a fourth winner for 18-year-old Joe Drinkwater. who works for Tom Lacey. The same horse had provided Joe with his first winner in the corresponding race last season. "He will come back here for an Open in January," said the jockey's brother Sam who trains the family owned 12-year-old.
Persistent drizzle descended into gloom for the closing Maiden events which attracted fields of 13 and 12 respectively. Rookie trainer Ben Clarke saddled his first winner with only his second runner when Desert Queen won the first Maiden division. A grand daughter of Dubacilla, Desert Queen pulled hard under Michael Legg but had enough in hand to repel the game effort of Wilde At Heart.
The unlucky departure of Westbrooke at the third last left five-year-old The Sweetener ( Jamie Thomas) clear in the closing Maiden where runner up Sisterbrooke caught the eye. Kayley Woollacott saddled the winner, who is from the family of Grand National winner Comply or Die, for owners Paul Govier and Geoffrey Brown. "Jamie has done a fantastic job with him. He had disappointed for Richard (Woollacott) under rules but has had a wind operation," stated the Rose Ash trainer.