THE old turf on the historic Kilworthy track (first used in 1925) was described by jockeys as "absolutely perfect." for the Lamerton meeting.
The weather was also at its best with the massive crowd basking in sunshine against the scenic backcloth of Dartmoor.
Two winning rides thanks to Mausefalle and Sonoftheking kept Darren Edwards in a commanding position for this year's Devon & Cornwall championship.
Mausefalle, trained by Dean Summersby, set the ball rolling for Edwards when staying on well to win the Hunt race for the Lamerton president Mike Bickell. "I was delighted to win the Members as dad did 50 years ago. He is a genuine hunter and has hunted all through the season," said Mike.
Edwards had to work harder to get Sonoftheking home in front in the 16-runner Restricted, just getting the better of Templeton on the climb to the judge. Trainer Nicky Martin reported that her Wadebridge winner, "came from Philip Hobbs and couldn't run last year after recovering from a twisted gut. He never produced much under rules and Richard Johnson suggested to take him hunting".
Welsh jockey John Mathias denied Darren Edwards a treble when Minella Web showed plenty of determination to hold hat trick seeking According To Harry in the Exeter Racecourse Intermediate. The winner got first run at the foot of the hill to score in the colours of Roddy Harvey-Bailey. Winning trainer Kayley Woollacott said, "We bought him in Ireland relatively cheaply. He needs top of the ground and has done it nicely."
Mathias had earlier scored on Winter Soldier, also saddled by Kayley Woollacott, in a Maiden race which had to be divided on the day. The five-year-old good looking Apple Tree gelding was home bred by Lucy Fielding-Johnson, who shares ownership with Ces Mitford-Slade. Winter Soldier mastered Mount Prospex (Jamie Lyttle) by a head after the pair had battled it out neck and neck from the penultimate. "He was broken as a two-year-old and this was only his second run. He will stick to point-to-pointing this year and could be one for the (DBS) bumper championship," said Lucy.
Peterbrown jumped well and was always in the box seat in the hands of 18-year-old Jake Bament to win the other section of the Maiden. "Jake gave him a lovely quiet and confident ride," commented trainer Karyn Heard, adding "He was bought at Ascot last year out of Nick Gifford's yard for owner Sally White." The race was marred by a nasty fall for Chester Williams, the reigning area novice title holder, who suffered concussion when Sedgemoor Top Bid came down at the third last.
Jake Bament was partnering his fourth career winner and another novice rider took the spoils in a competitive Mixed Open which was delayed for an hour whilst the medics worked on the stricken young jockey from the previous race. Hedley Webb, who works as a farrier, had ridden his first winner when Loose Preformer, whom he owns and trains, won at Didmarton two weeks ago. This time he conjured a great run out of the former National Hunt horse to pass the favourite Double Bank inside the final 100 yards. Loose Preformer changed hands for £80,000 in his younger days and was one of AP McCoy's millions of winners in the past.
The well made six-year-old Doyen Dynamo had given notice of his ability when runner up at Didmarton on his British debut and went one better here in the Maiden race dedicated to the late Yvonne Watson,who had enjoyed success as a trainer on this track. Doyen Dynamo was saddled by Ed Walker for owners John Dorse and Mike Roe who acquired him from Ireland last summer. Winning jockey Danny Burton remarked that, "He took a circuit to get jumping but is a very nice horse."
The consistent Dicky Bob notched his fourth consecutive victory under Jo Buck in the Confined in a tight finish with Diamond Brook and King Kash. Successful just a week ago at Buckfastleigh, the grey turned out again as fresh as paint. Owner/trainer Verity Nicholls said, "He went out in a field the next day bucking. I walked the course yesterday and thought we might as well go for it. If he comes out okay we will probably run on Easter weekend then turn him away."