A record crowd enjoyed the sunshine and spectacular scenery
at Flete Park on Saturday and, despite runners being thin on the ground,
had the excitement of close finishes.
Only three runners went to post for the ladiesí open, a
Gerrard qualifier, but distances between the three at the post were a neck
and half a length. The youngster of the field, Priestthorn, 11, ridden by
Wendy Southcombe, beat the 14-year-old Bells Wood (Vicky Lucas) and
15-year-old Polden Pride (Lucia Borradaile), with all three in contention
over the last.
There was also a close finish in the menís four mile open
with Charlie Studd getting MinerísDance home by half a length from Colin
Heard on Belarus after a lengthy tussle. This race though was marred by
the death of top stayer Daraydan who was put down after shattering a
fetlock on the flat in the early stages of the race.
raider from the Royal Artillery stole the spoils in the Restricted,
Snowboy (J OíRourke) belying his name and showing a liking for fast
ground. He had a two-length victory over Eagle Hill whose jockey Rachel
Barrow was having her first win over fences in the Devon and
Cornwall area. The mementos for this race were presented by Jan and Pete
Shaw who had celebrated their wedding earlier in the day and held their
reception in a marquee at the course.
There was a double for trainer Nicky Frost, wife of trainer
Jimmy Frost. Mary McCarthy piloted her own Nimbus Stratus to victory in
the opening membersí race, for her first win, and Jimmyís
Defendtherealm followed up under Derek McKenna in the six runner Confined.
Roma Cookís good mare County Bash was second under Lucy Gardner, just a
length and a half in arrears. There was a stewards enquiry into the
running of favourite Khayal, but rider Les Jeffordís explanation that
the horse made a mistake early on and was never happy on the fast ground
was accepted. Runners were further diminished in this race when Morris
Piper failed to start.
There was a first win of the season for Amanda Barnett who
turned the maiden race into a procession on her own horse Wide Valley
Will, in the colours she carried to success in the 1990s on Suez.
Former point to point rider Linda Courtney (maiden name
Delve) gave birth to a baby girl, Annabel Louise on Saturday morning.
Restricted: 1, Snowboy (Ire), J OíRourke; 2, Eagle Hill,
Miss R Barrow; 3, Nicks Way, C Heard. Three ran, 2l, dist, 6.55.
Menís Open (Four Miles): 1, Minerís Dance, C Studd; 2,
Belarus, C Heard; 3, Young General, R Darke. Five ran, 1/2l, 5l, 8.01.
Gerrard Ladiesí Open: 1, Priestthorn, Miss W Southcombe; 2,
Bells Wood, Miss V Lucas; 3, Polden Pride, Mrs L Borradaile. Three ran,
Neck, 1/2l, 6.34.
Confined: 1, Defendtherealm, D McKenna; 2, County Bash, Miss
L Gardner; 3, Damiens Pride, T Dennis. Six ran, 1 1/2l, 2 1/2l, 6.28.
Maiden: 1, Wide Valley Will, Miss A Barnett; 2, Marquis Max,
W Smith; 3, Miss Molly Miggins, R Darke. Three ran, dist, dist, 6.49.