THE Bank Holiday Monday fixture at Vauterhill, North Devon, featured doubles for jockeys Mervyn Woodward and Darren Andrews.
Woodward steered home Upton Funk to win the Jockey Club and Penbode Equine Mares Open Maiden and followed up with a comfortable 30 lengths success on Ichifoot in the Open Maiden.
A big, rangy nine-year-old, the well bred Upton Funk drew clear of the favourite Willaldo before the last in the colours of owner/trainer David Rogers. "She is a lovely late developing mare and I ride her out every day at the age of 83," smiled the winning owner, a stalwart of many years in the Devon & Cornwall area.
Mervyn Woodward enjoyed a blemish free round of jumping on Upton Funk before going on to complete his double with a very easy success on Ichifoot in the Wades of Bradworthy Open Maiden.
Patrick Picton-Warlow trains Ichifoot for the Stepaside Farm Partnership with quite an American connection. The seven-year-old is by the Kentucky Derby winner Fusaichi Pegasus and began life for his Californian based owners by running a few times on the flat in America. Mervyn Woodward had no doubts about his stamina, pulling right away from his five opponents from the last ditch.
Darren Andrews is having his best season in the saddle and started the afternoon with a walk over in the Lomas Helicopters sponsored Hunt Conditions race on River Myth. The mare turned out again an hour later to win the Kivells Mixed Open at the expense of sole rival Peterbrown. The Midnight Legend mare, trained by Stuart Sampson, now has five successes to her credit this season for owners Terry Hamlin and John Gardener and is in line for the Devon & Cornwall mares title.
The progressive seven-year-old Skinflint was backed down to odds-on for the Brewer Harding & Rowe Intermediate and duly obliged in the hands of Bryan Carver. Ryves Rocky made the running but Carver always seemed to be sitting confidently on the winner and eased him to the front jumping the last. The winner could be seen next in a Fontwell hunter chase.
The lightly raced seven-year-old Mahler Style had won a modest Maiden at Larkhill last month and was also well backed prior to winning the seven runner Scott Powell Restricted. This was a third career winner for 22-year-old Wexford born jockey Stefan Kirwan who works for the Philip Hobbs yard. Owners Alan and Jane Walter bought the mare out of the Jill Dennis yard and have their eye on a hunter chase at Stratford at the end of the month.