THE Royal Cornwall Showground at Wadebridge hosted the first Cornish point-to-point of the new season in spring-like weather before a decent sized crowd
Darren Edwards is already in determined mood to regain the Devon & Cornwall area jockeys' title he narrowly missed out on to Will Biddick last season. Having reached a double century of point-to-point winners on the opening day at Black Forest Lodge, the popular rider again justified his regular commute from Leicestershire with a double from his two rides on the showground.
Rockinrolldixie strolled clear of his rivals up the final hill to win the Restricted with Edwards sitting motionless on the progressive seven-year-old. "He is a classy horse, was keen and still pulling at the last," remarked the rider, who paid tribute to Dean and Emma Summersby for producing the gelding so fit on his seasonal debut. Trainer Dean Summersby commented that, "a stronger run race in a bigger field would help him."
The Summersby yard, based near Launceston, went on to send out Open Maiden winner Chosen Lucky. This time it was not all plain sailing as the five-year-old was continually pestered by a loose horse until Edwards pressed the button on the bottom bend to secure his double. "This horse is a bit more straightforward than our first winner. He is an out and out stayer," reported the successful trainer, who bought his charge privately in Ireland after three unplaced point-to-point runs there.
Premier Portrait found a nice turn of foot to narrowly deny Consigliere in the Men's Open. Gus Levinson was content to bide his time on his prolific winning partner before pouncing on front running Consigliere inside the last 75 yards to score going away. "He will probably go to Chaddesley Corbett at the end of the month then hunter chasing is a possibility," said Charles Levinson.
Consiglere was far from disgraced as he was giving the winner 7lbs. "He really needs better ground and the Mixed Open at Ampton on 15th January could be next for him," remarked jockey Joe Hill. After setting off at 5.15am from Oxfordshire, Joe had already saddled the Novice Riders' winner Supreme Danehill on behalf of his father Alan, who had headed to the Larkhill meeting.
Supreme Danehill was given a positive ride by Izzie Marshall, enjoying the third success of her career. "I had my first ride in this race last year and then had winners on Conkies Lad at Charing and Penshurst," said the 17-year-old rider who is taking A levels at Claremont College, East Sussex.
Vicky Wade opened her account for the season when the grey King Of Alcatraz made all and finished 20 lengths clear of the only other finished Ambitious Pursuit in the three-runner Ladies' Open. The winner was left well clear when odds-on favourite Ohio Gold unseated Natalie Parker at the third last. "Nothing would go on so I decided to take control of the race," said the winning rider after the trio had dawdled in the early stages.
Chilhampton, North Devon, owner/trainer Roy Smith reported that his 10-year-old gelding, winning for the first time since taking a hunter chase at Exeter three years ago was, "Worried that he might not be fit enough. He was coughing early last season and I just have a bit of grass to train him on,"
The seven-runner Intermediate turned into a virtual match on the final circuit between Follow The Paint and Boygojumping, with the mare Follow The Paint taking command at the last to score her third course victory. "She is genuine and thrives on her work. She can be keen but the sit and wait tactics panned out well," commented trainer John Heard, who handles the mare on behalf of the Beefeaters Syndicate, and paid a nice tribute to winning rider, 20-year-old Jake Bament, who works in the Philip Hobbs yard.