Saturday 16th April 2005
by Lee Glanville
A fine treble from rider of the moment Richard Woollacott , who will be pushing to win the men's area leading rider title this season, and another from Nick Williams were the highlights of a packed Eggesford Hunt point to point at the picturesque Lifton course, near Launceston.
All three of Woollacott's winners were trained by his girlfriend Emely Thompson near South Molton, and it was the first treble for both of them, although they are getting used to the idea of doubles as Emely is expecting twins in June.
Williams' treble were trained by Richard Barber at Seaborough in Dorset.
Punters had to take notice of horses' liking for soft ground as the recent rain had taken its toll on the course. Very wet ground on the part of the course meant that the fence before the open ditch was taken out before racing.
Woollacott got the ball rolling with a comfortable victory on Finewood in the Confined Hunts' race. Jennifer Congdon had made most of the running on Possible Pardon, a horse gifted to her while she was at Philip Hobbs' NH yard but Finewood jumped up into contention three out and went away to win by five lengths - the field bypassing the last fence which had a guard rail broken on the previous circuit.
Teddy Boy, who missed all last season recovering from a leg injury sustained at the end of the 2003 season, was having his first cut at a men's open. He was in form, having won an Intermediate at Kilworthy, and provided the second leg of Woollacott's treble. His owners had always thought the horse preferred firmer ground, but were delighted with the way he headed multiple winner Polar Champ (four wins this season) three out.
Woollacott's run continued in the next race, the first division of the maiden, which he won on Polligana, having led early on and in the closing stages, running on strongly to the finish. The Leslie Jefford trained five-year-old Heathfield Flyer ran well in second place under Tim Dennis, Jefford having forfeited the ride through illness. The fence repair gang had their work cut out throughout the day and in this race the field missed the last two fences on the final circuit as they were damaged!
Williams' treble was on Eastworth Grange in the Restricted, Smart Cavalier in the Intermediate - the horse following up from last weekend's win at Cherrybrook - and Fordham Glory in the third division of the maiden.
Carefree Love ran well under Sarah Gaisford in the Intermediate and should soon go one better.
Guy Weatherley took what looked like a good second division of the maiden on David Johnson's Stand On Me but Will Biddick and Whizzaar were going slightly the better when taking a crashing fall at the last fence - both got up quickly, Biddick going on to take second in Division Three, behind Williams and Fordham Glory, on John Weldhen's Coral Bay.
In the absence of the other major players, Mandy Hand rode a patient waiting race to take the ladies' open - repeating last year's feat - on her own Karadin. Mary Biddick was going well on leader Frankly Fear when ejected from the saddle by a mistake and there was good race for second and third between Guru Rinpoche and Fruit Defendu.
Sandy Duff was clapped home in the members' race - his fifth victory of the season - under owner Mary McCarthy and he has yet to be extended in any of his wins. Shobrooke Mill ran well for the Prouse family in second.
Hunt members': 1, Sandy Duff, Miss M McCarthy; 2, Shobrooke Mill, Miss C Prouse; 3, Squaddie, T O'Brien. Five ran. Dist, 5l, 6.32.
Ladies open: 1, Karadin, Mrs M Hand; 2, Guru Rinpoche, Miss L Gardner; 3, Fruit Defendu, Miss R Green. Four ran, 5l, sh, 6.34.
Confined: 1, Finewood, R Woollacott; 2, Possible Pardon, Miss J Congdon; 3, Wise Reflection, L Jefford. Five ran, 5l, 12l, 6.33.
Intermediate: 1, Smart Cavalier, N Williams; 2, Carefree Love, Miss S Gaisford; 3, Josanjamic, L Heard. Eight ran, 4l, 2l, 6.46.
Restricted: 1, Eastworth Grange, N Williams; 2, Working Girl, A Glassonbury; 3, Chester Charlie, T Dennis. Eight ran, 3l, sh, 6.35.
Men's Open: 1, Teddy Boy, R Woollacott; 2, Here Comes Henry, L Heard; 3, Young General, T Dennis. Eight ran, 10l, 8l, 6.30.
Open Maiden Div One: 1, Polligana, R Woollacott; 2, Heathfield Flyer, T Dennis; 3, Dionysian, Miss R Green. Nine ran, 2l, 5l, 6.38.
Div Two: 1, Stand On Me, G Weatherley; 2, Slippery Friend, R Darke; 3, Jaunty Janner, T Dennis. Nine ran, 5l, 3l, 6.38.
Div Three: 1, Fordham Glory, N Williams; 2, Coral Bay, W Biddick; 3, Jemanette, M Dennis. 13 ran, 8l, 12l, 6.49.