Saturday 15th April 2006
by Lucy Johnson
The new point-to-point course at Upcott Cross, where the Eggesford staged the inaugural meeting, was given the big thumbs up by trainers and jockeys alike. Overnight rain had produced good to soft going, which became increasingly holding as the day went on, and stamina was the order of the day at this out and out stayers track, but everyone was unanimous in their belief that the flat right handed track is a welcome edition to the Devon and Cornwall circuit.
Dorset-based trainer Richard Barber, who suffered two defeats with the well backed Reviewer and El Nombre before Rachel Green delivered on Nevada Royale in the Restricted, said: “They’ve made an excellent job of the course and there are no problems here at all. It is a real stayers’ track but it’s a great addition.”
Nevada Royale had a cake walk in the restricted, taking up the lead with three fences to go and then winning easily by 25 lengths. The five-year-old, who is owned by champion trainer elect Paul Nicholls with Kathy Stuart and Anthony Bromley, could have a tilt at a novices’ hunter chase at Newton Abbot in two weeks time.
Odds on favourite Reviewer was held up in his usual position at the rear of the field and Green made her move on the turn for home before moving upsides eventual winner Investor Relations with two fences to go. But the latter proved too good and won by two lengths, providing owner Mike Tozer with his first win with trainer Chloe Newman.
She was at Burnham Market Horse Trials, helping her event rider sister Sophie, and it was up to jockey Tanya Newman and her 14-year-old son Josh to ready the horse for the race.
“I won a hurdle race on him four years ago at Newton Abbot and this is my first win of the season,” said Newman who added that his below par performance at Kingston St Mary last time out was due to a problem with his neck. “He’s had a lot of physio since then which has helped.”
El Nombre was odds on to deliver for the Green/Barber combination in the Intermediate, but he ploughed through the second last, which hindered his chances and Long Night held on under a fine ride from Richard Woollacott who scored a superb treble.
It was a good day for trainer Marie McGuiness whose husband Leigton had already saddled a winner at Cothelstone. She trains the horse at Stockland Lovell Manor for The It’ll Be A Long Night Partnership, a group of friends from Somerset whose spokesman John Sherwin said: “We came here because it’s a long galloping tack and we thought the ground would suit. Marie has done a fantastic job with him keeping him sound and he’s been swimming everyday.”
Woollacott had earlier scored in the confined on Oliver Carter’s Early Edition who is now with Tony and Pauline Geering at Lifton in Devon. The ten-year-old was sent ahead at the second last and scored readily from Gin ‘n’ Fonic. Tony Geering said: “I led up his dam Ottery News in 1979 when she won a maiden ridden by Grant Cann. We’ve had him five weeks and we’ve managed two wins from two runners for Mr Carter.”
Woollacott later scored in the men’s open aboard Finewood, trained by his partner Emely Thompson, who won on his own after Richard Hawker parted company from Charliebob at the last and then remounted to finish second.
Penny and Simon Cave’s home bred Lets Dance, ridden by their daughter Tabitha, took the first maiden, which proved a memorable occasion for the family who put the seven-year-old on the sides lines after he was ruled out for two years with leg problems.
Finest performance of the day came from car mechanic Lee Rowe, 26, and his partner Joanne Cole who had Can You Talk as fit as a fiddle for his seasonal debut, holding off the persistent challenge of evens favourite Continental to win the second maiden by five lengths. It was Rowes’ second win of his riding career, having first scored six years ago.
Sally Rowe had kicked off proceedings with Canada who won the opening member’s race with Russell Ross onboard.
Hunt Members, 12st (5 runners) Canada (Mr R Ross) 1; Nditlir (Mr C Heard) 2; Procedure (Mr J Guerriero) 3. Ms S Rowe; 12l, distance; 7.03.
Ladies Open: Investor Relations (Miss T Newman) 1; Reviewer (Miss R Green) 2; Atavistic (Miss R Booth) 3. Miss C Newman; 2l, 20l; 7.11.
Confined: Early Edition (Mr R Woollacott) 1; Gin ‘n’ Fonic (Mr C Heard) 2; Bruthuinne (Mr D McKenna) 3. Mr and Mrs Geering; 2l, 12l, 7.13.
Intermediate : Long Night (Mr R Woollacott) 1; El Nombre (Miss R Green) 2; Gunners Mistake (Mr C Dailly) 3. Mrs M McGuiness; 2l, 8l; 7.18.
Restricted: Nevada Royale (Miss R Green) 1; Little Apple Bay (Mr A Holdsworth) 2; Nowhips (Miss P Gundry) 3. Mr R barber, 25l, 12l, 7.09.
Men’s Open: Finewood (Mr R Woollacott) 1; Charliebob (Mr R Hawker) 2. Miss E Thompson, distance, 7.35.
Open Maiden div I: Lets Dance ( Miss T Cave) 1; Sure How Bad (Mr C Dailly) 2; Oh So Naughty (Miss J Congdon) 3. Mrs P cave; 1l, 5l; 7.28.
Open Maiden div II: Can You Talk (Mr L Rowe) 1; Continental (Mr J Guerriero) 2; Ability (Mr C Dailly) 3. Mr L Rowe and Miss J Cole; 5l, 10l; 7.29.