A HUGE crowd at Chipley Park found winners hard to find on a ten race card run on testing ground which attracted a total of 115 runners.
It was an afternoon to remember for two local jockeys who each rode their first winner. 21 year old Daniel Pick, who has worked for David Pipe for six years since leaving school, comes from nearby Wellington, and achieved his first success in the Hunt race on Mary Sanderson’s Hollandia. “He has been working well but I only put him in the race to make up the numbers”, said Mrs Sanderson of her 50-1 outsider.
Sam Matthews, 18,who starts work for David Pipe this week, entered the winner’s enclosure for the first time when Harbridge took a division of the PPORA Club Members’ event. Harbridge is owned and trained by Sam’s mother Corrine at nearby Hemyock, and belied his odds of 33-1 when outstaying the favourite Windy Spirit.
The consistent mare Lady Myfanwy was the only winning favourite of the day in the hands of 16-year-old Rhys Flint in the other Novice Riders’ division. The young rider, based with Philip Hobbs, gave the mare a patient ride to overhaul Top Strategy and Wild Oats up the final hill.
There was a training first for Mike Vanstone when Will Biddick steered Thoor Ballylee home in the first of three Maiden races. Mike has charge of the pointers now that his partner Linda Blackford trains under rules from their Rackenford yard. Thoor Ballylee was bought out of Tom Taaffe’s stable last June for owner Kit James.
Only two of the 11 starters finished in the second Maiden. Isobel Tompsett picked her way round a posse of loose horses to get Cresswell Toria home, but Nick Williams found things easier in the final section when the previously unraced Midnight Haze scored impressively for owner /trainer Phil Dando, who also bred the promising six-year-old at his farm near Cowbridge, South Wales.
Ask Again followed up last year’s win on this track when beating El Hombre Del Rio and Wendy’s Dynamo in a competitive 16 runner Mixed Open. The 12-1 winner was ridden by his trainer Sarah West, who works as secretary to Paul Nicholls, and owns the gelding in partnership with her father Chris and brother Tim. Sarah said: “I fit in Ask Again’s training in my lunch break at Ditcheat. He is jumping so much better now and has really grown up”.
McSolo came home unchallenged to win the Intermediate under Ian Chanin. The eight-year-old is trained by Ian’s father Robert at Thorverton for his owner Sue Trump, who bred the gelding from her winning pointer Fair Cone. “He has strengthened up and jumped well today,” said the trainer, adding that he would like to aim him for the Exeter final if the ground is soft.
Sulawacee was given a confident ride by Rachael Green to beat Manmoon in the first Restricted, and Senor Cid made all the running under Will White in the other Restricted section. Senor Cid was bought as an unbroken two-year-old by his owner Joe Cobden and is trained by his daughter Jane.