REIGNING area champion Richard Woollacott took his tally to seven for the season at Buckfastleigh on Sunday where a huge crowd lined their pockets with six favourites delivering on the eight race card.
Woollacott got off the mark in the opening confined maiden race when Josh Be Yourself came home the half length winner from the Nathan Wilmington-ridden Tres Bien. But Woollacott had to survive a stewards’ enquiry with Wilmington objecting about Josh Be Yourself drifting left after the final fence, taking Tres Bien with him.
The objection was subsequently overruled with the stewards saying that the interference was accidental.
Alan Walter landed a nice touch when the heavily backed Emergence, ridden by Woollacott, showed her resolution when jumping the last fence with Miss Pretty and then pulling away to score a length and a half win in the second division of the mares’ maiden.
It was the mares’ British and fencing debut having been claimed out of a race in Auteuil, France in October and her owners David Lockwood and Mike Blackmore were also enjoying their first visit to the winners’ enclosure. “It’s a plan that has come together today,” admitted Walter.
The fist division went to Sericina who looked hugely impressive as she romped away to a 20 length win under Robert Lee. Trained by Chole Roddick, the winner was initially bought in France by successful agent Tracey Brown who stables her horses just a stone’s throw from the course and had also found confined maiden third Noquieto.
Roddick later had to settle for second on Goblet of Fire in a competitive ladies’ open which saw Innocent Rebel win by a head with Claire Allen on board. The pair had come over the final fence in a line with Lets Fly to provide a thrilling finish. The seven-year-old has won three times this season and trainer Colin Heard is planning to run him in hunter chases.
Rockwithacaveman also took his tally to three for the season after landing the Exeter Racecourse Intermediate Race, taking Polly Gundry’s tally to 12 for the season, two ahead of Claire Allen at tje top of the national championship.
Dantes Back continues to impress this season with an easy men’s open win for trainer Mandy Hand and her husband Reg. Darren Edwards, who was scoring his fifth success of the season, said: “I was pleased because he dosses a bit in front but he’s a stayer. I tried to sit as long as I could on him. He wasn’t fit the first time he ran but he’s definitely right now.”
The Mitford-Slade Hunter Chase at Taunton on February 28 could be next on the agenda for the ten-year-old.
Jo Buck scored a 20 length win on the Robert Pudd-trained Arctic Shot in the first division of the restricted. Jo has had stints in Ireland and New Zealand working with racehorses and now works for Roger’s wife Tigger, whose aunt Yolande Shrubb owns the gelding. The pair had looked in good order when finishing second at Black Forest Lodge, but still went off at 20-1.
The second division went to Jane and Chris Brake’s home bred Dad Says Heazle who was given a stylish ride by 18-year-old Ian Popham. The gelding had been slightly disappointing under Rules, but looked as good as ever with what looked like an easy win.
The Farriers Confined Maiden for Geldings and Horses: Josh Be Yourself (Mr R Woollacott) 1; Tres Bien (Mr N Wilmington) 2; Noquieto (Mr I Popham) 3. Distances: 1/2l, 6l; Time: 6 minutes 12 seconds.
Exeter Racecourse Intermediate: Rockwithacaveman (Miss P Gundry) 1; Sweet Shooter (Mr R Hawker) 2; Off Broadway (Mr I Popham) 3. 7l, 10l; 6.04.
TBA/MFHA Point-to-Point Owners & Riders Association Club Members Maiden Race for Mares Only Div 1: Sericina (Mr R Lee) 1; 2 Jean’s Joy (Miss P Gundry) 2; Ansa The Question (Mr W White) 3. 20l, 20l; 6.14.
The Barton Sawmills Maiden Race for Mares Only Div 2: Emergence (Mr R Woollacott) 1; Miss Pretty (Miss P Gundry) 2; Midnight Queen (Mr I Popham) 3. 1 1/2l, 21/2l; 6.23.
The Totnes & Bridgetown Men’s Open Race: Dante’s Back (Mr D Edwards) 1; Lisheen Storm (Mr T Dennis) 2; Concert Pianist (Mr R Woollacott) 3. 2l, 4l; 6.10.
Dartmouth Golf & Country Club ladies’ Open: Innocent Rebel (Miss C Allen) 1; Goblet of Fire (Miss C Roddick) 2; Lets Fly (Miss P Gundry) 3. Hd, 1l; 6.05.
The Luscombe Maye Restricted Race Div 1: Arctic Shot (Miss J Buck) 1; Rogue River (Mr M Wall) 2; Thoor Ballylee (Mr W Biddick) 3. 12l, 3l; 6.14.
The Luscombe Maye Restricted Race Div 2: Dad Says Heazle (Mr I Popham) 1; Royal Niece (Mr A Wintle) 2; Boulsdon Boy (Mr C Dailly) 3. 12l; 5l; 6.10.