IT was wet all afternoon on Easter Monday at Trebudannon, but the rain soaked crowd were treated to some first class racing. The going changed during racing to soft with heavy patches, and two fences were omitted due to the ground conditions in the final race.
The testing conditions demanded abundant stamina for the featured Cornish National run over three and a half miles. Eight-year-old Apollo Blaze may have started at 20-1, but he belied that price by holding on in the gamest possible style to deny the strong finishing favourite Rockwithacaveman and Polly Gundry by a head. Looe based fish and chip shop proprietor Paul Harvey bought Apollo Blaze as a four-year-old. “He is not the easiest horse to train and has had lots of problems”,said winning trainer Pat Shaw, who plans to aim the gelding at the Connolly’s Red Mills Intermediate Final at Cheltenham next month. His 24 year old Jockey John Monk, who is based with David Pipe, was partnering his first winner in England, but is a former champion amateur in France where he has ridden 11 winners.
Polly Gundry had stretched her lead in the National Ladies’ Championship with a success at Upcott Cross on Saturday, and continued in winning form, taking her seasonal tally to 20 by winning the Hunt race here on Ross Oliver’s Wee Fly.
18 year old Matt Griffiths was also in double form over the Easter weekend, and kept himself in the runner up spot for the National Novice Riders’ title with his ninth winner of the season in the Restricted on The Disengager. This time it was not plain sailing for Matt, since he lost an iron at the penultimate fence and just held off the strong challenge of Howdy Cloud minus both irons.
Dublin born Jockey Jimmy Derham achieved his first double. “I had four winners in Ireland and came over to join Robert Alner’s yard initially”. “I am now based with Seamus Mullins” said the delighted jockey. He gave a positive ride to five-year-old newcomer Fast Development to win the first section of the two and a half miles Open Maiden for young horses, and followed up in the three miles Open Maiden on Somerby. Fast Development is owned by Derek Mead and trained by Ros Newman at Woolminstone, Somerset. “We bought her as a two-year-old at Doncaster and she looks like making into a useful mare”, said the owner.24 year old Jimmy Derham completed his double with a stylish success on six-year-old Somerby in the concluding Maiden, where the last two fences in the back straight were omitted due to the boggy ground. The winner is owned and trained at Sturminster Newton, Dorset, by Richenda Snook who bought the gelding privately as a four-year-old.
Despite the horrible conditions, jockey Jo Buck was all smiles after division two of the youngsters Maiden after landing her first winner of the season on four-year-old Mayfair Lastchance, owned and trained at Tavistock by Jimmy Cole. “I have now had six winners in my career”, said the 26 year old rider, who is now based with Carrol and Christine Gray near Bridgwater. “I took time out since coming into racing with Polly Curling and Kay Rees, and worked in Ireland as well as having spells in Australia and New Zealand,” she added.
After a disappointing run a week ago Jack’s Taxi returned to form to beat The Boss Roche in the Confined under Neil Harris. “He did not act on the course at Cherrybrook and we have had a little bug”, commented Jeremy Scott representing his wife Camilla, who trains the imposing Classic Cliché gelding at Brompton Regis.
Open Maiden 4-7 year olds 2miles and a half Division 1
Open Maiden 4-7 year olds 2miles and a half Division 2
Mixed Open (Cornish National) 3 miles and a half