Cornwall Hunt Club
THE classy Burntoakboy was the star of the show at Wadebridge, where heavy overnight rain produced testing ground.
This formerly useful handicap hurdler was on a mission to qualify for this season’s Foxhunters Chase, having gained the first part of his qualification with an easy win at Cottenham on the opening day of the pointing season. He did so in great style, easing clear of his seven rivals from four out to beat the Welsh challenger Seaforde by six lengths. His owner/trainer Dr Richard Newland did not make the journey from Worcestershire, but winning jockey Tom Weston, paying his first visit Wadebridge, was delighted with his mounts performance, saying that the ten-year-old had “only cantered twice in the week because of the frozen ground”. He expects that the gelding will have a break now before being prepared for Cheltenham.
Another Cheltenham Foxhunters candidate emerged in the shape of Lord of Illusion, who took the Novice Riders’ race in the hands of 18 year old Matt Griffiths. This rangy gelding was also a good performer under rules, having contested a Gold Cup and Grand National. He found easier pickings here, being left clear of the tiring Lourd Hymn when both King Georges and Just Muckin Around lost their jockeys at the third last. Winning trainer Sue Popham, who is based near Taunton, said “This is not his course and not his ground,” but she is keen to have a tilt at the Foxhunters, having bought the gelding on behalf of the Harper’s Wood Partnership at Ascot sales in June.
The Ladies’ Open provided the closest finish of the day with Dr Cerullo (Claire Allen) getting a head verdict over the favourite Croix de Guerre (Katherine Hobbs). The pair raced stride for stride over the final three fences and were virtually inseparable when they reached the judge. “He is very brave and was well up to it coming up the hill” was the winning rider’s verdict on this gutsy seven-year-old, who hails from the Ottery St Mary yard of Polly Gundry and Ed Walker.
Ha Ho Magregor jumped well and made all to see off eight rivals to win the Restricted, chased home by Give It Holly and Man of Leisure. The winner was partnered by 23 year old Suzy Berry, who also trains the gelding for her father Tony at the family farm at North Petherton near Taunton. She described her charge as, “a lovely little horse but he can run freely and I thought he needed another two weeks work”.
Suzy was denied a double when partnering runner up Matako in the 12 runner Maiden. She looked to have stolen a vital advantage racing down the hill, but 19 year old Sam Allwood brought Ellies Horse to challenge at the third last, and this six-year-old stormed clear in the home straight. The winner was saddled by Karyn Heard for the Notre Cheval Partnership run by Minehead vet Philip Browne. “He travelled and jumped well and could improve further” was the verdict of the successful jockey who had diverted himself to Wadebridge from the abandoned Lingfield Park meeting.
Tavistock-based Jimmy Cole gave front running Dutch Bill a positive ride to beat odds-on shot Sykee Savage in the Intermediate. Jimmy’s mount came off best as the leaders bunched up on the bend out of the back straight, and maintained the advantage on the final climb, reaching the post with two lengths to spare over recent Black Forest winner Sykee Savage. Dutch Bill is trained by Katherine Northcott for Lamerton publican Robert White.
Club Members’ Novice Riders’