RICHARD Woollacott and Polly Gundry were crowned the Devon and Cornwall area champions at Umberleigh on Saturday, with Gundry retaining the national title, after six action packed races. Tom Greenall became the new national male champion, and after a nail biting finish, 22-year-old Alice Pearn gained the area novice title with Matt Griffiths taking the male equivalent.
Going into the meeting, Pearn was neck and neck with Becky Barnett for the championship but a win in the opening confined hunts race, where she rode well for a one length win on Kings Georges, secured her the title. Im delighted, said Pearn who will now work for Richard Woollacott having finished her studies at Cirencester. We were a bit unsure of whether to run him today but in the end he was always going well.
A three hour journey from Ledbury paid off for trainer John Taylor and owner Brian Parsons after Alexander Musical won the restricted race ridden by Geoff Barfoot-Saunt.
We came here last year and finished second, explained Taylor who added, Hes only just come into himself. Weve had him three years and we quite fancied him today. He was unlucky on his last run when Geoff went one way and he went the other.
North Cotswold qualified Fifty Yearson made virtually all the running to win the mens open under Nick Slatter with odds-on favourite Wantage Road, ridden by Jake Greenall, finishing tens lengths back in third.
Another horse who remained at the head of affairs throughout the race was Secret Glen who took the ladies open under Polly Gundry.
Ollie Greenall is now one short of a century, scoring his 99th winner on the David Easterby-trained Intense Suspense a long odds on shot who easily won the intermediate race. Greenall will now forge a new career in the professional ranks.
Quantocks Lastbrat took the final race of the 2008-2009 season when winning the maiden under Mark Wall and giving Georgina Langley her first ever winner as a trainer in the process.
Langley, an equine sports masseuse, broke in the ten-year-old, the last offspring out of Quantock Superbrat, and now hopes to train more horses in the future.