ROBIN Pike’s progressive seven-year-old Rockwithacaveman scored his third successive victory of the season when taking the Mixed Open before a packed crowd in glorious spring sunshine at Kilworthy. The old turf on this popular track was riding on the fast side of good, and only Paddy the Piper (Mandy Hand) turned out to oppose the Polly Gundry ridden odds on favourite. After Rockwithacaveman had made the early running, his sole opponent drew alongside four out, and held a fractional lead at the last, before the favourite asserted up the final punishing hill. “It was a good growing up lesson for him”, remarked the winning rider who was partnering her 16th winner of the season.
TWELVE went to post for the Confined Maiden won in good style by the nine-year-old mare Miss Colmesnil, who outstayed Bonny Busona and Harpurs Girl. The winner was a first training success for Padstow based Steve Heard and is owned by his wife Judith. “I really bought her as a hunter at Ascot sales last November”, said the successful handler, who trains her on the beach at Padstow and on Bodmin Moor. Plymouth University student Joe Tickle gave the mare a positive ride. “I thought I had gone too early”, said the winning jockey who also spends time riding out for Polly Gundry and Becky Kennen.
Lee Rowe, who rode the Maiden runner up Bonny Busona, also had to settle for second place in the Exeter Racecourse Intermediate when his mount Dan Ryan was overhauled in the last few yards by the favourite King’s Wood. “He didn’t travel and didn’t jump,” said winning rider Darren Edwards afterwards. Owned by Laura Claydon, King’s Wood is trained at Bampton by Ashley Farrant who was saddling his fifth winner of the season.
There was an even closer outcome to the Confined with 15 year old veteran Handyman gaining a head verdict over Krac D’Argos. Ian Chanin had the hard pulling Krac D’Argos out in front from flag fall, but was denied in the very last stride by Handyman. 17 year old Giles Hawkins, who is based with Philip Hobbs, was landing his second pointing winner of the season to add to a Taunton hurdles success. Handyman, who was a gift horse a few years ago from the Hobbs yard to Hatherleigh based owner Michael Watson, was gaining his first win between the flags for three years. He said: “Despite his age he gives everything every time. He keeps reminding us how fresh and well he is when we attempt to retire him.”
Front running tactics paid off for Captain Machell who ran on gamely in the hands of Merv Woodward to land the Restricted. “He stays all day,” said the winning jockey. 11 year old Captain Machell, narrowly touched off in a similar event at Cothelstone just a week ago, is owned by Roger Oliver and trained by his daughter Emma at Hennock in the Teign Valley. Emma’s early season training was punctuated by her giving birth to a baby daughter 14 weeks ago.
The Boss Roche was a very easy winner of the Hunt race. Will Biddick’s mount strode up to runner up Toi Express on the bit approaching the final fence and soon drew away up the final hill. The winner is owned by Roger Knowles and Eileen Worth, and is trained by Pauline and Tony Geering. “We have been waiting for good ground,” commented Pauline, adding that the gelding is likely to be aimed at an Exeter hunter case early in April.RESULTS
Hunt Race: (Sponsor - Pannell Commercials)
Confined Maiden: (Andrew Jarman Racing)
Mixed Open: (Condy Mathias)
Confined: (West Devon Meat Ltd)
Restricted: (Tinhay Building Supplies Ltd)
Intermediate: (Exeter Racecourse)