HRH The Princess Royal was in attendance at the Exmoor Foxhounds at sun drenched Bratton Down on Saturday to see her home bred mare Dhu Loch in action in the Restricted. Ridden by Tom David, the royal runner was prominent for two miles, but faded out of contention as Slipawayon just held Forgive The Past in a tight finish. Slipawayon, owned by Geoffrey and Kate Brown, and trained by Keith Cumings at Bishops Nympton, was ridden by Will Biddick, who had been on the sidelines for a week with an injured back. Slipawayon ran on strongly to deny the Amanda Bush ridden Forgive The Past, but is still quite weak behind and would have liked the ground a bit softer, according to his trainer. Tessa Hayes was airlifted to Barnstaple Hospital for further observation after a fall from All Atremble at the first open ditch in this race.
On going described as perfect, Whizzaar and Tonic du Charmil battled stride for stride from the second last in a classy Mens Open, with Whizzaar eventually prevailing by a neck. I had to switch him about a bit and he was not good round the bends, reported winning jockey Richard Woollacott who thinks that his mount would be much happier going right handed. Darren Edwards was convinced that his mount Tonic du Charmil would have won but for some indifferent jumping. I lost an iron when he blundered at the fourth, and he also hit several other fences, said the rider of the runner up. Whatever the outcome, this was one of the races of the season with two useful pointers giving everything they had.
Richard Woollacott was partnering his 21st winner of the season on Whizzaar and is heading for yet another Devon & Cornwall area title. Polly Gundry is also in an unassailable position for both the National and Devon & Cornwall Ladies award, and she was in the winners enclosure when the six-year-old mare Carrie On upgraded to Intermediate class to maintain her unbeaten record for the season. Jumping well and staying on strongly, Carrie On drew right away from her seven rivals to win as she pleased. She is a lovely mare and will learn from that since these fences are bigger than Flete, said the rider, alluding to the young mares two previous victories this term at Flete Park.
Jo Buck successfully deputised for the injured Mandy Hand for the second time in six days when Dantes Back easily beat his two rivals to win the Ladies Open, and 22 year old Alice Pearn also kept up her good form by following up her Treborough Hill winner with a 15 lengths victory on King Georges in the Members.
Lady riders also dominated the first Open Maiden where the six-year-old Formby (Amanda Bush) just outstayed Lizzie Kellys mount Kalamazoo. Formby is owned by a quintet of Amandas friends who go by the name of The Husseys Hustlers Club and is trained by her mother Ollie Bush. The group includes a vet, an air stewardess and a personal trainer but none of them are here today, said Amanda, who had already occupied the runner up spot on two occasions earlier in the afternoon. I bought Formby privately from Trevor Hemmings, and we more or less re-schooled him from scratch, added the 30 year old jockey, who was partnering her second winner of the season.
Artic Omen was a deserving winner of the second section of the Maiden. The eight-year-old had been runner up six times in the past, and jockey Sam Allwood was in no mood to add to that record. Artic Omen forged clear of runner up Curly Quinn from the penultimate and was in no danger of defeat despite idling on the long final climb. Artic Omen was a gift horse to the Exford based Branton family, and is now owned by husband and wife Dennis and Jeanette and their daughters Jessica and Rebecca. Jeanette is listed as the trainer, but all the family contribute in some ways.
Open Maiden Div 1
1 Artic Omen (Sam Allwood)
2 Curly Quinn (Matt Griffiths)
3 Lurid Affair (Darren Edwards)
13 ran; 4l; 8l; 6m 15s