Spooners and West Dartmoor
THE exciting three way battle for this season’s National Men’s Championship may have been decided at the two meetings in Devon last weekend.
Although there is still one meeting left – the Torrington Farmers at Umberleigh this coming Saturday (June 12th) – Richard Woollacott’s winning spree at both Cherrybrook and Bratton Down last weekend has left him with a cushion of two wins over 19- year-old Welshman John Mathias, and he now has four in hand over Jake Greenall.
All three of the top riders pulled out all the stops to maximise their efforts to take the Men’s title. Woollacott’s Cherrybrook stint on Saturday yielded three winners from his five rides. Oscatello and Deimne both turned in impressive performances, and this double was supplemented by a walk over for Portway Lane in the Intermediate. Kavegirl was made favourite to add to the Devon rider’s tally in the maiden, but Lisa Jefford’s six-year-old Golden Benefit (Jo Buck) ran on strongly to hold Kavegirl’s challenge. The winner is trained by Leslie Jefford for his wife Lisa. “We bought her at Ascot as a three-year-old and she is actually in foal to Apple Tree”, reported the trainer.
Although watering had taken place, the Cherrybrook going was still on the firm side for a meeting postponed from Easter Saturday. This led to a scarcity of runners, with the Restricted attracting the largest field of the day of seven. In a desperate finish, Global Party held on by a short head to thwart the late effort of Sosueme Now. Tom Chanin was partnering his fifth winner of the season on Global Party. “He is coming back from a virus which has affected us all season”, said Dennis Turner, who trains the eight-year-old for his wife Marion.
Jimmy Cole’s yard has been similarly afflicted, but Dutch Bill, whom Cole trains for Rob White, was able to reverse last year’s Hunt race defeat by Dante’s Back in the hands of his trainer, who treated the crowd to his customary whip waving salute passing the post.
Over in Wales on the same afternoon, Richard Woollacott’s closest title challenger John Mathias also completed a treble at the Pembrokeshire meeting, and at the Grafton evening meeting, Jake Greenall managed one winner and two falls as he tried to close the gap with the Devon & Cornwall champion.