Spooners and West Dartmoor
A huge crowd enjoyed warm sunshine and competitive racing at Cherry Brook, Tavistock, where a total of 66 runners contested the eight races.
John Pearn's Deloughtane just got the better of Master John in a tight finish to the Mixed Open. Alice Pearn was partnering her second winner of the season on her father's game 11-year-old by Dr Massini, described by connections as: "so genuine and got the ground he needs today."
Richard Woollacott rode Master John for the Ed Walker yard, and actually trains the winner for the Pearn family. The champion jockey narrowly missed out on a treble on the day, having scored on Deimne and Turning Tide to take his total for this season to 11.
Turning Tide came through on the inside on the final bend to deny Southway Queen in the Exeter racecourse Intermediate. Owned by Charlie Stanley and trained by Sam Holdsworth at Modbury, Turning Tide was following up his Wadebridge Restricted win.
Despite starting long odds-on, Deimne only just prevailed over Theicecreamfellow in the Members'. Woollacott had to get serious with his mount in the closing stages and reported afterwards that, "she is a tough mare and I didn't want to give the others too much of a lead". Pauline Geering had saddled Deimne to complete a local hunt race double for the Lydford stable, following The Boss Roche's success in the Lamerton Members' at the adjacent Kilworthy course two weeks previously.
This time The Boss Roche failed to make the frame in the Confined, which went to the game eight-year-old mare My Nicole. Josh Guerriero's mount duelled with Stoneraker until drawing clear on the flat to score by four lengths for the Stormy Ladies' Partnership.
Lizzie Kelly maintained her lead for the National Lady Novice Riders' title when her mother's exciting prospect Wayward Frolic gave the 17-year-old her seventh winner of this campaign in the Restricted. "He has had enough now for a backward five-year-old and will go under rules eventually," said Lizzie's mother Jane, who owns and trains the gelding.
Young jockeys Ed Barrett and Micheal Nolan are also going great guns for the West country, and a winner apiece for them on Sunday leaves them sharing the lead for the National Male Novice Riders' championship with James Ridley, all on the seven winner mark. Tis Only Drizzle was making only his second racecourse appearance with Barrett conjuring a strong late burst out of the tiny five-year-old to snatch his Maiden on the line in a head bobbing finish with Bradley Brook and Minireturn. Five-year-old Tis Only Drizzle is trained for his owner/breeder Ross Oliver by Ed Walker.
Peter Bugler's Irish Airman gave Micheal Nolan his winner when holding off the fast finishing Tamatown (Jo Buck) in the faster of the Maiden divisions. The six-year-old was bought by Chris Popham last May at Cheltenham sales after showing some promise in bumpers for Paul Nicholls, and is trained by his wife Sue.
There was a shock in the other division when 33-1 outsider Nick's Power caught runner up Loucatmi at the final jump before drawing clear on the flat. "I thought about pulling up at the top of the hill but he took off after the third last," said rider Jo Buck about her fast finishing mount. Jo was deputising for the injured Lucy Gardner. "We got him as a two-year-old in Ireland," recalled Lucy, who owns and trains the Luso five-year-old. The winner had been pulled up on his three previous runs which prompted her to reveal at a subsequent stewards' inquiry that his improved form could be attributed to the better ground.