Dart Vale & Haldon Harriers
VINTAGE CLASS was an impressive winner of the £1,000 Westcountry Champion Chase at Buckfastleigh. This progressive eight-year-old started odds-on favourite and justified his support by beating Holly Walk and Jean's Joy in good style. Owned by Dorset based Bill Dupont, Vintage Class was ridden by his trainer Michael Miller, who always had his mount poised just behind the leaders until taking over from Holly Walk jumping the second last.
"He really needs cut in the ground and we may go for the Novice Hunter chase at Exeter on April 5th if the ground is soft enough," said the owner.
The connections of Connolly's Red Mills Intermediate winner Drom are also looking towards Hunter Chase honours with the final of this series at Cheltenham in their sights. The eight-year-old made all the running to beat Benedictus and Cappoquin. Drom is owned by a small syndicate headed by Mark Hingley and David Doolittle, and is trained at Bromyard in Worcestershire by Paul Davies. Drom's success kicked off a remarkable weekend for his Welsh jockey John Mathias, who went on to ride six winners at the Tivyside fixture on the following day to snatch the lead in the jockeys' championship.
Will Biddick kept himself well in contention for the jockeys' title when the exciting prospect Curtain Razer took the Restricted. Biddick was always travelling well on the five-year-old, but had to work hard to shake off Wayward Frolic and Lizzie Kelly. "He will probably have another point-to-point, but his future lies under rules," said owner Graham Roach.
Biddick's success on Curtain Razer left him on the 14-winner mark for the season, and he went close to adding to that when The Accordionist just failed to peg back Valoroso in the first Maiden. The winner led from the 16th fence here to provide Ian Chanin with his eighth winner of the season. Valoroso is trained for his owner/breeder Audrey Goodwin by Ed Walker who said: "we will turn him away if the ground dries up, he is a nice prospect for next year."
Tans Hill was another six-year-old to catch the eye in winning the other Maiden division. Joe Tickle sent his mount to the front down the back straight and resisted the challenges of Tamatown and the strong finishing Therestanbthankful. Tans Hill, who is owned and trained by Jill Dennis at Bude, was making his second racecourse appearance after a promising debut at Great Trethew.
13-year-old Quizzling seems to have taken on a new lease of life this year, and won for the third consecutive time when holding Mistified in the Confined Novice Riders' event. The Christine Gray trained gelding has struck up a good relationship with 21-year-old Irish born Micheal Nolan who was partnering his fourth winner of the season.
Robert Chanin saddled Aryshvic to win the Hunt race, this time Tom Chanin had the mount. The seven-year-old mare, who made all the running, is owned by Trevor and Carrie Marks and their daughter Amanda Burden. The colours carried by Aryshvic will always be associated with Stanwick Lad, who won 42 races for the Marks family twenty years or so ago, mainly in the Midlands.