South Devon Hunts Club
CHAMPIONSHIP contenders Will Biddick and Philip York had a busy afternoon on the well watered ground at Ideford Arch as they attempted to peg back Richard Burton's lead in the title race.
Biddick scored twice to take his total to 29, and a last race victory for York saw him edge into second place in the table with 30 winners, just three behind the leader at this stage of the Bank Holiday weekend.
Biddick had to be at his strongest to persuade the blinkered King's Wood to take the Mixed Open. Front running Rustic John was pressed by Philip York's mount Most Definitely at the final ditch, but ten-year-old King's Wood is a renowned stayer and gradually wore down his opponents thanks to his rider's cajolings from the final open ditch.
In contrast, Biddick was always travelling smoothly on Hereweareagain before easing to a six lengths success over Dawn Display (Philip York) in the Intermediate. "We normally stick with the same jockeys and Tom Chanin won on him at Flete, but had to go to a wedding today so we got Will Biddick," said trainer Mandy Hand who owns the eight-year-old together with her husband Reg.
The two and a half miles Maiden saw Philip York in the runner-up spot again when Qomolangma was well held by One Idea who got Josh Guerriero off the 13-winner mark this term. Although he has been blind in his off side eye since an accident as a foal, the six-year-old jumped very proficiently on his third racecourse appearance. He is owned by Andrew and Trudy Hawkins and trained on Exmoor as, "a family job". He had been partnered on his racecourse debut at Great Trethew in February by their son Richard, just weeks before the jockey was seriously injured in a fall at Taunton. It was nice to hear from Andrew that after nearly seven weeks in hospital Richard has, "shown a huge improvement recently."
Philip York finally gained reward for his long journey with a comfortable success on Benefit Time in the Maiden. Ellies's Prince raced clear of the eight strong field until stumbling badly and unseating David Prichard at the 13th fence, but Benefit Time was well in command in the final stages despite a slipping saddle. The winner is owned and trained by Gordon Chambers and was acquired as a gift horse. "He is a windsucker, a crib biter and had sarcoids so nobody wanted him. A lady called Mary Murphy, from a stud in Ireland let me have him."
17-year-old Keiron Edgar rode his first ever winner when Bold Perk just got the better of odds-on favourite Quizzling in a tight finish for the Novice Riders' contest. Liskeard based Eddie Rice owns and trains Bold Perk, having bought him in Ireland last autumn. His young rider was born at Hawick in Scotland and rode a few pony racing winners north of the border. He has been with the David Pipe yard since leaving school.
The Sam Holdsworth trained outsider of three Turning Tide stayed on well to win the Club Members' race under Richard Woollacott at the expense of Here's Johny and odds-on favourite Strong Weld. "He loves fast ground and won his Maiden on this course last year," said owner Charlie Stanley who runs a carpet business in Plymouth.