DESPITE a biting wind whipping across the showground, the North Cornwall attracted plenty of support from a decent crowd and race cards sold out.
Robert Chanin introduced a useful recruit to English pointing in the shape of nine-year-old Sweet My Lord who took the Confined without much fuss under Tom Chanin.
Robert said, "We looked for a horse all summer and got this horse through an Irish agent out of Willie Mullins' yard. He was bought unseen and came to us in July. Plenty of other English trainers were interested but we did the deal and he is now owned by Tony and Eileen Worth. He is Tony's first horse and we think a lot of him."
I am not surprised because he scored five times over jumps in Ireland and was rated 134 after his last run at Cork shortly before he was bought. He looks a natural for sub- 3 miles hunter chases.
Sweet My Lord was completing a double for the Thorverton, Devon trainer initiated by Wadebridge specialist Byerley Bear in the Ladies' Open. Despite losing her whip at the first fence, Leanda Tickle managed to fight off the spirited challenge of Jo Buck on the formerly useful chaser Dan Breen who chased the winner all the way up the finishing straight.
Owned by Roger Knowles, the big chestnut Byerley Bear is virtually unbeatable on the showground where he was scoring for the seventh time. "He is entered for the Silverton at Black Forest next Sunday," reported the owner.
It was also a case of horses for courses for Raffa, who had won his Intermediate at this track last month and successfully upgraded to Open status under regular pilot John Mathias. This tough little gelding looked to have the measure of the favourite Babeny Bridge when the latter almost slithered to the ground at the penultimate, and then readily held the staying on Hameldown Tor on the gruelling climb to the judge.
A very consistent home bred gelding by Milan, the eight-year-old is trained at Pontispool, Norton Fitzwarren by Richard (Ces) Mitford-Slade, who owns him jointly with Lucy Fielding-Johnson. "He was as fat as a barrel when he came in from summer grass on 9th August last year. Apart from going round the farm we take him to various places including the gallops at Spaxton, West Buckland and to Philip Hobbs's gallops near Washford. I am a bit big to ride him and Katy Bellamy does a lot of the work," commented the trainer.
Hameldown Tor's half sister Desert Queen also obviously relishes Wadebridge and followed up her recent Maiden win there by beating nine opponents in the Restricted. "She was a bit keen over the first two so I just let her bowl along," said winning jockey Michael Legg. This could be an under statement because the seven-year-old mare from the Dubacilla family was always firmly in command and never looked like being caught. Although she is for sale, Cricket St Thomas trainer Ben Clarke, assistant trainer to Anthony Honeyball, nominated possible targets including a Warwick mares bumper or a mares hurdle.
Joe Drinkwater rode his fifth career winner when Working Title, who again looked outstanding in the parade ring, made all the running in the Novice Riders' event. "He has now won three times here and could come back next month," said Joe Drinkwater who trains the gelding.
Popular local farrier Ryan Chapman partnered his first winner on Benny's Quest in the hunt race. Bought privately out of Neil Mulholland's yard, the winner was more of a two miles horse under rules. "We hoped he would stay. He is a cracking hunter," said Ryan's father Reuben who has five pointers in their yard at St Columb Major just a few miles from the course.
Now 30 years old, Ryan first rode in points at 16. "I got too big and with the farrier job and had a long break from race riding until a couple of years ago," explained the tall Cornishman.
Le Clo De La Londe was an easy winner of the first Maiden under Jamie Thomas. "He was bought via agent JD Moore at the Aquana sales in France in July and shown as for sale at our open day. He is now owned by John and Sonia Gardener and jumps awesome," exclaimed trainer Kayley Woollacott.
The other Maiden division went to the King's Theatre seven-year-old Sonoftheking who was driven clear on the flat by Darren Edwards to beat the favourite Sisterbrooke, "I thought he needed the race," reported trainer Nicky Martin. "We got him from Philip Hobbs where he was placed over hurdles but he had a setback with twisted gut and couldn't run last year. He might go back under rules," added Nicky.