DARREN EDWARDS was the jockey in form with a sparkling treble on an action packed nine-race card at the Silverton fixture at Black Forest Lodge.
The 30-year-old, whose day job as a chartered surveyor in Leicestershire means regular weekend commuting to the West Country for point-to-point rides, had started this weekend by riding a winner at Larkhill, and lost little time in adding to that success on Sunday.
Edwards paired up with rookie Ashburton, Devon, trainer Chris Honour to win the Men's Open with that wonderful veteran Coombe Hill.
Now 14-years-old, and with his point-to-point tally already in double figures, Coombe Hill hit the front on the final bend and just fended off the rallying Steeltown by a head.
The delighted trainer said, "I rode 75 winners under rules, including winners for Geoff Thompson who owns Coombe Hill. Geoff kindly sent him to me to train when Charlotte Tizzard gave up. He is a lovely old horse and is the first winner I have saddled with my first runner. I still ride out for Chris Down and Rod Millman, and I hope this is a stepping stone to a training career."
The first division of the Open Maiden had to be divided on the day, and once again a shrewd ride from Darren Edwards saw him steer six-year-old According To Harry into the winner's enclosure. This time the verdict was just a short head as The Bradley Partnership owned gelding was all out to hold Swingbridge. "We bought him in Ireland as a four-year-old and he was the last horse sired by Old Vic," remarked Nicky Martin.
According To Harry was also the first leg of a training double for Nicky Martin who followed up with another six-year-old Infamous Grouse in the same colours in the final Maiden race. "I am completely in shock," smiled the Exmoor trainer as the 12-1 winner completed the treble for Darren Edwards. She added, "He is a big horse by Oscar who has needed time. We bought him as a three-year-old at the Derby sales but he missed a piece of work recently and I didn't think he was quite fit enough."
Thorverton trainer Robert Chanin continued his successful run of form with a second double in seven days. This time, despite being headed at the third last, Leanda Tickle soon had matters under control in the Ladies' Open as Byerley Bear stretched clear off the home turn to record his hat trick for the season. "He was kicking and bucking round the field after his win last week but will have a little break now," reported the trainer.
Welstonedruid had set the ball rolling for the yard with a hard fought short head success in the Confined. Ian Chanin had the mount on this ever improving youngster, owned by Andrew and Sue Knox. "He is an out and out stayer and likes soft ground," commented the trainer, who expects the seven-year-old to step up into Open class.
The Restricted had to be divided on the day on a card which saw 93 runners turn out from a total of 128 entries. Despite continually jumping to the left, What About Will made all to win the first section, ridden by Vicky Wade in her father Keith's colours. "He was a bit unlucky last time at Larkhill when he met traffic problems but I thought he wanted better ground than this," reflected trainer Neil Harris.
The other section went to the progressive six-year-old Full Throttle, saddled by Barbury Castle handler Laura Thomas for her father Norman. 26-year-old Sam Painting, who rides out for the yard, had the mount on the sturdy chestnut, who was bought at Newbury sales after winning an Irish Maiden last March. "He failed the vet at the sales but I thought he was worth taking a chance with," said the owner.
Genermouse can only be described as gigantic and it was a fine training performance by Chloe Newman to have the Generous seven-year-old fit to score on his seasonal debut in his division of the Open Maiden. Home bred by Michael Dare, he was given a positive ride by Josh Newman at odds of 33-1. "He fractured a pelvis and also had a wind op as a five-year-old so we have had to be super patient with him," reported Woolminstone, Somerset, based Chloe.
It was pretty cold when the last race took place, but favourite backers went home on a high as Welsh challenger Repeat Business landed some good bets in impressive style under James Tudor.