THE worst of the rain relented during the afternoon but there was no respite from the near gale force wind at Great Trethew, where the six bookmakers present operated from the cosy shelter of a small marquee.
The strength of the wind had caused problems before the first race in which the last fence on the uphill section had to be omitted when it proved impossible to get the wings erected. Fortunately jockeys reported no adverse effects from the gusty wind in this two and a half miles Maiden won by Jimmy Frost's four-year-old Arty Bella. Bryony Frost was content to bide her time on the filly, who shook off another previously un-raced youngster in Applesolutely. " My brother Hadden bought her at Ascot last June unbroken. Her grandam was Colonial Princess who won point-to-points. I have done a lot of work on her. She didn't make a mistake today and I can't fault her guts," reported the 19-year-old jockey.
Two progressive young pointers fought out the finish of the Mixed Open. The favourite Blazing Whale was struggling from the top of the hill as seven-year-olds Welstonedruid and Whenharrymetsally dominated the closing stages. It was the Robert Chanin trained Welstonedruid who saw the trip out best after his main rival blundered her chance away at the last. "This is his first Open win. He just keeps galloping and will stay four miles," said the Thorverton trainer, intimating that Upcott Cross or Flete Park could be next on the agenda. The gelding was something of a chance ride for Tom Chanin, whose brother Ian normally has the ride. "I am just standing in for Ian today because he has gone to the Cotley," said the winning rider.
Matt Hampton had to settle for second best on Whenharrymetsally, but reached the winner's enclosure in the Intermediate thanks to Blinding Lights. "He is not a speed horse but stays and we will probably go for the Exeter Racecourse Final," remarked the winner's owner/trainer Mary Sanderson.
The Open Maiden for four to seven-year-olds attracted 12 runners and went to a previously un-raced youngster in six-year-old Cailleach Annie. The winner drew clear at the last jump as her main pursuer Brandy and Red got tired. "I got her from Jay Leahy in Cork as a three-year-old but she is big and has taken time to come to herself. She is a half sister to Fear Glic who won over hurdles for me," explained owner/trainer Jackie Du Plessis. The winner was ridden by 19-year-old David Noonan who is based with David Pipe. "I have now had six point-to-point winners and two under rules said the Irish born jockey.
Although based in Dorset with Anthony Honeyball, Harry Cobden is currently in a narrow lead (from David Noonan) for this year's Devon & Cornwall male novice riders' title. The 16-year-old reinforced his lead with a facile victory on Rachael Green's grey Silver Token in the PPORA Novice Riders' contest.
Another novice rider on the score sheet was Jake Bament who took his career total to five when Great Camanoe just outstayed Theatre Goer to win the Restricted. "He was on and off the bridle but battled on well for me," said the 18-year-old jockey who works for Harry Fry. Great Camanoe, who was repeating his course win three weeks ago, is owned and trained by Rebecca Welch. " Another by Morpeth and he is home bred from a tiny un-raced Rakaposhi King mare bred by my late father," explained Rebecca.