The Easter storms claimed the Four Burrow fixture at Trebudannon on Easter Monday, but Saturday's East Cornwall meeting at Great Trethew just beat the worst of the weather.
It was not all plain sailing at Great Trethew. A strong, blustery wind, rain and hail, with portable toilets blowing over in a quagmire tested the most ardent of point-to-point enthusiasts. Ironically a watery sun made a brief appearance at the Cornish track for the last two of the nine races.
Two young local riders rode their first winners. 17-year-old Barnaby Treneer made all the running on his mother's five-year-old grey Syracuse's Dream to win a section of the divided Open Maiden. Barnaby is taking A-levels at Eton College and has progressed from partnering three winners on the pony racing circuit.
By coincidence Thomasina Eyston, after three pony race successes, also clocked up her first point-to-point winner on her first ride in this sphere. Thomasina, a student at Plymouth College, qualified for riding in points only three days before the race when she reached her 16th birthday. Her mount in the Novice Riders' race, Ladyvie, just outstayed Coombe Hill and Millie Wonnacott.
At the other end of the experience scale, four times champion jockey Will Biddick is again running away with this year's National title, notching his 25th winner of the season when Blazing Whale bravely shouldered a 9 lbs penalty in the Mixed Open. Biddick sent his mount to the front after the fourth last and had the race in safe keeping when nearest pursuer Master Baker fell at the last.
Blazing Whale is trained by Ed Walker at Ottery St Mary. The same yard sent out L'Ane Fou carrying the champion jockey to finish second to the mare Parlour Maid (Rob Hawker) in one of the Open Maiden divisions run in atrocious conditions.
Darren Edwards took his seasonal tally into double figures on his family owned mare Shanann Star in the concluding Members' Conditions event. By the time this race was run, most of the crowd and all of the bookmakers had gone home meaning the race took place without any betting.
It had however proved a frustrating afternoon for Darren Edwards, who looks set to retain his Devon & Cornwall title this season He had ridden three seconds during the afternoon prior to Shanann Star's success. Horwood Lad chased home Syracuse's Dream in a Maiden division before the well backed Rockinrolldixie just failed to cope with Martin McIntyre's mount Our Chief in the older horses Maiden. "I got a nice run down the inside on the best of the ground. This track suited him," reported the winning rider of the seven-year-old trained by Teresa Clark.
Sonoftheking was another near miss for Edwards. This time the rider had to perform a balancing act when his mount clouted the final fence, allowing Devon General (Matt
Hampton) to get his head in front on the climb to the post. The winner is trained by Kayley Woollacott for owners Ruth and John Burrow. "He had a wind op last summer and would really prefer dry ground," said the trainer.
Whatastormnorm is a consistent young stayer and dug deep under Tom Chanin to get the better of Mountain Cliché after a good battle in the Restricted. "He is now qualified for the Subaru Final at Stratford and we might try that," remarked trainer Robert Chanin.
After his success on Parlour Maid, Rob Hawker's chance of a double were dashed early in the Hunt Race. His mount The Conjurer cocked his jaw and downed tools after the third fence. This allowed Lundy Sky to stroll home alone after Ginger Lass had fallen at the 15th fence. 21-year-old Joe Morris, who works for Kim Bailey, was enjoying his first point-to-point winner. "He rode his other winner on the flat also on one of my horses," related owner Norman Carter, whose ex-hurdler Lundy Sky is trained by Lizzie Luxton.