MOUNSEY HILL GATE
Saturday 27th May 2006
by Lucy Johnson
WATCHYOURBACK went to the head of the championship leader board, where he shares first place with the south-west’s own Sandy Duff, after clocking up his seventh success of the season at Mounsey Hill Gate on Saturday.The well-travelled 12-year-old, who had won at the North West Point-to-Point Club two weeks previously, headed to Exmoor, where incessant rain did little to dampen spirits, to continue his winning sequence and won easily with his regular partner Claire Allen on board. The gelding was bought by his current owner Mark Trott for a song in 2002 and the horse is leased by Claire and trainer Dick Baimbridge.
Darren Edwards good rapport with Maximise – the pair won the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Handicap Chase at the Cheltenham Festival in 2004 – was in evidence when they scored a comfortable victory in the men’s open. Teddy Boy had started the odds on favourite following his mixed open success at the Minehead Harriers meeting a couple of weeks ago but Maximize, who is owned and trained by Edwards, loved the rain-softened going to win well.
Another thoroughly impressive performance game from General Blackthorn who relished the going and won the intermediate in the manner of a horse who looks certain to progress to open class next season. Norman Crouch’s gelding was again partnered by Robert Lee who won his first ever race on the gelding at Larkhill in April.
Rob Skinner, whose Fox and Hounds pub at Eggesford traditionally hosts the end of season party following the Torrington Farmers point-to-point in June, watched his own Fordham Glory, trained by Linda Blackford, score a 20-1 success in the restricted under Will Biddick.
Neil Harris’ grip on the Devon and Cornwall area title tightened following his win on Roy Smith’s Velvet Victory in the first maiden while the second went to Graham Brown’s Heritage Castle, ridden and trained by James Young.
Former champion Ashley Farrant trained the winner of the opening members’ race with his owner Ben Robarts on board.
Members: 1 JUST SALLY, B. Robarts, 1-5F
Ladies Open: 1 WATCHYOURBACK (NZ), Miss C. Allen, EvensF;
2 DEAR DEAL, Miss C. Atkinson, 12-1; 3 ATAVISTIC (IRE), Miss R. Booth, 9-1
Men’s Open: 1 MAXIMIZE (IRE), D. Edwards, 11-4; 2 TEDDY BOY, R. Woollacott, 10-11F; 3 DIDIFON, B. Wright, 50-1
Intermediate: 1 GENERAL BLACKTHORN, R. Lee, 8-11F; 2 NICKIT (IRE), J. Barnes, 12-1
Restricted: 1 FORDHAM GLORY, W. Biddick, 20-1; 2 CATTLE CLASS, R. Woollacott, 5-1; 3 JAFARO DES BOIS (FR), D. Edwards, 4-1
Maiden Division I: 1 VELVET VICTORY (IRE), N. Harris, 12-1; 2 CHASING KATIE, C. Hughes, 40-1; 3 MERLOTS MYSTERY (IRE), J. Young, 10-1
Maiden Division II: 1 HERITAGE CASTLE, J. Young, 11-4F; 2 SIR HARRY HALL (IRE), J. Cole, 9-2; 3 FENNY LILY, M. Sweetland, 25-1