GRANVILLE TAYLOR REPORTS:
The dry spell, coupled with a proliferation of racing around two successive weeks of bank holiday fixtures continues to affect the number of runners, and make life difficult for point-to-pointing. Clerk of the course Chris Holmes and his team had spent 100 hours watering the Stafford Cross track at a cost of some £3,000, but the meeting still faced a disappointing turnout.
Confined (J & FJ Baker & Co Ltd, Colyton)
Kilrogan (Richard Woollacott) made most of the running, but had no answer when Cappoquin sailed past three fences from home. Jack Barber had to keep Cappoquin up to his work in the home straight, but the consistent seven-year-old kept on well for his 19-year-old rider. Jack was riding his fourth winner of the season and took his career tally to 20.
Mixed Open (Axminster Carpets Ltd)
Cappoquin turned out again 35 minutes later, this time in a walkover with Will Biddick on board, as none of the other eight Open entries had been declared. “Nobody wants a void race and I have given the prize money back to the Axe Vale hunt,” said Cappoquin’s owner/trainer Richard Barber.
Intermediate (Matford Land Rover)
Only two competed for this and 4-7 favourite Fredwal (Will Biddick) was left solo when Ball Hopper (Matt Hampton) departed at the 15th tell us much, but Fredwal had beaten a subsequent winner at Larkhill last month and is still improving.
Novice Riders’ (Lentells Chartered Accountants)
There was a lot of money in the ring for the Welsh challenger Pelennor, but it was the prolific Barney’s Mate who started favourite at 11-10. Pelennor was closely tracked by Barney’s Mate throughout, but just as the race was taking shape, the favourite’s 16-year-old rider Harry Derham found himself with no room to manoeuvre at the 14th fence and was squeezed out through the edge of the wing. This left the Welsh horse clear, but he hung badly left on the long run-in, and that grand old campaigner Preacher Boy nailed him on the line. Preacher Boy once finished third in the Hennessy Gold Cup and was well ridden here by 19-year-old Philip Prince.
Restricted (Martin Diplock)
Will Biddick completed his treble on Flanshan, who became Richard Barber’s fourth winner of the afternoon and the 32nd point-to-point winner of the season for the Seaborough yard. Seven-year-old Flanshan was left clear when Irish Airman fell at the 14th fence when lying a close second.
Open Maiden (Everys Solicitors)
The four runners crawled early on with no jockey keen to make the running. In the end it was ladies’ first, as Suzy Berry and Madam Zola found themselves in front. Suzy, who also trains the mare for owner Steve Williams, had the last laugh because her tiny mount kept finding a bit more in the closing stages. They eventually saw off the challenge of 7-4 favourite Cativo by five lengths.
Hunt race (Beviss & Beckingsale Solicitors)
The long odds-on favourite Doof landed the race under Jo Buck, but only after a battle with Obamarama. Ed Barrett sent Obamarama past Doof at the end of the back straight, but Jo Buck’s mount rallied gamely between the last two fences and asserted inside the final 50 yards. “He doesn’t mind quick ground and we may look for a hunter chase before the end of the season,” said trainer Leslie Jefford.
AXE VALE RESULTS
1 Doof (Miss J Buck); 2 Obamarama (E Barrett); 4 ran; only two finished; 1 1/2l;
1 Cappoquin (J Barber); 2 Kilrogan (R Woollacott); 3 Freedomofthecity (M Hampton); 5 ran; 15l; 3l; 6m 0s
1 Cappoquin (W Biddick) walked over
1 Fredwal (W Biddick); 2 ran; finished alone; 6m 2s
1 Preacher Boy (P Prince); 2 Pelennor (B Gibbs); 3 Dusty Bandit (M Hampton); 4 ran; 1/2l; dist; 5m 55s
1 Flanshan (W Biddick); 2 Not A Doctor (E Barrett); 3 Webbery’s Dream (R Woollacott); 8 ran; 2l; dist; 5m 54s
1 Madam Zola (Miss S Berry); 2 Cativo (I Chanin); 3 All Four Paws (Miss J Carr); 4 ran; 5l; dist; 6m 29s