GRANVILLE TAYLOR REVIEWS
It was a memorable day for two promising young lady jockeys at Treborough Hill with Bryony Frost and Natalie Parker each achieving their first winners. Richard Woollacott has over 200 winners in his CV, but his four-timer would have been just as important to him after a wretched start to this season through injury. The racing surface drew much praise and wall to wall sunshine replaced the early mist.
Mixed Open, 4 miles; (Dunster Heat Ltd)
Eleven faced the starter for the first four miles staying test in the area this season. King’s Wood was the punters choice with his proven stamina , but there was good support for King of the Road who ran a personal best over an extended four miles at Cheltenham last May. Matt Hampton soon had King of the Road in front with Cowboyboots and Ice Tea prominent. Richard Woollacott eased Thirtytwo Red into the lead racing into the home straight, and never looked like being caught despite a late flourish from Mister Moonax who ran on strongly under young Hannah Hawkins. Now 11-years-old, Thirtytwo Red is the only pointer in training with Guy Weatherley at Tiverton and started at 20-1. Guy rode this gelding to his first three pointing victories but gave up race riding four years ago. The dice has not rolled in favour of Thirtytwo Red for the past couple of seasons and it was good to see him return to form in a race which took nearly ten minutes.
Confined (Fallen Stock Company)
Richard Woollacott made the worst possible start to the season with his fall at Black Forest Lodge which left him sidelined for nearly three months. His comeback to the saddle at Buckfastleigh last month was a prelude to three blank weeks, but he hit sparkling form at Treborough Hill on Sunday (March 11th) by riding four winners and training three of them. His winner here was the progressive Deb’s Dasher who is steadily climbing the ladder and defied his 6lbs penalty with ease. Dandooley stayed on late to finish second with long time leader Tallow Bridge in third. “Some of our horses have been coughing a bit,” said Richard, adding: “this horse would be better with firmer ground.” In my book he is potentially an open horse.
Intermediate (Exeter Racecourse)
Kirkleigh was a shade of odds-on to complete his seasonal hat trick after wins at Chipley and Great Trethew. In the end he was just touched off by Richard Woollacott’s mount Allerford Jack. Kirkleigh (Tom Chanin) went on five out but had pulled hard and did not jump fluently in the home straight. He had to give best to Allerford Jack on the run-in. “Allerford Jack needs to be switched off to make sure he stays,” said Woollacott of his winner. He also trains the gelding for a small syndicate.
Open Maiden (Winston Pincombe LandRovers)
Richard Woollacott capped a memorable day by riding his fourth winner of the day here on the previously unraced Midnight Whisper. The six-year-old showed in front rounding the final bend and stayed on strongly over the line of four fences in the straight. “I didn’t really want to be in front so early but he jumped magic and will stay forever,” said the elated rider/trainer. The strong topped gelding by Midnight Legend is out of Spread The Word, who won four point-to-points and a handicap chase for Pam Pengelly.
Open Maiden 4 to 7-year-olds only, 2m 4f (Great Bradley Estate, Withypool)
Bryony Frost is just embarking on her career and the former pony racing champion partnered her first winner over jumps on Top Green, who ran on well to beat Palfrey Boy and Ellvis. The Frost family need little introduction, and Bryony, who turns 17 next month looks like upholding the family tradition. “He was always going well and I didn’t want to get there too early,” said the delighted youngster. Five-year-old Top Green was placed in cross country races in France before joining the Nikki Frost yard. “Jamie Thomas did a good job with him in his first two points and he will be better on good ground,” said owner Jimmy Frost.
Restricted (A1 Gates & Securities)
It was a good day for youth as well as experience and Dashing John provided 19-year-old Natalie Parker with her first winner in quite a competitive looking event. Mister Trigger held the advantage down the back straight, but was overhauled by Dashing John approaching four out. The winner kept up a relentless gallop up the home straight and extended his advantage to 10 lengths on reaching the judge. This was another family success since Dashing John is owned by the rider’s mother Tracy and trained by her father Kevin at Bilbrook, just three miles from the course. “I work for Philip Hobbs and originally rode out there when I was 13,” said Natalie, who does Colour Squadron at the Hobbs yard and was looking forward to accompanying him to the festival.
Hunt race (Yeo Barton Bloodstock)
Delta Borget was always travelling well and got the better of Prince De Bersy after jumping the third last to win comfortably. Leanda Tickle was riding her fourth winner of the season on the Leslie Jefford trained gelding which gave her the lead for the National Novice Riders’title. Leslie described his winner as, “very genuine and very uncomplicated,”