LUCETTE ANNIE is fast becoming the star of Buckfastleigh and followed up her February course victory with another sparkling display to defy her 4lbs penalty in the Mixed Open. Darren Edwards had the Simon Partridge trained mare out in front all the way and she galloped on relentlessly in the heavy going to hold the useful youngster Indiana Bay by 12 lengths. “She may go for a hunter chase at Exeter in April depending on the ground,” said Chris Humphrey who owns the mare together with his wife Janet.
Jockey Darren Edwards had a busy afternoon and had followed up his last race success at Wadebridge 24 hours earlier when taking the first Maiden on Reliable Richie. This ex-Irish seven-year-old had caught the eye at Ottery and just held Ratline Rosie in a driving finish. Rueben Chapman has been a grand supporter of West country pointing and bought Reliable Richie out of the ring at Ascot sales last October.
Darren finished runner-up on Bradley Brook in the other Maiden section which went to the lightly raced Kudu Shine. Robbie Henderson brought Kudu Shine with a strong run going to the last, and Bradley Brook together with the well backed Wood Park were soon swept aside. Kudu Shine is trained by the in-form Kayley Jones on behalf of his owner Audrey Goodwin, who also bred the sturdy Karinga Bay gelding. It was quite a successful afternoon for Mrs Goodwin who also bred Lucette Annie.
Will Biddick continues to set a hot pace towards retaining his National title and followed up his Larkhill win on the previous day by taking the Intermediate on the rangy seven-year-old Ruapehu. “I had never sat on him before,” confided Biddick, who had the promising gelding handy throughout and had the race won when his nearest challenger Blazing Whale blundered at the last. Some of the horses’ names are beginning to make me wonder. I am told that Ruapehu is the name of a volcano in New Zealand.
Bryony Frost added another winner in her quest for leading novice rider with an authoritative win on Ross Oliver’s Fiulin in the Novice Riders race. Doof was sent off favourite to follow up his Ottery success, but Emma Greenslade did well to retain the partnership when her mount nearly fell at the 15th fence. Fiulin is a gelded son of Galileo and was bred for Epsom rather than Buckfastleigh. He once changed hands for 280,000 gns and has been round the block, including an effort behind Simonsig at last year’s Cheltenham festival and a run at Royal Ascot last summer when ridden by Richard Hughes. His next appearance is likely to be at Trebudannon on Easter Monday.
Uncle Keef is another former flat winner to come good at Buckfastleigh. The ex-Brendan Powell trained seven-year-old (this time a son of Saddlers Wells) strolled home in the Hunt race under Tom Chanin. Owner/trainer Deborah Treneer had the gelding in great shape and he looks a useful recruit to pointing. His 100,000gns price tag as a yearling was reduced to a bargain £700 when Tracey Brown had the nod on behalf of current connections at Ascot sales.
Tamatown has been a frustrating ride since winning his Maiden at Trebudannon two years ago. The Leslie Jefford trained gelding was in determined mood this time and stayed on powerfully to give 20-year-old Alistair Harvey his first win in the Restricted. “I needed to keep plugging away on him,” said the winning rider, whose family farm near Exeter airport. Alistair has had only had a handful of rides and is completing his second year at the Royal Agricultural College, Cirencester. He is the grandson of Tamatown’s owner Sue Trump.
The afternoon had started on a sad note when one minutes silence was observed in memory of Peter Wakeham who had passed away during the previous week. Peter has played a leading role in the Devon & Cornwall area point-to-point scene for over 50 years, including area chairman, course inspector, steward, owner and highly respected commentator. He was closely involved with Buckfastleigh races and it was fitting that one of the final tributes to him could be made at his favourite course.
Hunt Race (Mr John Bond in memory of his late wife)
1 Uncle Keef (Tom Chanin, 8-11fav); 2 Gontdevon (Ian Chanin, 5-1); 3 Pauillac (Ben Robarts, 2-1); 6 ran; 15l; 8l; 7m 19s
Open Maiden Division 1 (Winston Pincombe)
1 Reliable Richie (Darren Edwards, 6-1); 2 Ratline Rosie (Josh Newman, 16-1) ; 3 It’s a Long Road (Josh Guerriero, 11-8fav); 13 ran; short head; 3l; 7m 19s
Open Maiden Division 2 (Bartons Solicitors)
1 Kudu Shine (Robbie Henderson, 6-1); 2 Bradley Brook (Darren Edwards, 7-1); 3 Tallanstown Boy (Josh Guerriero, 5-2); 9 ran; 3l; 4l; 7m 24s
Mixed Open (Totnes & Bridgetown Races Company)
1 Lucette Annie (Darren Edwards, 10-11fav); 2 Indiana Bay (Josh Guerriero, 6-4); 3 Tres Bien (Josh Newman, 33-1); 5 ran; 12l; 18l; 7m 12s
Intermediate (Connolly’s Red Mills)
1 Ruapehu (Will Biddick, 2-1fav); 2 Blazing Whale (Ed Barrett), 3-1); 3 Lizzies Lass (Darren Edwards, 9-4); 6 ran; 4l; 12l; 7m 15s
Countryside Alliance Club Members’ Novice Riders’ (Luscombe Maye)
1 Fiulin (Bryony Frost, 2-1); 2 Doof (Emma Greenslade, 11-10fav); 3 Come What Augustus (Jake Bament, 3-1); 4 ran; 8l; 2l; 7m 35s
Restricted (AGL Accountants, Kingsbridge)
1 Tamatown (Alistair Harvey, 7-2); 2 Santiago Sun (Darren Edwards, 5-4fav); 3 Rocklyn (Sarah Pidsley, 12-1); 6 ran; 8l; 12l; 7m 28s