MERVYN WOODWARD doesn’t get as many opportunities as some, but the popular local jockey made the most of his two rides at Ottery St Mary with a fine double. “My first double since 2002,” said the rider.
Woodward was always travelling strongly on Double Bank who took command at the 15th fence in the Mixed Open, and was not hard pressed to hold Welsh challenger My Fella, despite a mistake at the final fence. The promising Indiana Bay was sent off odds-on favourite but parted company with Josh Guerriero at half way
Trained by Emma Oliver at Teign Valley, the ever improving Double Bank was winning his third race in five weeks, each time partnered by Merv Woodward.
Regal Rumpus had initiated the Devon rider’s double in the Hunt race. Making his seasonal debut, this normally hard pulling gelding made all to hold his stable companion Tamatown. This was a well received result, since the winner raced in the colours made famous by the late Oliver Carter’s horses, inherited by his granddaughter Anne.
Leslie Jefford saddled Regal Rumpus, and was back in the winner’s enclosure after the Novice Rider’s contest thanks to the evergreen Doof. This 13-year-old was taking his career winning tally into double figures, whilst providing a first success on her first ride for Emma Greenslade. When asked to sum up her feelings, 23-year-old Emma was still overcome with her achievement commenting, “I didn’t know what was going to happen”. Emma, from Cullompton, rides out at Jefford’s Payhembury yard four days per week. “I clip cows and also work in a local pub,” she added.
Champion jockey Will Biddick is again setting the pace for this year’s National title, and two winners at Ottery took his seasonal total to 11. Biddick initiated his double when Richard Barber’s four-year-old Thomas Brown made a successful racecourse debut to overcome strong challenges from Last Edition and Reliable Richie in the Open Maiden which had to be divided on the day.
The champion had to be content with the runner up spot in the other division when Wood Park was outstayed by Canada Coombe. This home bred seven-year-old is jointly owned by Lisa Dodd and Sarah Gordon and trained by Sarah at Brent Knoll, Somerset. “I also won on his dam Rosetta,” laughed winning jockey Alice Mills.
Chloe Roddick has her yard in good form and Waldo Pepper proved an easy winner of the Restricted for Biddick in the colours of jockeys valet David Luff.
Josh Guerriero is chasing hard for the National title and Batu Ferringhi gave him his eighth winner of the season in the Exeter Racecourse Intermediate qualifier, just fending off the late thrust of King of Alcatraz. Claire Hitch does well with her small string on the edge of Exmoor – “room for more,” and the progressive Batu Ferringhi was following up his smart victory at the South Dorset last month.
16 runners lined up for the Maiden for eight-year-olds plus, won in authoritative style by the Pat Bryant trained Mrs Fir. The winner was stepping up on her recent Barbury run in the hands of 21-year-old jockey Lee Drowne who joined the yard last September.
Hunt Race (East Devon Associates)
1 Regal Rumpus (Merv Woodward); 2 Tamatown (Alistair Harvey); 3 ran; only two finished; 2 1/2l; 6m 29s
Open Maiden four to seven year olds (Brightwells)
1 Thomas Brown (Will Biddick); 2 Last Edition (Jo Buck); 3 Reliable Richie (Darren Edwards); 11 ran; 1 1/4l; 1 3/4l; 6m 37s
Canada Coombe (Alice Mills); 2 Wood Park (Will Biddick); 3 Canshetrain (Nick Williams); 12 ran; 1 1/2l; 3l; 6m 25s
Mixed Open (Michael Pidsley – Devonshire Straw Man)
1 Double Bank (Merv Woodward); 2 My Fella (Nick Williams); 3 Pauillac (Ben Robarts); 9 ran; 4 1/2l; 10l; 6m 27s
Intermediate (Exeter Racecourse)
1 Batu Ferringhi (Josh Guerriero); 2 King of Alcatraz (Vicky Wade); 3 Chosen Milan (Rachel King); 6 ran; 1/2l; 4l; 6m 31s
PPORA Novice Riders’ (Ford Simey, Solicitors)
1 Doof (Emma Greenslade); 2 My Minds Maid (Dean McNamara); 3 Clew Bay Cove (Harriet Skinner); 8 ran; 1l; 4l; 6m 28s
Restricted (Parsons Distribution Ltd)
1 Waldo Pepper (Will Biddick); 2 Ned White (Ian Chanin); 3 Bernshaw (Ed Glassonbury); 10ran; 6l; 8l; 6m 19s
Open Maiden 8 year olds plus (Otter Brewery)
1 Mrs Fir (Lee Drowne); 2 Lord Sampson (Michael Heard); 3 Little Wadham (Ed Glassonbury); 16 ran; 2 3/4l; 2l; 6m 27s