Axe Vale, Stafford Cross, Sunday 28th April 2013 Report

A cool and breezy afternoon saw the ground drying out all the time and some fast times were recorded around the sharp, flat track at Stafford Cross.

Flanshan relished the conditions to score a six lengths success in the Mixed Open in the fastest time of the day. Will Biddick always had the useful nine-year-old in a handy position, and eased clear of Checkerboard and Carrickmines from the second last. The gelding is owned by Peter Maltby and trained by Richard Barber at Seaborough, Dorset. Having had only two runs this season on slower ground the trainer has an eye to picking up a few more races with Flanshan if the rain stays away. “He has only just started and will probably go to the second Holnicote meeting next,” he said.

Flanshan was Will Biddick’s 31st winner of the season, following up his double on the previous day at Woodford, also for the Barber yard. Josh Guerriero was the double scorer on Sunday and took his seasonal total to18 to give him a share of second place behind Biddick for the championship.

I’m In Charge set the ball rolling for Guerriero in the Confined. Starting odds-on favourite, the progressive seven-year-old just foiled a game front running effort from Some Slam when taking the lead on the run-in. I’m In Charge runs in the colours of The Hussey’s Hustlers syndicate and was saddled by Grant Cann on behalf of Ollie Bush. “We got him at the Land Rover sales (Goffs) as a four-year-old. He is normally ridden by Amanda (Bush) but she is riding at Larkhill today,” said Cann.

Josh Guerriero went on to complete his double on the five-year-old Devon General in the Open Maiden. William Percival and Mike Heard held a slight lead when stumbling at the final fence leaving Devon General in command. Kayley Jones saddled this winner for a small syndicate. This good looking gelding by Generous had run well on his debut at Great Trethew. His dam is a sister to champion bumper winner Pizzaro and he was bought unbroken at Ascot sales last June. “We broke him in during the summer and he is still very green,” reported the trainer.

Bryony Frost has a great chance of landing the National novice riders’ title this year and the 18-year-old partnered her seventh winner of the season as Fiulin captured the Novice riders’ contest. This race changed shape when course winner Clew Bay Cove was badly hampered by a loose horse and taken wide entering the final circuit when travelling well. “I managed to keep my horse out of that trouble. Pony racing has taught me so much so I kept to the rails and took a pull,” explained Bryony. Fiulin’s owner/trainer Ross Oliver had made the journey from Cornwall. “The only other time I came here was back in 2004 when Will Biddick rode his first ever winner on Let’s Fly. He was the best horse I have had,” reminisced the veteran trainer.

Foxy Dolly continued her upward curve when just getting the better of Ned White in the 14-strong Restricted. The Chanin brothers were locked in combat over the final 100 yards with Ian just getting the upper hand over Tom near the line. A big, strong mare who has taken time to come to hand, Foxy Dolly is owned and trained by the father and son combination of Stewart and Robert Reddaway. “She was bought privately in Ireland as a four-year-old,” said Robert.

Rush ‘N’ Roll proved to be another family success in the Intermediate. This gelding runs for the Dorset based Legg family and scored by seven lengths in the hands of 22 –year-old Michael Legg who is based with Colin Tizzard. Michaels’ father Nigel saddled the well made chestnut and explained; “he hated the soft ground at Milborne and didn’t jump a twig. He lost his confidence a bit when falling there but has bounced back nicely here.”

Miss Cupcake was not hard pressed to open her account under Jo Buck in the Hunt race. Bred by Stewart Pike, who had won this race in 1978 with her grandam Roman Lilly, Miss Cupcake is now owned by Jacqui McCullough and trained by Leslie Jefford. “She has been waiting for better ground and although she has grown up this year she is still a bit immature,” explained Leslie.