Bryony Frost took a giant step towards achieving her ambition of capturing the National Novice Riders’ Championship for lady jockeys with her first ever double at Flete Park thanks to Railway Vic and Wee Fly.This double put the Devon youngster on the nine winner mark for the season, giving her a four win cushion over Brodie Hampson for the coveted title.
Once again the lovely Devon venue was blessed with pleasant sunshine and well filled car parks. Bryony initiated her double as Railway Vic followed up his recent course win in the Restricted, just outstaying Alysia’s Flame in a driving finish. Railway Vic, who was winning for the third time this season, is trained by Bryony’s mother Nikki, and is owned by Susan Roe who has been associated with the Frost yard for several years.
Wee Fly is one of the toughest and most consistent mares in the pointing field and duly showed her battling qualities when thwarting John Daniell’s bid for a seasonal treble in the four miles Ladies Open. Bryony Frost was content to bide her time on Wee Fly but Amanda Bush had John Daniell in a slight lead when her mount blundered badly at the final fence, Wee Fly and her determined 18-year-old rider did not need a second invitation and was not for denying once she had her head in front on the run-in.
“Wee Fly came into season yesterday but she has now won this race for the last four years,” said owner/ trainer Ross Oliver. Bryony’s double took her to the nine winner mark for the season, giving her a comfortable lead for the National title.
Ollie Bush had saddled the Ladies’ runner-up John Daniell, and quickly gained consolation as West End justified 2-1 favouritism for her yard in the two and a half miles Maiden. The Westerner gelding was given a perfect hold up ride by Josh Guerriero who picked his way through the field to lead inside the final quarter mile on the good looking six-year-old. “I had a job to pull him up. He likes quick ground but had been running freely in his races,” said the North Devon based jockey whose career is due to take a new shape when he joins rookie trainer Dan Skelton as assistant trainer in the summer.
Eight faced the starter for the three miles Open Maiden, but front running Talland Bay turned the race into a procession from a long way out, eventually scoring by six lengths under Geoff Barfoot-Saunt in a very commendable time. The home bred winner is owned by Marcella Baylis together with her parents Alan and Edna, and is trained by Marcella at St Veep near Lostwithiel. “Talland Bay is a lovely ride but can be a bit quirky. We moved down to Cornwall last winter from the Cotswolds (where she trained plenty of winners in that area). “I led up Earth Summit when he won the Grand National and was given him to hunt when he retired,” she confided.
All three Mens Open runners were in contention approaching the last, but Swansbrook is nothing if not game, and pulled out extra to hold Osric and odds-on Uncle Keef. Sue Popham handles Swansbrook on behalf of joint owners Peter Williams and David Meyrick. The ten-year-old was snapped up by the Pophams at Doncaster sales last May for £3,200 on the recommendation of Brendan Powell. “I think we will have to go back to Doncaster sales next week,” joked the trainer. “I have had six winners from four horses this year and they are all still in training. Swansbrook jumps point-to-point fences particularly well,” added Sue.
Robert Chanin’s Thorverton yard has also been amongst the winners and Molland Gayle became the trainer’s seventh pointing winner of the season to add to Kirkleigh’s two Hunter Chase successes when winning the Confined. Pauillac looked the likely winner at the top of the hill, but the patiently ridden winner took command after jumping the last to win going away. “They went too fast early on and I kept a bit in hand,” reported Leanda Tickle who was deputising for Molland Gayle’s regular rider Ian Chanin. “It is unusual for one of the boys (Ian or Tom) not to ride ours but Leanda did well,” commented Robert Chanin who trains the Dr Massini mare for a local syndicate. At least Ian had the satisfaction of riding a winner on the same day at the Tredegar Farmers meeting in South Wales.