Commiserations to Jo Buck, who was taken to hospital with a suspected fractured ankle after a fall from Ross Oliver’s House of Fun in one of the Maiden races.
Jo took the Devon & Cornwall area champion lady rider title in 2011 and 2012. “It’s the same ankle that she broke in that fall at Cheltenham (May 2012),” reported Ross Oliver, who had travelled his six-year-old House of Fun on a 360 miles round trip from his base in Cornwall.
It was a long afternoon at Badbury Rings where a total of 121 runners turned out on remarkably good going. The planned seven-race card was extended to 11 thanks to four events having to be divided on the day which began with a shock 100-1 winner in the opening Conditions race. This was recent Chipley Park failure Dona (Sam Painting), from the Barbury Castle yard of Laura Thomas. The second part of the Conditions race also saw punters in a pickle with Bringinthebranston (Tom David) scoring at 20-1 for Pyle, Bridgend owner/trainer David Brace.
The Silverton qualified Byerley Bear was seeking his fifth successive win of the season in the AGA Ladies’ Open. Despite seeing off the hot favourite Master Medic, Leanda Tickles’s mount was caught by Aikideau in the last stride Last season’s Devon & Cornwall champion lady Bryony Frost rode a fine, patient waiting race on the winner who was following up his recent Larkhill win. Byerley Bear lost little in defeat, “He will go to Wadebridge next,” said owner Roger Knowles.
Another rider in the wars was Camilla Henderson who was injured when Khyber Kim came down in the home straight in the Novice Riders’ contest. “She has a broken nose and was put into a neck brace as a precaution”, said her father, champion National Hunt trainer Nicky Henderson. This event went to 16-year-old Sean Bowen on David Brace’s Cock of the Rock, with Devon horses King of the Road and Clew Bay Cove filling the places.
Chester Williams was another 16 –year-old jockey to reach the winner’s enclosure when Un Ami, owned and trained by his mother Jane near Barnstaple, gave the schoolboy rider his third career winner in a Restricted division.
Devon based horses dominated the first divided Maiden. The Tiverton qualified Tackler, trained by Marie McGuinness and ridden by Conor Smith looked a bright prospect scoring in his division by 25 lengths, and the sturdy six-year-old Go On Henry (Josh Guerriero) opened his account for Keith and Janet Cumings in the other section.
The Ed Walker trained Hameldown Tor stayed on steadily to finish runner-up under Robbie Henderson in the Men’s Open, but could not quite cope with Ravethebrave, (Joe Hill) who bounced back from a moderate effort at Higham last time out to take the prize to Oxfordshire.
Michael Legg was the only rider to complete a double on the marathon card. He took the first section of the Restricted under Driftwood Pride, and as the light began to fade in the final race he gained a neck verdict on Driving Onwards, just denying the Leslie Jefford representative Last Edition.