ROBBIE HENDERSON took a strong grip on the Devon & Cornwall jockeys championship with three winners at Treborough Hill, where the ground was predominantly good. This was the first treble of the 24-year-old rider’s career.
Two of his winners, The Mythologist and Glacial Oscar, wore the colours of his parents Guy and Sophie and were saddled by his father who trains the family pointers near Shaftesbury, Dorset.
Six-year-old The Mythologist won the two and a half miles Maiden with consummate ease to set the ball rolling. “I thought he was still a bit heavy and he will come on for this,” said the trainer.
Bloodstock agent Tom Malone, who had sourced the gelding for the Hendersons at Cheltenham sales in January after he had finished runner up in a good Irish Maiden, was more bullish. “This horse is different class and will go on to better things,” said Malone confidently. The Mythologist has an interesting pedigree which looks more like flat breeding. He is by the Derby winner Motivator and his dam traces back to the Queen’s classic winner Highclere. Put The Mythologist into your notebooks.
It was a similar story behind the success of Glacial Oscar in the three miles Maiden. This strong topped gelding quickly strode clear when Robbie Henderson unleashed him in the home straight to score by 20 lengths. This time Malone had snapped him up for his current connections after a promising effort on his third racecourse appearance in Ireland six weeks ago. “He had a rough journey in that bad weather over the Irish Sea and has taken time to recover,” said Guy Henderson. Robbie was equally complimentary about this six-year-old. “No problems at all and he will improve a lot”, commented the jockey.
It was slightly harder work for the in-form rider in getting Level Spirit home in the Exeter Racecourse Intermediate. “He was keen early and is learning to settle,” said the jockey after his mount had mastered Ladfromhighworth in the closing stages. The Ed Walker trained Level Spirit, who had returned from a year off to win at Black Forest Lodge last month, sparked off a party atmosphere generated by his owners The Otter Club. This six-strong syndicate was soon making plans to celebrate their victory and combining it with a toast to baby Daisy, who was added to the Walker / Gundry household last Friday. Congratulations to Polly and Ed.
The same connections went very close to winning the four miles Mixed Open when Hameldown Tor (Robbie Henderson) was caught in the last few strides by Gone to Lunch (Laura Scott). A great servant for owner Gary Lever, 14-year-old Gone to Lunch is trained by Camilla Scott just a few miles from the course. He had made relentless progress all the way up the home straight to prevail by a neck. “We didn’t think he was 100% fit. He had cut himself and needed stitches for an eight inch gash at Badbury Rings last season. Laura comes home from her studies at Cirencester at weekends to ride out,” reported Jeremy Scott, who was taking pre-Cheltenham time off from farm duties to help out.
Thetalkinghorse confirmed the good impression he had created at the Mid Devon with a smooth success in the 11-runner Restricted. The Welsh challenger Lemonade Jack made most of the running, but Thetalkinghorse said goodbye to him when sweeping to the front two out. A blunder at the last was shrugged aside as a prelude to a 12 lengths victory. This Presenting six-year-old is owned by Hannah Broggio and Janet Cumings. He is stabled with Keith Cumings at Bishops Nympton and turned out to perfection as usual. “He has also improved for the better ground,” explained winning rider Matthew Hampton who works full time for Victor Dartnall.
The majority of races attracted good sized fields, but only four went to post for the Confined which featured a third career success for 21-year-old Natalie Parker on board Dashing John. The winner, owned jointly by the rider’s mother Tracy and Audreyc Manners, drew clear of Checkerboard two out to score by 20 lengths.
Although only five, BabenyBridge was winning the fourth race of his career in the Hunt race. This progressive gelding led from the fourth fence and held off the persistent challenge of Debs Dasher. “He hung a bit and will probably have a rest now,” reported winning 20-year-old jockey Lizzie Kelly who has caught the eye on her limited opportunities under rules this winter.
Westcountry Videos filmed the meeting, order on 01884 840403 or through the website later in the week at www.westcountryvideos.co.uk
The following photographers were at the meeting: Bath Photographic (Marcus Bath), Equus Prints (Stephen Wensley), Helen Stoneman, Richard Hill Photography, Sara Raynor, Sporting Prints (Alun Sedgemore) and Tim Holt