A huge crowd basked in the spring sunshine at Buckfastleigh where race cards were sold out before the first race and the ice cream queue stretched for miles

Video courtesy of Westcountry Videos

A fine treble for Will Biddick took him to the 14-winner mark for the season in his quest for a third successive National jockeys’ title.

A tyre blow out on the A38 near Exeter almost cost Biddick his first two winners as Richard Barber’s horse box carrying Maiden runners Pure Oxygen and Mister Trebus lurched to a halt on the roadside.

Fortunately all was well in the end and Pure Oxygen showed no ill effects when romping home in the first Maiden in the colours of Graham Roach. An expensive purchase as a foal, the strong bodied Pure Oxygen is a half brother to Best Mate. He had pulled too hard in his two races under rules from Harry Fry’s yard and joined the adjacent point-to-point yard of Richard Barber to further his education.

The previously unraced Mister Trebus quickly followed up in the second Maiden, having to be pushed out to hold the fast finishing Miss Gotaway and Kilcrea Mill. “Still very green,” was the jockey’s verdict. This five-year-old was bought in Ireland last June and looks sure to improve further.

The progressive Following Dreams justified 6-4 favouritism in the Mixed Open to complete the Cornish rider’s treble. Alastair Ralph trains this seven-year-old on behalf of his mother Diana and Susan Rimell. A possible tilt at the prestigious Lady Dudley Cup could await this Beneficial gelding.

It was a memorable day for Ashburton teenager Imogen Darke who saddled her first runner Grand Award to win the Hunt race under Alice Mills. Imogen suffered a serious accident four years ago and spent three months in Frenchay hospital. “Her long road to recovery has been difficult. We still don’t know exactly what happened then. She was bringing her pony in and we found her injured,” explained her proud father Ross Darke.

Pony racing graduate Chester Williams has struck up a good association with his mother Jane’s Un Ami this year, and the pair were successful for the third time with a convincing win in the Intermediate. “We tried different tactics this time by holding the horse up,” said Jane.

Robbie Henderson still leads the Devon & Cornwall jockeys title race, and after finishing second to Un Ami on Punter Friendly went on to score on 20-1 outsider King’s Bench in the 17-runner Restricted. Well done to Bookmaker Mike Smith who bets as “Hunton”. Mike offered one quarter the odds each way on the first four places in this event – a very rare if not unique occurrence to tempt the punters.

There was another form upset when the ex-chaser Soulard romped home in the Novice Riders’ contest at 33-1. A winner for David Pipe in his younger days, and successful in a hunter chase at Towcester last year, Soulard became the third career winner in the saddle for his owner/trainer Ian Hargreaves. “I work for Sophie Leech at Westbury on Severn and ride my horse out at lunch times. My two previous wins were each in the Hunt race on this course,” said 23-year-old Ian.


There was a strong market at Buckfastleigh where a total of 80 runners contested the seven races.

DESERT QUEEN was nicely backed in the first Open Maiden. This granddaughter of Dubacilla was cut from 14’s to 10’s and caught the eye in finishing fourth on her racecourse debut. She got a bit tired and would have been closer but for blundering at the last.

MISTER TREBUS was also appearing for the first time in the other division. His home reputation evidently spoke for him and this 40,000 euros Goffs purchase attracted big money from 6-4 to 4-5. He landed the odds under Will Biddick and looks to have a bright future.

In the same race KILCREA MILL ran really well having been supported from 33-1 into 20’s. He made most of the running and was just pipped on the line for second place.

FOLLOWING DREAMS (6-4) was a warm favourite in the Mixed Open and duly obliged to give Will Biddick his hat trick. There was money for course winner INDIANA BAY (4’S to 5-2) and this likeable gelding was chasing the winner hard when he fell at the last. He will be winning soon.

JIVE MASTER 3’s to 9-4) proved disappointing in the Novice Riders’ contest. He just about edged out IDOLE FIRST for favouritism but could not repeat his promising run at the last meeting here and trailed the field until being pulled up.

There was a 33-1 winner of the Novice Riders’ – SOULARD – and the bookies satchels must have been at bursting point when KING’S BENCH beat 16 opponents to win the concluding Restricted at 20-1. BOB LEWIS was the gamble of this race with early 10’s and 8’s cut to 4-1 at the off. The Stuart Sampson trained gelding looked the likely winner three out but had to give best to the eventual winner going to the last. . A feature of this race was the offer of one quarter the odds each way first four places on the Mike Smith board.


Results of the Dart Vale & Haldon Harriers meeting


Westcountry Videos filmed the meeting, order on 01884 840403 or through the website later in the week at


The following photographers were at the meeting: Turfpix (Tracy Roberts) and Helen Stoneman


Sunday 23rd March, Lamerton Point-To-Point, Kilworthy (near Tavistock).