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.
Westcountry Videos filmed the meeting, order on 01884 840403 or through the website later in the week at www.westcountryvideos.co.uk
Sunday 23rd March, Lamerton Point-To-Point, Kilworthy (near Tavistock).