The first three favourites obliged, but this couldn’t last and punters were on the back foot in the next three until Sweet My Lord landed the odds in the last.
At least everybody was able to seek warm shelter in the huge Wadebridge barn and it doesn’t seem so bad losing money in there.
The Novice Riders’ event attracted a field of 11. Working Title looked very fit and had little difficulty in following up his win at this track just before Christmas. He traded at around 5-4 and will probably be back for more here next month.
In the same race, Cock of the Rock was nicely supported from 5-1 to 4’s to give ex-pony racer Harry Cobden a winning ride. He was travelling well on the inner when slipping up on the bottom bend after the eighth fence.
Early skirmishers had 1-2 about Byerley Bear to beat his four opponents in the Ladies’ Open. He was sent off at 2-5 and prevailed in a spirited battle with the useful ex-David Pipe chaser Dan Breen (solid at 5-2). The Bear will no doubt continue on his winning ways, but Dan Breen, who finished 7th in the 2011 Arkle chase at Cheltenham is worth following in his first season’s pointing. As a coincidence, Ghizao, two places ahead of Dan Breen in that Arkle finished third in this race under his novice rider
I thought that the 10 runners in the Restricted looked a really nice bunch in the parade ring. Black Forest winner Railway Benefit was all the rage, eventually starting at 11-10, but lost ground down the hill and never looked like catching the keen going winner Desert Queen (4-1), and the staying on runner up Ballanrahan (8-1). I also made a favourable note of Whispering Wild (easy to back at 10-1) and Old Grange (12-1) who needed the race after a lay off. The time for this race was only one second slower than the Men’s Open.
Ian Chanin deputised for the injured Chester Williams on warm favourite Babeny Bridge (6-4 to 5-4 fav) in the Men’s race. Will Biddick’s mount Minella Fifty was backed from 3’s into 5-2 and the eventual winner Raffa was nibbled at from 6’s into 5-1. Raffa was again given a positive ride by John Mathias to score for the third time this season. This small eight-year-old must have a big heart because he ran on like a tiger up the finishing hill after the favourite had sprawled badly on landing at the penultimate fence. Hameldown Tor looked in trouble at half way but did his best work near the finish to chase home the winner and would benefit from a stiffer track.
They went 3-1 the field in the first Maiden with Follow The Paint the market choice. This five-year-old was in front for a long way but is not yet the most fluent of jumpers and was left behind from the bottom bend by the Jamie Thomas ridden winner Le Clo De La Londe (6’s to 5’s).
11 of the 13 runners finished in the other Maiden but they were pretty well strung out behind long time leader Sonoftheking who was easy to back at 7-1. The favourite Sisterbrooke (2-1 to 7-4) chased the winner home, with third placed Spendajennie (4-1) looking a likely improver.
All credit to one of our bookmakers, Mike Smith ( pseudonym Hunton), who offered a £20 future free bet in a competition on the Jumping For Fun web site to pick the North Cornwall winners.
No, I didn’t win………