Well done to the six bookmakers who stood at Great Trethew. Prices offered were very fair despite minimal activity in the ring.
Fountains Cloud was a popular choice in the opening hunt race (6-4 to 7-4 fav), but this course specialist is struggling to regain his best form and was never really involved. The winner Lucius Fabeo has improved steadily as his young rider gains experience and was a worthy winner despite proving easy to back at 9-4 (opened 2’s). Bold Perk ( solid at 5-2) was given a positive ride by Jo Buck to finish second and will be better for the race.
I was impressed by the four and five-years-old Maiden winner Polo The Mumm who toyed with his eight rivals. He was bought out of a French claimer just before Christmas and his precocious chasing experience helped. It doesn’t need a Scarlet Pimpernel to elicit French racing form nowadays and the bookies were lying in wait. This good bodied five-year-old opened odds-on, but his SP of 6-4 looks very generous now. He is one for the notebook.
The vast majority of the eight runners in the first divided Maiden drifted. The favourite Whatastormnorm, from the Chanin yard, went out from 7-4 to 9-4. The only one for money was Sedgemoor Top Bid (4’s to 5-2) who could only finish fourth. The winner Great Camanoe was ignored at 20-1 (from 14’s), but his young rider Jake Bament seized his opportunity with a fine round of jumping from the home bred Morpeth gelding.
Only Gorgeous upheld Wadebridge form in the other Maiden division under Jo Buck but was always odds-on (4-5 to 8-11). The runner up Turnstone was backed from 12-1 into 15-2 and will be better for the experience.
The Restricted winner Way Before Dawn proved very game. He is from the family of Dawn Run and his sire Nomadic Way was versatile enough to win the Cesarewitch on the flat and the Stayers Hurdle at the Cheltenham festival. He closed in from 7-2 to 3-1, but Wadebridge winner Sonoftheking was sent off 11-10 fav after drifting from 4-5 ( difficult to lay). The pair fought out the finish with Way Before Dawn just outstaying the favourite in a slow motion finish up the hill as conditions got more gruelling.