The 14 bookmakers produced a strong betting market at Upcott Cross during an afternoon with some bizarre happenings.
The 14 runner Restricted became the race that never was. 50-1 chance Gleannacreim played up at the start, but the starter appeared to flag the field away. It was not until the race was taking shape with half a mile to run that a yellow flag was deployed to stop the race. A false start was cited. It was a pity that this unfortunate turn of events meant a void race because apart from everybody’s wasted efforts, a good finish was in prospect.
Course winner Brave Encounter had made most of the running, having been gambled on from early 20’s to 5-1 at the “off”. Will Biddick’s mount Earthpower had started favourite (5-2 to 2’s) and was making eye catching progress up the back straight. Myladtommy (25’s to 20’s) and the complete outsider Mongress Boy (200-1) also showed prominently when the order to stop the race was given.
The afternoon had started more positively in the eight-runner Confined when Devon General (3’s to 5-2) and Mausefalle (10-1 touched 12’) dead heated. Third placed King’s Bench (6’s into 4’s) kept on well and had run creditably on his three previous outings this season. He is capable of stepping up on this effort.
Posh Totty was the main fancy in the Men’s Open. One punter’s bet of £200 at 4-5 looked a steal, especially since the she hardened to 1-3 at the off. This time the Jack Barber trained mare found Robin Will (7-2 to 3’s) a bit too hot to handle.
Cock of the Rock, seeking his seventh successive win, opened at 1-2 in the Novice Riders’ (a bet of £2,000 to win £1,000 noted). 16-year-old Harry Cobden has impressed all season and once again timed his challenge to perfection to overcome the tough 6-year-old Le Clo de la Londe who had been backed from 6-1 to 9-2.
Ned White (7-4 fav from 2’s) has been a grand servant to his connections for many years. He jumped superbly for Leanda Tickle to win the Ladies’ Open without too much fuss. Despite showing as a 12-year-old on the race card he is actually a year older than that and retirement beckons for him at the end of the season.
I had begun to think that Baldhu High Tide was not much better than his dam North Coast Girl, who managed only one tailed off completion in her 14 races. Baldhu High Tide, sired by Baldhu Jack (who won two points in his day) had struggled with only one distant completion in his six efforts to date. However this was his day. Fitted with a hood for the first time and putting his eventing experience to good use, Baldhu High Tide had the last laugh and won quite easily in the end under Vicky Wade. He was of course easy to back at long odds (33’s to 25’s), but I saw one clairvoyant punter picking up the tidy sum of £2,000.
Westcountry Videos filmed the meeting, order on 01884 840403 or through the website later in the week at www.westcountryvideos.co.uk
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