IT was about a score draw in the end between the bookmakers and punters at Bratton Down.
The bookis drew first blood when course winner Bernshaw was well beaten in the opener. He was a solid 1-2 favourite after touching 4-6. I thought he looked plenty fit enough in the preliminaries, but he was beaten a long way out. The winner, The Mystro, was second best in the market at 2-1 and lost his maiden tag in some style.
The 10-runner Restricted looked quite an open event and they went 5-2 A Real Cliché who opened at 3’s, Will Biddick’s mount ran well but nobody had any answers to Beaufort winner The Flying Doc (solid 4-1) who cruised up to the leaders on the home turn and won on the bit. She looks a decent mare and can progress from here. I backed runner-up Winter Garden (9-2 touched 5.s). This six-year-old had won nicely at Trebudannon and ran quite well in the DBS bumper at Aintree. He stays well and is one to keep an eye on for the future
Claire Hitch has done well with Minella Fifty who won an Irish point but was evidently not easy to train in the Jonjo O’Neill yard after changing hands for an enormous sum. He is in good form at present and did well to beat the useful Presentandcorrect (11-4 from 5-2) in the Ladies’ Open.
The Midnight Legend six-year-old Whataknight has gone from strength to strength this year and took his upgrading to Open class in his stride. He is a workmanlike type with plenty of speed and looks a natural to progress to better things. 5-4 did not last long and he was a solid 4-6 at the off. Wincanton hunter chase winner Parkam Jack (5-2 ), bidding for his fourth win of the season, found his 7 lbs penalty just too much. .
Favourite backers soon knew their fate in the Intermediate when Credit Crunched (2-1) ploughed through the fifth fence and unseated Johny Bailey. What About Will had found it hard to win an Intermediate since his Black Forest win in January, but looks more street wise now and drew right away under Vicky Wade up the final climb to score easily here,
The Maiden was divided on the day with declarations just one above the safety factor. The slightly quicker division went to the Kayley Woollacott mare Spendajennie (4’s out to 6’s). She had been lightly raced since I gave a favourable note to her at Wadebridge in January, but she kept on well up the hill to hold Master Max (5-4 fav touched 6-4).
The Jack Barber trained four-year-old Brandevin (evens out to 11-8 favourite) took the other division to record his trainer’s 50th win of the season. Brandevin fetched £30,000 at Brightwells Cheltenham breeze up sales last December and had a lot to live up to. He was very green and was given an exemplary quiet educational ride by Will Biddick . He probably didn’t know he was in a race until his rider asked him to quicken after the last and had a good look at the crowd as he mastered his rivals on meeting the higher ground. I expect he will finish up under rules with Paul Nicholls.
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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