I felt like George North charging down the Welsh wing, twisting in and out of the French threequarters, sprinting across the Black Forest mud, handing off a couple of opponents five metres from the bookies boards to get the 4’s – and then – knocked on. Yes, got the odds but my “value bet” failed to convert. Sea Bear (4’s to 3’s) ran more like polar bear and trailed in a poor fourth. Back to the drawing board.
I could have been two-nil up after two races. The highly progressive six-year-old Robin De Souza obliged in the opener (evens to 4-5) after a few hairy jumps to complete his four-timer for the season. He is a useful youngster and will win plenty more races.
Double Bank (6-4/13-8) is now 13-years-old but skipped round under Merv Woodward to win the Men’s Open easing up. He stood off a mile at the last but was probably just showing off. A great credit to the small yard of Emma Oliver and her team at Teign Valley, especially after he could have been written off after an accident in his horse box en route home from Taunton races last season. The surprising gamble here was A Country Mile who finished fifth. My SP was 9-2 after noting 16-1 early on.
Both divisions of the Open maiden also went to well backed favourites. Goodnitesweetheart (6-4/13-8) had made a favourable impression on her Larkhill debut. She ran on well here to hold the runner up Constantine Bay (3’s to 5’s) after Looking Glass (solid 3’s) had crashed through the wing of the penultimate. The form looks useful.
Darkgesture (9-4 into 13-8) had been knocking at the door for some time and finally came good under a positive ride from Josh Newman in the other Maiden division. The Presenting gelding cost quite a lot of euros at Fairyhouse as a three-year-old and has evidently taken time to mature.
The customary Welsh trained winner at Black Forest Lodge came in the shape of Itchymei’mscratch (3’s to 5-2) in the Restricted. This eight-year-old had shown promise in similar company and came right away from his rivals over the last three fences. Creative Inerta (7-4 to evens) never looked like getting to grips with the winner.
Masterleaderman (7’s out to 10’s) was virtually ignored in the market for the five-runner Ladies’ Open, but received a first class ride from 20-year-old Harriet Tucker, who was partnering her first winner. The runner up Sobre Tresor (2’s to 7-4) was always fighting a losing battle over the final half mile from the unfavoured outside berth. Fiulin (5’s to 4’s) has runs at the Cheltenham festival and Royal Ascot on his CV. He ran well and will find another race but was well held in third on this occasion. The veteran Coombe Hill (evens into 4-5) was outpaced from a long way out.
Sedgemoor Top Bid (2’s to 13-8) also proved a disappointing favourite in the Intermediate when bidding for his seasonal hat trick. He dropped away at the top of the hill. Commanche Conflict (drifted from 3’s out to 7’s) just held the late thrust of previous course winner Bob the Builder (5-2 to 7-2).
Westcountry Videos filmed the meeting, order on 01884 840403 or through the website later in the week at www.westcountryvideos.co.uk
- Saturday 5th March 2016, East Devon Point-To-Point, Bishops Court, nr Ottery St Mary
- Sunday 13th March 2016, Dart Vale & Haldon Harriers Point-To-Point, Buckfastleigh
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