Four successful odds-on favourites kept the bookies dipping into their satchels at Ottery St Mary on a mercifully dry afternoon.
Kirkleigh (1-2 from 4-7) got favourite backers off to a good start in the Hunt race. This soft ground specialist was visiting the winner’s enclosure for the third time this season and sauntered home after his three rivals failed to finish. Last year’s Hunt race winner Delphi Mountain (2’s to 7-4) was pressing the winner when crashing out through the wing of the third last. Sucker Punch (6’s to 4’s) had run better than his finishing position suggests at the Western meeting last month, but was tired and had lost touch when unseating his rider two out on this occasion. He once changed hands for £105,000 but had been off the course for two years before his Wadebridge run. Bought for a modest sum by his current connections, this nicely bred seven-year-old is worth keeping an eye on
Blazing Whale (4-5 to 4-6) and Ohio Gold (4’s to 5’s) had a lengthy private battle in the closing stages of the Mixed Open after Batu Ferringhi (5’s to 9-2) had set a very strong pace in the testing conditions. The favourite was coming back from a rather disappointing run at Buckfastleigh, but carried his penalty with honour here, just holding off Ohio Gold.
Will Biddick was made to work hard on Blazing Whale, and also had to be at his strongest to persuade Earthpower (4-6 from 4-5) to see off the game Pauls Conn (solid at 5-2) to win the Restricted. Earthpower had won his Maiden on this track last season and evidently relishes soft ground. Printing Blue (8’s / 15-2) was running on at the finish. He is capable of winning in this grade.
I was slow off the mark and missed evens about Master Baker, who hardened to 4-6 and won the Intermediate as he liked. Follow The Paint (2-1) was the only other horse seriously backed in the seven strong field. This mare, unbeaten in her two previous races this season, lacked fluency at the jumps and was eased once her chance had gone.
Maller Tree (5-2) was a useful performer in his day under rules, winning seven times over hurdles plus a bumper at Bellewstown. He looks the ideal schoolmaster and duly provided Chris Wald with his first winner in the Novice Riders’ contest. Flying Award (5-2 to 2-1) was sent off favourite and came from a long way off the pace to finish second. Fiulin (3’s – 11-4) ran his usual game race to finish third.
Rob Stoneman rode his first winner thanks to Arcs Abound (SP 100-30) after being put in at a ridiculously short price in the younger horse Maiden. His dam Winter Scene was a prolific pointing winner for the Gardners’. Runner up Micky Stark (6’s to 13-2) is on the upgrade. His dam (from the family of Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Imperial Call), won a point-to-point at Cherrybrook. Eddies Pearl ((8’s to 9-2) was the only other finisher. She was too keen early on and can improve. Vila Cova (7-2 to 9-4) started favourite and was making headway when falling four out. Another short priced runner here was Meldon Express (7-2) who was unlucky when his rider was knocked out of the saddle by an early faller.
There was only a neck between the winner Upto Ollie (3’s out to 5’s, touched 11-2) and The Conjurer (6-4 out to 9-4 fav) in the concluding Maiden. The Conjurer couldn’t quite do the trick after heading the winner momentarily after the last.
Westcountry Videos filmed the meeting, order on 01884 840403 or through the website later in the week at www.westcountryvideos.co.uk
- Sunday 13th March 2016, Dart Vale & Haldon Harriers Point-To-Point, Buckfastleigh
- Sunday 20th March 2016, Lamerton, Kilworthy, nr Tavistock
- Easter Saturday 26th March, East Cornwall, Great Trethew, nr Liskeard
- Easter Monday 28th March, Four Burrow, Trebudannon, nr Newquay
Recent Live stream replays:
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