A very competitive eight-race card at Black Forest Lodge, when a total of 91 runners asked some searching questions for winner finding.

Punters were soon on the back foot as odds-on Welstonedruid (evens – 4-5) could only finish fourth in the opening Hunt race. The Dapper Fox (7-4 – 6-4) proved too wily for his rivals, pouncing late under Jack Veysey to beat front running Weston Lodge (50-1)..

Worse was to come for favourite backers though, as the next five favourites all went down the pan. The confidence behind recent Wadebridge winner Air Glider in the 14-runner Restricted saw him backed from 3-1 into 5-4 fav. Despite tavelling well enough for Darren Edwards, he could only manage third spot behind all the way winner Master Tim (16-1). In a lively betting race there was money for runner-up Very Intense (8’s to 6’s), Kalasaya (3’s to 9-4), Dark Gesture (20’s to 10’s) and Truegazer (25’s to 14’s). Neither of these could cope with the Glamorgan qualified winner.

Karinga Dancer was supported from 5-2 to 2-1 fav in the following Ladies’ Open with the 14 runners including old campaigners Carruthers (12-1) and Khyber Kim (3’s to 4’s). The favourite was going strongly when going inside a marker after the 15th – distracted by a loose horse according to the jockey. At that stage 25-1 outsider Imperial Circus was presented with a clear advantage and her opponents would have needed binoculars to find him as the 11-year-old galloped right away from them to give jockey Jodie Perry her first winner. Doctor Henty (10’s to 6’s) was also forced off the track by a loose horse at half way, the offender probably being Boardwalk Empire (14’s to 10’s) who fell at the first.

Full Trottle (5-2 to 3’s) was looking for his third successful foray to the Westcountry this season and shared favouritism in the Men’s Open with the useful Penmore Mill (op 2’s). It was however Porlock Bay (5’s) who took the prize. He is a race readers delight with his unmistakeable scarlet blinkers and vivid red cap standing out. Doyen Dynamo (10’s to 4’s) was pulled up approaching the last having got tired in the closing stages but should atone before long.

Sabroclair (4’s to 5-2 fav) put more money into the layers satchels in the first of three Open Maidens when he could only finish 5th. He had fair form under rules, but the Woollacott yard has yet to hit top form. The winner Bogoss Du Perret (5-2 to 7-2) had run well in the first race of the season here and won readily under Bryony Frost. The Shop Brien (5’s to 7-2) looks a good sort. He gave James King a nasty fall at the cross fence but had shaped with promise.

They went 3-1 the field in the second Maiden. Four-year-old filly Kintamini had the dubious task of being lumbered with favouritism, having been snapped up at 5’s early on. The French bred youngster ran really well but was short headed by Evan David’s mount Agentleman (5-2 out to 4’s).

Desert Roe (2-1 fav) provided some respite for punters by becoming the third Welsh trained winner of the day and the first successful favourite. The Vinnie Roe gelding spread eagled his field to win by 25 lengths from fellow Welsh challenger Captain Kennit (14’s to 7’s).

Despite a near two years lay off The Mexican Bandit (12’s touched 16’s) came back to just deny Warwickshire gelding Superior Fire (2’s to 3’s) by a neck in the Intermediate. A good ride by the talented Sean Houlihan, and a fine training performance from Keith Cumings to round off the day as the bookies rode off into the sunset to count their winnings

At least the Devon weather couldn’t have been kinder to us all.