GRANVILLE’S BETTING GOSSIP – EAST DEVON POINT-TO-POINT AT BISHOPS COURT, OTTERY ST MARY. SATURDAY 11th MARCH 2017

It was ladies’ day at Ottery St Mary.

No, not the posh dresses and fancy hats like the contrived “ladies’ days” that seemingly every racecourse must hold nowadays.

The ladies’ day at Ottery means lots of ladies’ riding and training winners in the traditional Bishops Court mud.

Emma Watson set the ball rolling in the opening Hunt race. She rode and trained Delphi Mountain (8’s and 7’s) to a 15 lengths success. This 12-year-old Oscar gelding has been a grand campaigner ever since Charlie Swan rode him to win his first race over six years ago. He has now given Emma four winning rides. Another game old warrior, Kirkleigh (9-4 to 7-4) , chased the winner home, but the favourite Blazing Whale (odds-on from an opening show of 2-5 into 1-2) was beaten when pulled up

Local jockey, 21-year-old Zoe Hawkins, not only rode the winner of the young horse Maiden on Micky Stark (5’s to 9-2), but in doing so got the better of the six-times champion jockey Will Biddick on the run-in. Biddick’s mount Journey Juice (5’s to 3’s) who made an eye catching debut “will improve a lot mentally”, according to the champion. Zoe Hawkins also trains family owned Micky Stark, and is in her second year of training at her small yard near Honiton

One of Zoe’s near neighbours, Sarah Pidsley, trained Eastern Calm (backed into 3’s), to win the older horses Maiden by five lengths. This ex-National Hunt mare had run promisingly at Buckfastleigh after a lay off, and drew away from the Barber horse Clenagh Castle in the home straight under the up and coming Will Gordon. The layers couldn’t give away Clenagh Castle, who eased from a tight opening show of 1-2 to evens with 5-4 being called in a place as they lined up.

The Verity Nicholls owned and trained Dicky Bob (4-9 to 2-5) looked a certainty dropped in class to the Novice Riders’ contest, but made hard work of it to fend off grand ex-chaser Mic’s Delight (6’s to 8’s). Young Millie Wonnacott did little wrong on Mic’s Delight, but consolation lay in wait for Dicky Bob and Rex Dingle, who made up for his Buckfastleigh lapse on the hot pot jolly.

Sue Popham saddled Iron Chancellor (solid 10-1) to gain a long overdue victory in a disappointing four-runner field for the Mixed Open. Lee Drowne got some really spectacular leaps out of the winner, who had the 1-2 favourite Athreeothree chasing shadows over the last half mile.

Colorado Doc (6-4 to 5-4 fav) looked a really smart prospect when beating Inch Rock at Chaddesley Corbett last month, and confirmed that impression here in the Intermediate with a similar margin of victory over this longer trip. Inch Rock was easy to back out from evens to 2’s before 6-4 ruled at the off. He will gain consolation, but I would not oppose Colorado Doc when he is upped in class. Apart from Dicky Bob, the Doc was the only winning favourite on the card.

Colorado Doc’s stable companion Doc Cody (11-4 into 5-2) had every chance in the Restricted, but had to give best to Awesome Tunes (Lorcan Williams), who landed a nice gamble (4’s at the off) in the Restricted. Ian Chanin handles this seven-year-old Milan gelding, bought out of David Pipe’s yard. Despite a long absence, Just Imagine It was sent off 2-1 favourite (from 5-2), but could only finish fifth.

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