The course at Wadebridge is a bit like Cheltenham. The runners come down the hill and sweep round the final left hand bend before facing a steep climb to the judge. But there the similarity ends.
For example the food at Wadebridge is home made and considerably cheaper than at the posh Cotswold track. Real ale is served with a smile; you don’t have to fight to get a cup of tea; car parking is not a route march away, and you can buy a Christmas tree or any other souvenir you fancy from Cornwall……..
The bookies had the edge this time. Not only did our intrepid 11 layers get six favourites beaten, they had the luxury on a wickedly windy day of doing business in the huge cosy barn (including West Country Videos live feed) which is a feature of this Royal Cornwall Showground.
I must say well done to connections simply to get their horses to the track with several braving snow and other rubbishy weather en route.
William Money (4-7 – 4-6 fav) travelled from Wales for his third run of the season, but lost his place at the bottom of the hill and could only finish fourth in the 12-runner Conditions race for veteran and novice riders . The winner Mic’s Delight (6’s out to 8’s) drew right away up the final climb to clock the fastest time of the day under a fine ride from Millie Wonnacott. Chosen Lucky (11-4 – 5-2) chased the winner until weakening quickly after the last. He will come on for that run. The former Philip Hobbs trained Al Alfa was backed from 14’s to 7’s and was prominent for two miles. Two of the runners were chalked up at 100-1 and two at 66-1 at one stage.
At least the Men’s and Ladies’ Opens went the way of the punters. Premier Portrait (5-2 to 2-1) obliged in good style to defy a penalty in the Men’s. Runner-up The Dapper Fox (5’s into 4’s) was staying on from well back when all the others had gone, and Robin De Souza (7’s touched 5’s) held every chance until approaching the last. Fourth placed Sonny The One (5’s to 4’s) had form under rules and will surely find a race.
In the Ladies’ Open I looked in vain for 2-1, but the books know all about Sobre Tresor (6-4 to 5-4). This admirable Somerset pointer (and hunter chase winner) knows his way round the showground blindfolded and was winning his seventh race here, this time by 20 lengths with novice rider Chloe Emsley on board for the first time. La Madonnina (25-1) and Ladyvie (25-1 toched 33’) filled the places but they were just chasing shadows. De Boitron (16’s to 8’s) ran well, but Western Diva (solid 100-30) failed to last home.
The Restricted looked a decent race. The feature of the betting was a plunge on Irish Maiden winner Belharbour Two (8-1 to 5-2 fav). The five-year-old was always prominent but had to give best to another five-year-old The Two Amigos (4’s to 3’s). Nick Lawton sent the winner to the front at the 12th and he stayed on well when chased all the way by Belharbour Two. An Irish Maiden winner, The Two Amigos was a bit disappointing under rules. He is still unfurnished but he is in a good yard and will certainly score again.
The Kings Writ (9-2 to 7-2) was surprisingly easy to back after skipping a Restricted opportunity for the Intermediate. The Woollacott yard is in good form at present and Josh Newman’s mount proved too strong for Applesolutely (7’s touched 8’s) who will surely find an Intermediate). The Kings Writ cruised into the straight, and a mistake at the penultimate failed to stop him. Robin De Boss (7-2 to 3’s) found no extra from three out but was not disgraced. Pink Eyed Pedro (3’s to 5-2fav) and stable companion Bob The Butcher (5’s to 6’s) each failed to finish
The first division of the Open Maiden had to be split on the day. The Coffee Hunter (5-4 to 4-6) was all the rage for the first section but was beaten when pulled up at the top of the hill. Ruby Fool (4’s to 7-2) went clear but was headed by Broadclyst (10’s out to 12’s) who went right away up the finishing climb. This big five-year-old gelding by Ask was running for only the second time and looks a useful recruit to the Chanin team. Erica’s Lad (6’s to 7’s) showed promise on his racecourse debut.
Part 2 of the split division produced the finish of the day. It Has To Be (Ed Henderson) (13-2 into 5’s) led from two out and looked home and dry until Josh Newman galvanised Earthly Reason (3’s to 100-30) to gradually cut down the deficit inside the last 75 yards. It Has To Be got the verdict by a short head. Danseur du Large (Will Biddick) held every chance until fading two out. He is only four and still a bit weak.
The wind was still howling and the ground getting a bit tackier by the time of the final event. Another double figure field went to post for this division of the Open Maiden, but only three got home with the stocky ex-hurdler Acadian (10’s into 5-2) storming up the hill under Lee Drowne to land the gamble by an official 18 lengths. Dean Summersby’s Mahler four-year-old Noble Promise (5-4 fav from 6-4) finished second with Will Biddick deputising for the injured Darren Edwards on this promising sort.