The Buckfastleigh organisers did well to put this meeting on. With most other fixtures defeated by the weather, the Dart Vale and Haldon Harriers went ahead after surviving an early morning inspection. The going was heavy and two jumps were omitted on each circuit
This meeting was re-arranged from the original date two weeks ago when the track was deep in snow, and as with most re-arranged fixtures there was a lack of runners, hence a lack of serious betting opportunities. This did not prevent me from losing money on the day.
The best race was the Men’s Open, sponsored by the evergreen Totnes & Bridgetown Races Company, whose last racecourse at Totnes closed in 1939.
The favourite Whenharrymetsally drifted from 4-5 to 11-10, and they went 7-2 each of Navanman and Kernel Victor. Robin De Souza was easy to back at 4’s.
The omission of the last fence meant a three furlongs run-in, and the favourite and Navanman (Rex Dingle) had a right set to all the way from the last jump with Whenharrymetsally (Matt Hampton) just edging ahead in the last 50 yards to score by a neck.
I had to back Blazing Bouncer (2’s to evens) in the Restricted. This lightly raced veteran had split subsequent winners Ballybane and Eastern Calm in heavy going on this track in February. This time the form book let me down because the remote fourth home that day, Micky Stark, took the honours here. In fairness, Zoe Hawkins rode the perfect race on the winner, switching the seven-year-old off at the back of the field before swooping on her opponents half a furlong out. The unfortunate Blazing Bouncer finished second again.
The favourite was sunk again in the Intermediate. This time it was a three card trick and I went for Awesome Tunes (4-7 to evens) to beat Double Captain (7-4 to 6-4) and Kapoupakap (5-1). That turned out to be a stupid bet because Double Captain came here fit from a Wadebridge win and duly trotted up, whilst Awesome Tunes, who had not run since last June, blew up.
Despite a small field of five, there was a lively market preceding the first Open Maiden. Robin Why Not was cut from 5-2 to 5-4 fav, Predestined was supported from 4’s to 5-2, and Blazing Rocabelle came in from 7-2 to 3’s on her jumping debut. Predestined (Ben Jones) was pushed three lengths clear down the hill and just held the renewed effort of Robin Why Not (Kieren Buckley), who was closing fast near the line after losing his place two out.
In the other division I had marked Moonaro (6-4 fav) as the bet of the day, assuming that he had recovered from his narrow defeat at Kilworthy. We will never know because he fell when leading four out. Minella Rising (evens out to 5-2) and Raddon Top (5’s to 5-2) were left to fight out the finish with Josh Newman getting Minella Rising home for the in-form Ed Walker yard. The five-year old Raddon Top, by Getaway out of a winning mare is worth keeping an eye on.
Ed Walker had already saddled the Ladies’ Open winner as Miss Gotaway (Abbie Hughes) came right away from her sole opponent Ray Diamond (3’s to 9-4).
Only the needy and the greedy were left when Hannah Welch on Beuvron beat her cousin Michael Treneer on Uncle Keef in the concluding Hunt race. I recorded 1-5 Beuvron (who was winning this race for the fourth successive time) and 3-1 Uncle Keef. By this time most of the bookies had packed up and I could only see one layer calling odds on the lucky last.
Westcountry Videos filmed the meeting, order on 01884 840403 or through the website later in the week at www.westcountryvideos.co.uk
- Sunday 8th April 2018 Spooner & West Dartmoor, Cherrybrook, Tavistock PL19 0LA, 1st race 1.30pm
- Saturday 14th April 2018 Silverton, Bishops Court, Ottery St Mary EX11 1RJ, 1st Race 1.00pm
- Saturday 21st April 2018 Dartmoor, Flete Park, Ermington, Ivybridge PL21 9NX, 1st Race 2.00pm
- Saturday 28th April 2018 [Rescheduled] Four Burrow, Trebudannon, St.Columb Major TR9 4LP, 1st Race 1.00pm
- Sunday 29th April 2018 Axe Vale Hunt, Stafford Cross, Seaton EX24 6HZ, 1st Race 1.30pm
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