Ottery St Mary was not the place for favourite backers. The first five short priced nags were all beaten, including three odds on shots.
The Dapper Fox (1-2 to 4-7) started the rot in a decent little Hunt race. The 10-year-old failed to reproduce his Milborne form and he never looked like getting to grips with the leaders. Ballybruff (solid 3’s) relishes soft ground, and may have been a shade unlucky to go down by a neck to Blazing Bouncer (4-1). The winner and the runner-up raced wide apart up the home straight, with 13-year Blazing Bouncer responding gamely to Matt Hampton’s every call. The winner’s form at the South Pool, which ties in with Ballybane, Eastern Calm and Micky Stark (all won since) now looks gilt edged.
Moonaro (7-4 fav) looked a picture in the Maiden preliminaries, but he paid the penalty again for some shoddy jumping. He did well in the end to finish second to Ann Maries Reject ( 9-4) who is a real bundle of energy. It was good to see Natalie Parker back with a winner and she had the race won a long way out. It was also a nice change of luck for Christine and Carroll Gray, now operating from a base at Spaxton after being seriously marooned by the floods on the Somerset levels a few years ago.
The Restricted looked a fair betting race, I thought the market leader Pointview Gale was a bit short (4-6, 5-4, evens). He started sluggishly and never threatened. Will Biddick’s mount Wallabrook had been found wanting at Charlton Horethorne trying to follow up his Buckfatleigh Maiden win. This time, after a few skirmishers had 5’s ,Wallabrook was forced into 11-4, but failed to last home after flattering briefly two out. Horwood Lad certainly meant business this time, and a positive ride from Kieren Buckley, plus first time cheek pieces saw this sturdy chestnut leave his Kilworthy form well behind. He trotted up by 20 lengths.
Even dear Dicky Bob failed to rescue the form book. He was a fairly generous 4-9 after opening at 1-4 and ran his usual genuine race. This time however he couldn’t cope with Fakenham hunter chase winner Foxcub (solid 3’s) . The Gloucestershire gelding’s last run was in a Catterick hunter chase so he had been flying high and found Ottery more to his liking. He was useful under rules and should score again. Dicky was not disgraced and will bounce back.
By now, after backing a few losers, I thought about a bank loan, but decided to plunge on Saddlers Encore (4-6 fav) in the five runner Men’s Open. Things went from bad to worse though and this nine-year-old was floundering about like me in the mud. Miss Gotaway revels in soft ground and won as she liked under Biddick. My investment struggled home in fourth.
It was hardly fair that the getting out stakes only had two runners so no getting out on a long odds-on shot. This was the likeable mare Eastern Calm who trotted up at 1-4. Perhaps I should have taken the early 2-5 but we have all got degrees in hindsight.
Never mind , we’ve still got the Grand National with its evening start…….
Official photographer: Cat Down photography
Westcountry Videos filmed the meeting, order on 01884 840403 or through the website later in the week at www.westcountryvideos.co.uk
- 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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