IF there are any regular readers of this exclusive website column (which I doubt) they will be aware that my own betting battles with the excellent Devon & Cornwall bookies are entering extra time for the season. I was miles ahead on points, but the shrewd layers have caught up with me as this pesky sunshine and subsequent quick ground has upset the form book.
All seven favourites bit the dust, starting with Robin Why Not (4-6) in the opener. This went to promising five-year-old The Jitterbug, seen at 16’s early but backed into 5-1 before waltzing home. This big gelding is by the French Derby winner Sulamani (now deceased) whose best jumps progeny was Grand National winner Rule The World.
The Restricted produced a close finish with Imogens Thunder (3’s to 2’s) just holding on for champion jockey Will Biddick to beat River Wye (9-2 to 3’s) with the favourite Tree Sparrow (11-8) running on to take third after losing his place after the third last.
There was consolation for Tree Sparrow’s trainer Camilla Scott in the Open Maiden, sponsored in memory of bookmaker Bob Pittard. Moonlight Flyer (4’s to 7-2) showed little under rules but made virtually all here in first time cheek pieces under Christopher Barber. Ballyjim (4’s to 3’s) ran on late to be second with Biddick’s mount Dragon de la Tour (7-2) unable to quicken in third. There will be another day for 5-2 fav Baby Sherlock.
The Mexican Bandit was all the rage for the 12-runner Conditions race. 11-4 was my recorded SP but at least 10’s was available early about this lightly raced course winner. The bandit kept out of the firing line on this occasion as fast ground loving La Madonnina (4’s to 7-2) just held off the strong finishing Angles Hill (3-1).
The game 15-year-old Consigliere (2-1) turned the four miles Mixed Open into a procession. His promising young rider Izzie Marshall sent the old boy clear with a mile to run, and Miss Gotaway (evens to 11-8 fav) never looked like pegging the winner back on ground she would not have enjoyed.
Top Chief (7-4 out to 5-2) certainly acts on fast ground and continually outjumped his close rival Tom Barton (evens to 4-6 fav) in the PPORA Novice Riders’. The winner’s trainer Stuart Sampson is in peak form at present and followed up Top Chief’s win by saddling the Midnight Legend mare River Myth (easy to back at 4’s) to dead heat for the Intermediate with outsider Winter Garden (100-8). All credit to the dead heaters who went past me on Jeff’s video tower locked together before reaching the judge in unison.
We should have expected some odd results on Sunday. The course was much shorter than any normal three miles point-to-point. The tight bends had been brought in to their extremity to such an extent that apart from the four mile race all the times were under six minutes, including a speedy 5 mins 33 secs for the novice riders event (but not quite in the same league as the long since closed Highampton track where the 1968 form book shows Fearless Knight’s Open time as 4 mins 17 secs – “a course that was little more than two miles,” to quote Geoffrey Sale’s annual)
Tim Holt, Megan Cobley, Marcus Bath, Athwenna Irons, JW Photography, Barnstaple Equestrian Supplies
Westcountry Videos filmed the meeting, order on 01884 840403 or through the website later in the week at www.westcountryvideos.co.uk
- Monday 28th May 2018 South Tetcott, Upcott Cross, Halwill Junction EX21 5AE. 1st Race 1.00pm
- Sunday 3rd June 2018 Exmoor, Bratton Down, Bratton Fleming, Exmoor EX31 4SG. 1st Race 2.00pm
- Wednesday 6th June 2018 Rescheduled Eggesford Upcott Cross, Halwill Junction, Okehampton EX21 5AE. 1st Race 17:00
- Sunday 10th June 2018 Tiverton Staghounds, Bratton Down, Bratton Fleming, Exmoor EX31 4SG. 1st Race 2.00pm
- Saturday 16th June 2018 Torrington Farmers, Chapelton Barton, Umberleigh EX37 9EB. 1st Race 2.00pm
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