The original postponement and the ramifications of the equine flu regulations badly affected this fixture. The organisers deserve much credit for getting the meeting on. Not many runners though, not many punters and not many bookies.

That did not spoil the entertainment – especially for the punters who kept the faith as every favourite won.

The consistent Chosen Lucky (4-6 to 4-7 fav) proved too good for game veteran Mic’s Delight (7-4 to 6-4) in the opener. The Peter Edwards Memorial Open Maiden provided the biggest field of the day with nine runners. The hard pulling Rare Oul Times (4’s to 11-4) was just outstayed by Cloudy Music (5-4 to evens fav) after a neck and neck battle up the finishing hill.

Acadian (1-2 to 4-6 fav) had run well here last month and duly obliged in the Restricted. Runner up Alice’s Star (drifted to 16’s) stuck to her task well to finish second, but Mujadel (7-4 into 11-10) ran below par. He was well held in third.

After the six-runner Restricted the fields dried up; Robert Chanin’s Irish import Ballyhowne (4-5 to 1-2 fav) beat his sole opponent Awesome Tunes (4-5 to 10-11) in the Intermediate – but only by a neck after a protracted battle all the way up the hill.

The Last But One was the only declaration out of the five entries in the Ladies’ Open. After his stroll past the judge he was quickly re-saddled to carry a 12lbs penalty successfully in the Men’s Open. Even with Will Biddick in the saddle he made little appeal at 10-1 on. Sole opponent King of Alcatraz (3’s) was eventually pulled up after a vain pursuit.

So all the jolly old favourites had obliged, and not surprisingly the layers threw the towel in. Just two bookies left for the getting out stakes, shouting to an empty auditorium except for one man and his dog Oh yes, and me.


Kernel Victor (4-5 to 4-7 fav) was backed to good money in the opener, several three figure bets recorded. Will Biddick’s mount always seemed on the back foot though and could only finish third behind Its All or Nothing (3’s to 2’s) who galloped on strongly in the testing conditions.

Favourite backers got it wrong again in the following race when In Arrears (2’s to 6-4 fav) couldn’t quite follow up her Chipley Park success. Wind Tor (4’s in one place into 9-4) kept on well to hold the late challenge of Jabbea (6’s to 9-2). I felt that this was a strong Intermediate and the form looks solid. Just for the record, we can keep an eye out for the unplaced trio Sixteen Letters (7-2), Tamarstone (12’s) and Second Captain (33-1).

After that the 14 layers took a bashing with well backed favourites rolling in. Master Baker (8-11 fav touched 4-6) put a stop to the weekend frolics of The Last But One (11-10) who couldn’t quite add to his Wadebridge double 24 hours earlier.

Minimalistic (11-10 to 4-6 fav) drew right away to win the Confined Maiden. He is sure to win again. The runner up Merchant House (7-2 to 5-2) lacked experience but is a good sort who will win races. Banco De Logos (4-1) was well held in third, and has failed to build on his good run behind Road to Rome (has won six times since) on the opening day of the season. He needs to up his game.

The punting bonanza continued as jumping debutant Isla’s Dream (evens to 10-11 fav) beat the experienced Neetside (5’s to 6’s) in the Mares Maiden despite running green. A 33,000 euros purchase, Isla’s Dream no doubt has a longer term future under rules.

Crown of Thorns (evens to 4-6 fav) stayed on strongly to win the Restricted. He was not hard pressed to follow up his Chipley win, and is beginning to look a shrewd purchase out of the Gigginstown draft at Doncaster sales last Septembert. Runner up Journey Juice (8’s to 7’s) is capable of picking up a similar race.

Anyway, the form book held up well so Chipley losses were regained with interest. Champagne to drink instead of beer.

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