“The stormy March has come at last with windy and cloudy and changing skies”

William C Bryant, poet, 1794-1878

Whoever that storm goddess Freya was, we don’t want to see her again. The well predicted wet and windy weather came on cue, but failed to dampen the spirits at Ottery.

Darren Edwards landed a treble at the East Devon fixture at Bishop’s Court, near Ottery St Mary on Sunday (March 3). The meeting also saw Will Biddick reach a personal landmark of 400 point-to-point winners.

Will Biddick’s achievement came as Caid du Berlais strolled home well ahead of his eight rivals in the Mixed Open. “That hopefully puts him spot on for the Cheltenham Foxhunter, but it was plenty soft enough today. It was great to get a run into him,” said trainer Rose Loxton, whose charge was having his first race since winning a valuable Punchestown hunter chase under Biddick last April. The Cornishman summed up his performance in the Ottery mud in one word, “easy”, adding that the 10-year-old is his intended Foxhunter ride, “ If all goes well.”

Darren Edwards was in great form as the ground got softer by the minute. He conjured a perfectly timed run out of In Arrears to take the Intermediate. Darren’s father Gordon trains this family owned mare, who was bought from Colin Bowe in Ireland. “She loves soft ground and is an out and out stayer. She may run in a novice hunter chase at Exeter next.” reported the trainer.

Pistol Shoot had little previous form to his name, but a positive Edwards ride saw the seven-year-old beat 14 rivals after starting as a 20-1 outsider. His trainer Nicky Martin tends to concentrate on her National Hunt horses these days and said, “That was very unexpected. I only came for the day out! This horse couldn’t deal with going under rules but works well at home with 150 rated horses. He will stay pointing now”

Although the rain abated, it got very windy for the closing races, but with the Maiden for older horses exceeding the safety factor it had to be divided. Darren Edwards secured his treble as Soul Kaliber just held off the fast finishing Where’s Wilma in the first section for the Little Acres Racing Club. Trainer Dean Summersby bought the nine-year-old at Doncaster sales out of Gordon Elliott’s yard, where he ran in the Gigginstown colours. “He has had a few problems but our physio Catherine Davis has done a really good job with him,” said the Lifton based trainer.

The other section went to the lightly raced Manofmanywords who gave an exemplary display of jumping under Bryan Carver. Pam Pengelly’s home bred gelding is in the care of Camilla Scott who said, “He was a late foal and has been so weak.”

The Open Maiden for younger horses went to the well backed four-year-old Ramillies ridden by Tommie O’Brien. This was yet another Tattersalls Derby sales purchase to make a successful pointing debut for Tom Lacey, who described the Shantou grey as, “still very raw.” Ramillies put in a few novicey jumps in beating his 13 opponents before drawing away from the promising A Tipple Or Two in the home straight. No plans were revealed for four-year-old, Ramillies, but an appearance in the sales ring wouldn’t be a surprise

The well fancied Hello George (Nathan Vergne) was nearly knocked over by a loose horse after the open ditch in the Novice Riders’ contest, but odds-on favourite Dicky Bob happily jumped his way round to score by 12 lengths. This popular old grey was ridden by Thomasina Eyston for owner/ trainer Verity Nicholls. The 18-year-old rider was partnering her fourth career winner, and hopes to study chemistry at TrinityCollege, Dublin in September. Dicky Bob heads for Buckfastleigh for his next run.

Wind Tor (Josh Newman) and Crown of Thorns (Will Biddick) battled out the Hunt race from a long way out. The pair raced stride for stride until the mare Wind Tor just eased ahead inside the last 100 yards. “We both got racing from three out but she is very game,” remarked the winning jockey. Ed Walker trains Wind Tor for the Otter Club just down the road from the course.`

Upcoming Fixtures

Sunday 10th March 2019 Blackmore and Sparkford Vale

     Charlton Horethorne, Sherborne, DT9 4LJ 1st Race 12.30pm

Saturday 16th March 2019 Quantock Staghounds Cothelstone, Taunton, TA4 3DT 1st Race 12.30pmSunday 17th March 2019 Dart Vale & Haldon Harriers

     Buckfastleigh Racecourse. TQ11 0LT 1st Race 1.00pm

Sunday 17th March 2019 New Forest Hounds 

    Larkhill, Amesbury, Wiltshire, SP4 8QT 1st Race 12.30pm

Saturday 23rd March 2019 Wilton Milborne

    St Andrew, Blandford Forum, DT11 0JX 1st Race 12.30pm

Sunday 24th March 2019 Lamerton Kilworthy, Tavistock PL19 0JX 1st Race 1.00pmSunday 24th March 2019 Mendip Farmers Ston Easton, Shepton Mallet, BA3 5DH 1st Race 1.00pmSaturday 30th March 2019 Avon Vale 

    Larkhill, Amesbury, SP4 8QT 1st Race 1.00pm

Sunday 31st March 2019 Cotley 

    Cotley, Chard, Somerset, TA20 3EP 1st Race 1.00pm

Sunday 7th April 2019 Portman

     Badbury Rings, Wimborne, DT11 9JL 1st Race 2.00pm

Sunday 7th April 2019 Spooner’s & West Dartmoor Cherrybrook, Tavistock PL19 0LA 1st Race 1:30pm

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