A thoroughly wet and windy day at Ottery failed to spoil the entertainment, with plenty of faces willing to take on the layers. I suspect the bookies went home with more soggy fivers than the punters

The best horse on show was the useful hunter chaser Caid du Berlais (1-3 to 1-4) who was having his prep run for the Cheltenham Foxhunters. He had little difficulty in disposing of his eight opponents. They went 7-1 bar the favourite, who was having his first run since winning a Punchestown hunter chase last April. Will Biddick reached a career landmark of riding 400 pointing winners on the Rose Loxton trained gelding, already well backed ante-post for Cheltenham this year.

The day had started with a setback for Biddick followers when Crown of Thorns (evens to 4-7 fav) had to give best to Wind Tor (2-1) in the Hunt race. The pair raced locked together from the spinney until Josh Newman just got the better of the battle on Wind Tor inside the last 100 yards. Raddon Top (solid 100-30) was a bit disappointing in fourth, but this was a high class event for this level.

The Lacey yard introduced another expensive purchase in the 14-runner younger horses Maiden. The dogs had been barking, as they do for every Lacey four-year-old, as Ramillies (6-4 fav), drew right away in the home straight. A Tipple or Two (12-1) ran well to finish runner-up and should easily win a Maiden. Sylvies Dance (6-1) showed promise on her debut in third, her dam was the excellent Kiama. There had been money for Tom Malone’s Thestopperdunne (5’s in a place to 2’s) who faded to finish fifth.

I calculated that In Arrears (4’s in a place to 3’s) was a good bet in the Intermediate. She didn’t let me down after a canny Darren Edwards waiting ride, but Awesome Tunes (10-1) was upsides at the last and finished a creditable second for the Ed Walker yard under Danny Burton. This was a decent Intermediate with the consistent Bridge of Spies (3-1) holding every chance until fading after a mistake at the penultimate. The well backed Emperor Renard (4’s to 6-4 fav) was never really in the race.

Money was flying round the betting ring – literally as the storm with a stupid name saw fivers and tenners flying about in the gale. Not surprisingly I lacked the speed or agility to join in the commotion.

Dicky Bob (4-6 to 4-5 fav) jumped in his usual good style to win the Novice Riders’ with young Thomasina Eyston in the saddle. Second favourite, the ex-Philip Hobbs 135 rated hurdler Hello George (5’s to 3’s), was virtually knocked out of the race though by a loose horse after a circuit. “Mon Dieu” shouted a shocked French jockey Nathan Vergne (or words to that effect), as his mount was shunted off the track. He got back into the race to finish fourth.

Pistol Shoot’s recent form prior to his Restricted run was uninspiring to say the least – a string of letters to his name- so 20-1 seemed a bit mean. He is in good hands however and proved too good for his 14 opponents under Darren Edwards. Gerties Garter (6-1) would have been closer but for a last fence blunder, and third placed Dragon de la Tour (12’s to 10’s) deserves reward for consistency

Then some less than exciting news for us soaked to the skin mortals – one over the safety factor of 17 so the last race was divided. My wet notebook shows that the ex-Gigginstown Soul Kaliber (6-1) gave Darren Edwards a treble in the first section. He was left clear thanks to the last fence blunder of Where’s Wilma (9-4 to evens fav).

In fact the bookies were on the retreat by the end of the afternoon – only four just men left for the getting out stakes –ironically with clearing skies A good round of jumping saw Manofmanywords (3’s to 4-5 fav in a weak market) beat the only other finisher Princess Annabelle (14-1)

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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