The well watered ground meant a very good racing surface which attracted a total of 48 runners for the six races at Upcott Cross. 15 bookies produced a strong betting market with a few faces ready to pounce in the ring.
33-1 outsider Ballyhowne upset his nine better fancied rivals in the well framed opening Conditions race, just mugging Sixteen Letters (7-4 from 2’s) in the final strides. Banco De Logos was a springer (12’s to 6’s) and ran a sound race to finish third, with the favourite Crown of Thorns (evens to 4-5), a winner of four of his five races this season just behind the places in fourth. I managed to back two losers in this race. Needless to say, one of them was the head runner up, and the other was Skinflint(5’s to 9-2) who held every chance when falling two out.
The money was only loaned to the bookies as Minimalistic (5-2 jt fav), who looked really well in the paddock, trotted up in the next. Runner up Golander (5-1) is worth keeping an eye on.
Ballyknock Cloud opened at a generous 7-4 in the Mixed Open and was sent off evens fav before a good round of jumping saw the ex-rules performer win easily under Will Biddick in the Mixed Open. Imogens Thunder (4-1), who looked a difficult ride for Matt Hampton, was not disgraced in chasing the winner home.
Ryves Rocky is improving all the time and was given a confident ride by Millie Wonnacott in the Novice Riders’, having been backed from 7-2 to 6-4 (nearly pinched 4’s but too slow in my old age). This was quite a decent race with the excellent Cloudy Music (5-2 to 7-4) a creditable runner up, with her stable companion Clondaw Bunny (4-1) less than a length behind in third.
Leslie Jefford’s horses are in good form and having saddled Ryves Rocky he mopped up the three miles Open Maiden with first and second. The jolly Willaldo (6-4 to evens) kept finding more to fend off his stable mate Businessman (7-2). It was good to see Oliver Carter’s old colours carried by the winner, owned by his grand daughter Anne Carter. When I said old I meant old because jockey Bryan Carver seemed to have put another split under the arms of the silks on return to the winner’s enclosure! Good luck to Bryan in his future professional career.
The two and a half miles Open Maiden went to the 2-1 jolly So When, trained by Christopher Barber and in his grandfather Richard Barber’s colours. This five-year-old grey by Geordieland has been on the naughty stool most of the season thanks to his running out antics, but Will Biddick proved why he is a multiple champion jockey with a masterful ride here. Having covered the grey up for the first two miles, Biddick eased his mount to the front at the second last and won under hands and heels before So When realised he was having a race.
- Sunday 2nd June 2019 Exmoor Bratton Down, Bratton Fleming, Exmoor EX31 4SG 1st Race 2.00pm
- Sunday 9th June 2019 Tiverton Staghounds Bratton Down, Bratton Fleming, Exmoor EX31 4SG 1st Race 2.00pm
- Season Finale: Saturday 15th June 2019 Torrington Farmers Chapelton Barton, Umberleigh EX37 9EB 1st Race 2.00pm
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