WRITTEN BY GRANVILLE TAYLOR
“It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven upon the place beneath”
The Merchant of Venice – William Shakespeare 1564 – 1616
No it didn’t Mr Shakespeare, it poured down: My boots are coated with mud and my coat is still wet…..
Will Biddick took the honours at Chipley Park near Wellington on Sunday.
The 33-year-old champion point-to-point jockey not only rode two winners, but also enjoyed three training successes from his nine-horse yard saying, “This is the first time I have managed to train three winners in one day.” Although the going gradually turned heavier, senior jockeys reported that the horses were “going through it,” which was more than can be said of spectators wallowing in the deep mud around the betting ring.
Promising young pointer Sylvies Dance started the ball rolling for the Biddick yard with a four lengths win over the favourite Thechaseison in the Tiverton Hotel and Mole Valley Farmers sponsored Restricted. “It was very hard work but she clearly stays,” remarked Biddick. The mare is owned by Len and Rose Vickery together with David Churches. Her dam Kiama was only small but won nine races, including a hunter chase at Exeter for the Vickerys.
Sylvies Dance was the first of the three winners sent out during the afternoon from Biddick’s training yard at Alhampton near Shepton Mallet. Emperor Renard (Exeter Racecourse Intermediate) and Silsol (Tozers Solicitors, Woofenden Construction, Arcken Plumbing Novice Riders) followed up with lady riders on board.
Emperor Renard provided a first win in the saddle on only her second race ride for Mariah McGuinness. The 22-year-old rider works in the yard, and was overjoyed at steering her 20-1 outsider home after a gruelling battle with Banco De Logos (Darren Edwards) up the finishing climb. “Following Will’s advice, I tried to get as much daylight as possible and keep as much energy in the horse as possible,” said Mariah.
Silsol, formerly a useful performer under rules for Paul Nicholls, was a gift horse for Sophie and Alex Orttewell and gave their daughter Ella the third winner of her career when staying on dourly in the heavy ground to beat Master Dancer and All Kings. Having lost his prominent early place Silsol led from half way and won a protracted battle with Master Dancer, who started the race as grey and painted himself a muddy brown during the three miles trip. “ Will advised me to get a good start and my horse ran off with me down the hill second time,” confessed the 20-year-old winning rider who works full time in the Alhampton stable.
Biddick’s fruitful afternoon in the wet was rounded off as the Ed Walker trained Minella Beag prevailed in a slow motion finish to beat Welsh challenger Boss Baby (Bradley Gibbs) and Cottage Rose (Fergus Gillard) in the Jockey Club & Clarke Willmott Solicitors Mares Maiden. The winner, owned by Wendy Jarrett, was given a vintage Biddick ride, making ground steadily to hit the front approaching the last, before holding the rallying Boss Baby on the run in. “That was a solid performance. She was not herself last year but Ed and Polly have always liked her.” said the rider.
Navanman maintained his unbeaten record for the season in the £1000 Mixed Open, sponsored by Mr & Mrs Simon Brooks-Ward. “He is so game,” exclaimed rider Darren Andrews, who followed trainer John Heard’s instructions to delay his effort until two out. The 26-year-old rider has made the most of his opportunities this year and kept cooler than Navanman’s backers as he entered the final bend only fifth. The game 11-year-old then stormed up the final hill to reel in Frelia and Talk of the South to win going away. “He will probably go to Wadebridge next,” reported the Okehampton based trainer
Martin McIntyre also conjured a strong late run out of Mountpleasant Inn and Geoff White’s friends sponsored Open Maiden winner Le Tueur. This strong ex-Irish gelding looks a useful chasing prospect. “I went to buy him at Ascot sales but he was too expensive so I formed a partnership with his owner Harley Dunne who sent him for me to train. He is on the market,” remarked trainer Christopher Barber, who is rapidly following in the footsteps of his late Grandfather Richard Barber in the training ranks.
Jack Snipe followed up last year’s Hunt Race (Pennymoor Timber, John Pearcey & Brian Summers Memorial) success in the hands of his trainer Rob Hawker, beating sole opponent Jabbea with the minimum of fuss.
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