“Be thou the rainbow to the storms of life, The evening beam that smiles the clouds away, And tints to-morrow with prophetic ray!“Lord Byron, 1788-1824, from the book The Bride of Abydos
The Eggesford featured riding doubles at Upcott Cross for Will Biddick and Charlie Sprake, sprinkled with a fair amount of controversy at this excellently maintainedDevon track.
It was a case of master and pupil sharing the highlights since 19-year-old Charlie Sprake works under the seven times champion jockey at Biddick’s Alhampton, Somerset yard.
The progressive seven-year-old The Big Sting followed up his Bank Holiday Vauterhill success last Monday in the Chris Hodgson Engineering Conditions race. Recent Exeter hunter chase winner Port O’Clock was comfortably brushed aside in the final mile as Biddick eased his mount clear to score for the sixth time this season.
The Big Sting became young Mosterton, Crewkerne, trainer Christopher Barber’s18th pointing winner of the season. Hishopes of adding to that disappeared at the 13th fence in the following Intermediate race run under the banner of Ashgrove andRangemoor Kitchens. Knockmoylan had been joined by Josh Newman’s mount Dr Rhythm when his monumental blunder left Biddick desperately trying to defy gravity. In doing so his flailing arm dislodged his fellow rider from the saddle, putting both on the floor and leaving Jabbea to finish alone under Charlie Sprake.
Jabbea was bought in Ireland as a three-year-old by his Tiverton owner/trainer Mary Sanderson and has now won three times at Upcott Cross.
Biddick was in calmer waters in the Simpkins Edwards Mixed Open thanks to a walk over on Sixteen Letters. This gave him his 46th winner of the season, just three ahead of reigning title holder James King.
Charlie Sprake is also seeking championship honours and his double secured on Wendy Jarrett’s game Imogen’sThunder took him to the 10 winner markfor the season. He narrowly heads the field for the Highflyer National Novice Riderstitle. The David Phillips Bookmakersponsored Novice Riders’ Conditions was another race to be shrouded in controversysince the John Heard trained Eric The Third, under Chas Bament, had to bedisqualified after passing the post a few lengths ahead of Imogen’s Thunder minus his vital weight cloth.
Ella Herbison gained her second career winner as Pyleigh Court took the C and R Construction Restricted. The 19-year-old rider rode a patient race on the improving seven-year-old. “He was foot perfect and I didn’t want to get there too soon,” reported the rider who works for Philip Hobbs. The winner is owned and trained by Lydeard St Lawrence, near Taunton based Robert Pudd, who also bred his winner and her dam Pyleigh Lady.
Darren Edwards chased home PyleighCourt on 5-4 favourite Jetmeoutofhere, but went one better by winning the 14-runner Ford Fuels and Waie Inn Maiden on Liberty Rock. This six-year-old just got the better of the well backed Mount Oscar to give trainer Dean Summersby his 14th winner of the season, of which seven have come in the last two weeks. “We bought Liberty Rock privately in Ireland as a three-year-old andhe got a nasty puncture wound in a fetlock at Exeter last February. He is a class horse and was saved thanks to Hayden Webb of Equus Vets.” remarked the trainer.
Once again significant watering had taken place to produce good going thanks to the team led by course owner John Heard.