There wasn’t a lot of big money around the ring at Upcott Cross according to the dozen bookmakers. It proved to be a bit of an up and down day for the serious punters.
At least The Big Sting (4-6 into 1-2) put us on the right track by winning the opener. Port O’Clock (6-4) had won the Intermediate hunter chase final at Exeter, but his front running tactics were foiled this time as Biddick pinched the inside and the decisive lead at the 12th fence as his rival jumped out to the left.
The form book will show that Jabbea (6-1) was the only one of the four runners to finish in the Intermediate, but this will not reveal the full story. Will Biddick’s mount Knockmoylan (6-4) set the pace jumping well until a bad blunder at the 13th jump had his rider hanging out of the saddle. As I saw it, Biddick’s attempt to defy gravity, as he came unstuck from his stumbling mount, led him to grab for a life raft and he found one alongside in fellow jockey’s Josh Newman’s arm. Both eventually capsized to the turf, much to the rider of Dr Rhythm’s (11-8 fav) understandable displeasure.
Punters could not separate Liberty Rock (7-2 to 5-2) and Mount Oscar (5-2) at the head of the market in the 14-runner Maiden. They had the race to themselves from the top bend with Liberty Rock getting on top at the last. Liberty Rock will progress to better class and Mount Oscar is also one for the note book. The obvious eye catcher in this race was third placed Firefly Lane who had no friends at 25-1, but stepped up markedly from some modest efforts under rules. Mykonos Ammos (8-1) had disgraced himself at Trebudannon but ran well here whilst four-year-old previously unraced Onward Soldier (8’s to 9-2) showed a bit of promise.
I thought that novice rider Ella Herbison gave Pyleigh Court (5-2) a fine waiting ride to win the Restricted to nail 5-4 fav Jetmeoutofhere. Don’t write off non finisher Quintin’s Man (3’s to 5-2) who still has plenty of potential, but Highland Legend (5’s to 4’s) disappointed after showing such promise at Kilworthy.
Controversy arose again in the lucky last (lucky for some). Chad Bament and Eric The Third (5-2) set a cracking pace and held on well to beat Imogen’s Thunder (evens to 4-6 fav), but Chad’s weight cloth came off at half way leading to disqualification at weighing in. After the amended result was announced backers of the winner who had discarded their tickets caused amusement by forming a loose scrum before frantically diving into the waste paper bins to find them.