“The rose and black draws clear of the ruck,
And the murmur swells to a roar,
As the brave old colours that never were struck,
Are seen with the lead once more.
Six lengths in front she scours along,
She’s bringing the field to trouble;
She’s tailing them off, she’s running strong,
She shakes her head and pulls double.”
From a poem by Adam Lindsay Gordon 1833 – 1870
Will Biddick reached his half century for the season with a short priced double at the South Tetcott on Saturday. This put him level momentarily with James King on the 51 winner mark in the race for the National jockeys’ championship. King however edged ahead again with a single success at Kingston Blount on the following day.
Somerset based Josh Newman was also in double form thanks to Minimalistic and Lucky Lara, whilst the Novice Riders’ race featured a first point to point success for Molly Landau on Beau du Brizais.
The progressive seven-year-old Famous Clermont added to his Exeter hunter chase win with a smooth performance in the Simpkins Edwards Mixed Open. Will Biddick settled his mount in the slip stream of Sixteen Letters and Sykes and showed those rivals a clean pair of hooves when quickening clear in the finishing straight. Famous Clermont was winning for the fourth time this season. “ Not bad for a £5,000 purchase and the owners have been brilliant. They turned down a good offer after Exeter. We chose this race instead of Stratford and it was a good confidence booster for him,” explained trainer Christopher Barber.
The seven-times champion jockey completed his double on Talkingtothemoon in the two and a half miles Maiden sponsored by FC Cleaning Systems. Making only his second racecourse appearance, the four-year-old caught front running No Escape (Jimmy Cole) at the penultimate and had seven lengths in hand on reaching the judge. “His jumping was good and he will improve a lot,” said the jockey. The winner became the 25th winner of the season saddled by Christopher Barber. “We ran him here because they do such a good job with the ground. He was weak and raw first time out. I bought a half share to train him along with Yorton Stud because my grandfather (Richard Barber) won with his dam Blue Buttons. He is by the Yorton stallion Pether’s Moon. He will be on the market now.
Edward and Sue Darke’s Minimalistic gave Josh Newman his 17th winner of the season with an authoritative display in the Race Hill Garage Area Conditions race. The useful 10-year-old made virtually all the running to beat Five Gold Bars. “He jumps for fun and stays well. We do all the work on the farm. He has now won three times this year and he wasn’t at his best when he ran at Cheltenham. It was a nightmare journey there and he had got cast in his box the day before,” reported 80 years old Edward Darke, who shares ownership with his wife Sue and regularly rides out his prize possession.
A field of 11 faced the starter in the PRJ Engineering Maiden Conditions event won by Lucky Lara. This time Newman rode a waiting race, asking his mount for maximum effort to fend off Full Spes and Jimmy Tew on the home run. “She is still green and had a good look round. She will learn a lot from that,” said the jockey. The Mahler mare now runs in the colours of Terry Hamlin who often fills the role of senior steward in the area. She was bought privately after a couple of optimistic runs in hunter chases for her previous connections.
It was a memorable day for 17-year-old Molly Landau who rode her first point to point winner in the Dunbia West Devon sponsored Mixed Open for novice riders. Partnering the gallant grey Beau du Brizais, Molly galvanised her mount on the run in and just got up to catch odds-on favourite Rhythm Is a Dancer (Olive Nicholls) in the last few strides to win by a neck. Molly, a pony racing graduate, has ridden a flat winner and has had one success over hurdles. After a spell at Will Biddick’s yard she now works for Andrew Balding. “I have been at Kingsclere for five weeks and love it. My ambition is to be a professional jump jockey,” she told me, which would mean her following in the footsteps of her father Guy Landau who rode a Whitbread Gold Cup winner and was placed in the Grand National. Beau du Brizais is trained on the Quantocks by Teresa Honeyball for the six strong Notre Cheval Partnership headed by vet Phil Browne who said, “He is a bit quirky. I was a long serving vet for Philip Hobbs for 40 years and looked after this horse there for five years. Teresa works her heart out including taking the horses to Brean Sands beach.”
Darren Edwards and Will Biddick are having their usual close contest for the Devon & Cornwall Area title. Despite riding his 21st winner of the season on Liberty Rock in the Giffords Chartered Accountants Restricted, Edwards still has a few points to make up on his close rival in the final two area fixtures. Six-year-old Liberty Rock followed up his recent course win in good style at the expense of King’s Quay and Grove Ash. Owned by Nick Banks, John Gardener and Torbyn Hughes, the Dean Summersby trained gelding looks a fine prospect.
The popular Tavistock rider and trainer, 40-year-old Jimmy Cole, announced his retirement after racing. Jimmy has 18 winners to his credit in over 20 years race riding, invariably on cheaply bought horses. A highlight of his career was winning a hunter chase at Aintree in 2009 on his own mare Holly Walk who was bred by HM The Queen. Two years before that Holly Walk had given Jimmy his first success in a Wadebridge Maiden after nine years of trying. He was treated to a ducking in the water trough by fellow jockeys as a goodbye gesture.
Cover Photo Credit: Athwenna Irons/WMN