THE going was very testing for the Eggesford meeting at Upcott Cross with race times exceeding seven minutes.
Lucette Annie relished the conditions in winning the four miles Devon National. This game mare was sent zooming clear of her rivals by jockey Darren Edwards on the top bend before staying on to score comfortably from the consistent Bellsinni Ron, with pace setting Double Dizzy a commendable third.
“Lucette Annie won this race two years ago and I have just kept her ticking over since her run in the Cheltenham Foxhunter last month,” reported trainer Simon Partridge, who handles the ten-year-old on behalf of owners Janet and Chris Humphrey. “We may go to the Cheltenham evening meeting or keep her for the Bratton four-miler,” added Simon.
Darren Edwards is enjoying another successful campaign with his winners into double figures, and had earlier scored on Bradley Brook in the Confined. This progressive eight-year-old was following up his recent Kilworthy win in good style, forging clear in the home straight. Trainer Nicola Martin said “Bradley Brook may go for the Exeter Racecourse Intermediate Final or the Cheltenham evening meeting. Although we bought him as a three-year-old he was seven before he matured.”
Another candidate for the Exeter Final is Driftashore (Robbie Henderson) who raised a few eyebrows when beating odds-on favourite Pure Oxygen (ran out of oxygen quipped rider Will Biddick). Driftashore sauntered clear down the hill to score by ten lengths in the fastest time of the day. Trained by Sally Randell near Lambourn on behalf of owner Lee Power, Driftashore was making his English pointing debut having scored twice in Ireland earlier this season. “He was bought via our Irish agent Neil O’Donnell. We came here for proper ground but the owner is abroad and he will be distraught at missing it,” laughed Sally, who rode plenty of pointing winners but now confines herself to riding in military races. The impressive seven-year-old would have been ridden by stable jockey Brodie Hampson, but she could only watch on crutches having cracked her knee in a recent fall at Newton Abbot.
My Rebel has always shaped like a stayer and sliced through the field from the top of the hill to take the 14-runner Restricted, just getting the better of Third Chance and Raffa. The winner’s trainer Becky Kennen, who shares ownership of the Milan seven-year-old with Alison Schwalm, said: “We bought him as an unraced five-year-old from Jim Culloty in Ireland and have had to be very patient with him. He has grown an inch and a half since last winter.” His win provided a late birthday present for jockey Leanda Tickle who had turned 25 two days before.
Leanda was narrowly denied a double when her mount Pyleigh Princess was pipped on the post by Harry’s Kap (Ed Barrett) in the maiden for eight-year-olds and over. Bought as a three-year-old by owner/trainer Ray Alford, nine-year-old Harry’s Kap was having only his second race. Harry’s Kap – who got his name by virtue of Ray’s father Harry wearing his ever present cap – is by the successful French stallion Kapgarde, and is a full brother to the top class French jumper Lord Prestige.
There seemed a cast of thousands for the Open Maiden for four to seven-year-olds (well 16 actually). In another close encounter in this event, 33-1 outsider It’s All Or Nothing (Michael Heard) poked his neck out in the last few strides to deny the promising Miss Gotaway. The winner was bought at Ascot sales as a three-year-old by Lamerton publican Rob White and is trained by Charlotte Rowe at Tedburn St Mary.
It was not the best of days for champion jockey Will Biddick, but his sole Hunt race win on Turtle Tim from five rides keeps him four ahead of Robbie Henderson in his bid for a third successive Men’s title. Turtle Tim is trained at Payhembury near Honiton by Sarah Pidsley for her parents Mike and Judith.
A couple of long priced winners and four Will Biddick ridden beaten favourites put a smile on the bookies faces at Upcott CrossBiddick started the afternoon as the punters pal when forcing Turtle Tim
home in the opening Hunt race. Backed from 6-4 to evens favourite, Biddick had to pull out all the stops to get the better of the game Clew Bay Cove
.It was all downhill from there for the champion jockey as Pure Oxygen
(4-7); Bellsinni Ron
(4-5); Mister Trebus
(2-1) and the newcomer St Denys
(6-4 out to 5-2) were all beaten.The Exeter racecourse Intermediate qualifier looked a strong race to me. The impressive winner Driftashore
can go straight into the note book. He toyed with the easy Buckfastleigh winner Pure Oxygen
with other good winners in his wake. His Irish point to point form as recently as February seemed to be overlooked since he was allowed to start at 5-1.
Despite being a winner four times this season, Welstonedruid proved friendless in the market for the Confined. This useful six-year-old drifted from 5-4 to 2-1 and was eventually pulled up. The six-year-old has been on the go since the opening day of the season and has probably done enough for the moment. Bradley Brook continues on the upgrade and was a comfortable winner who looks Open class.
Notus de la Tour (6’s to 5’s) stayed on well to finish second to Bradley Brook on his pointing debut and will surely do well in points. The ex-French gelding had a BHA rating of 144 at his best when with David Pipe and seems to have retained some ability.
Its all or Nothing provided a 33-1 shock in the 16-runner Maiden which featured some promising types.. It would have taken a crystal ball to find this one on form but the grey won on merit, just denying the promising Miss Gotaway who was nibbled at (6’s and 5’s).
The winner of the David Phillips Bookmaker sponsored final race could not have done David or his colleagues any favours. This was the favourite Harry’s Kap (5-4) who is nine-years-old and had been hiding for most of his life. Pyleigh Princess (6’s to 5’s) ran the winner very close and this well bred mare is a winner in waiting.
Results of the Eggesford meeting
Westcountry Videos filmed the meeting, order on 01884 840403 or through the website later in the week at www.westcountryvideos.co.uk
Bath photographic (Marcus Bath), Helen Stoneman, Tim Holt and Turf Pix (Tracy Roberts)
Saturday 19th April, Dartmoor Point-To-Point, Flete Park, Ermington (near Ivybridge)
Monday 21st April, Four Burrow Point-To-Point, Trebudannon, St Colomb Major (near Newquay)