There was plenty of drama both on and off the course at a high class Buckfastleigh meeting on Sunday (19th February).
Jepeck scored impressively in the featured £1.000 Devon & Cornwall Area Classic race. This prestigious Mixed Open is for winners only, but the progressive Jepeck treated his good quality nine rivals with contempt, storming well clear from the third last under Jamie Thomas. Miss Gotaway and Winter Soldier filled the places, but neither could live with the winner in the closing stages. Kayley Woollacott trains eight-year-old Jepeck for owner Jon Pike and said, "He has come on a lot for his first run this season (at Chipley Park) and I would like to find a novice or maiden hunter chase for him,"
Immediately after Jepeck's triumph, racing was suspended for a while when a car crashed on the A38 adjacent to the first fence and ended upside down on the edge of the racecourse. Paramedics and ambulances were quickly deployed from the course amidst flashing blue lights and a fire engine around the stricken car. As the havoc involving the emergency vehicles eventually died down, racing was resumed with a couple of fences near the incident omitted for safety purposes.
The Woollacott stable continued in good form as Mr Jaggers flew past several rivals on the run in to take his division of the Confined Maiden. This provided a first winner in the saddle for 35-year-old Charlie O'Shea after just a handful of rides. "Charlie is very keen and rides out for the yard a couple of times a week. We bought this horse at Doncaster last year and he is a good schoolmaster for him," said Kayley. Mr Jaggers runs in the colours of the Tolcarne Beach Partnership run by the jockey's father in law Nick Briant.
The on-course drama had started in the first race when Dicky Bob suffered disqualification as his rider Rex Dingle had failed to weigh in. The popular grey, owned and trained by Verity Nicholls, had defied a 7lbs penalty to win the 13-runner Confined in most impressive style from Whenharrymetsally and Robin De Souza. His inevitable demotion meant that 20-1 outsider Whenharrymetsally took the prize home. This consistent mare, trained by Keith Cumings for owner Hannah Broggio, initiated a double for 25-year-old jockey Matt Hampton who currently rides out for the Paul Nicholls yard. .
She's Dapper went on to complete the rider's double when getting the better of front running Pyleigh Brae to win the Mares and Fillies Maiden. The winner provided a first training success for Cullompton based ex-jockey Greg Richards. "We bought the mare from Matt Griffiths for The Friends and Family Partnership run by Sue Shere," reported the trainer.
Forrardon Xmoor and Applesolutely fought out the finish of the Intermediate Exeter Racecourse qualifier. It was Forrardon Xmoor who stayed on best to provide a winning ride for Vicky Wade who had ridden the grey to his maiden success for other connections on this course last year. This time Vicky was standing in for Hannah Lewis who was in the saddle for his Ampton victory last month, but was committed to another meeting on this occasion. "He got into a relentless rhythm and jumped really well," reported the rider, whose quick thinking enable her to jump off her mount and pull off a loose shoe immediately after passing the post. David Fitch-Peyton bought Forrardon Xmoor for a small syndicate at Ascot last autumn and trains the gelding himself near Tetbury.
Champion jockey Will Biddick is getting into his stride in his quest for a sixth consecutive National title and was in double form thanks to As I See It and Dan McGrue, Five-year-old As I See It followed up his promising Barbury Castle bumper debut when quickening clear on the flat in his section of the Confined Maiden. The five-year-old, home bred by Richard Kelvin-Hughes from his prolific winning mare Chomba Womba, is trained by Ed Walker.
Dan McGrue completed Biddick's double in a big field for the Restricted, Only four of the 14 runners finished though in the testing going, with the winner staying on gamely. "He was always in his comfort zone and has a good little motor," reported the rider. Jack Barber handles the promising five-year-old for Paul Barber, David Martin and David Bennett. He was bought after winning a Roscommon bumper on his racecourse debut and, "has benefited from lots of loose schooling," according to his trainer.