by Lee Glanville

Highlights of a windswept Eggesford meeting on Saturday, were a double for jockey Colin Heard and a blanket finish in the confined race.

Heard initiated his double in the members’ race when Bill Me Up got the better of his sole rival in the members’ race, Saintly Thoughts ridden by Sarah West and went on to win the men’s open on Bomba Charger. This result was the race of the season from Rebecca Welch’s 12 year old horse as he beat runner up Sir William – who has won three races already this season -  by 25 lengths, in 6.09, just short of the ladies’ race time.

Another form horse to be overturned was four-time winner this season Phoenix Phlyer in the ladies’ open. Phoenix found nothing when challenged at Cherrybrook and Tamsin Trickey used the same tactics on Itsnotsimple in this race, taking on CharlotteStucley’s front-runner with a circuit to go. Tamsin led the way and first Last of the Gales and then Alska followed suit. The four were all hard at it over the last two fences with Last of the Gales getting up in the last strides to take first place for Sarah West, Phoenix Phlyer settling for fourth spot.

There was another exiting finish in the confined, with three horses jumping the last two fences together. Jennifer Congdon, enjoying her first ride this season on Destin D’Estruval dropped her reins two out and she felt that cost her victory but she was only half a length back in third, with Leslie Jefford on Happy Team, trained by Linda Blackford, and Zatopek ridden by Liam Heard having to be split by the judge, Zatopek got the verdict.

The confined maiden had most upsets. Favourite Atlantic Drift was a first fence faller and later brought down Richard Woollacott on All Sewn Up and Roy Emmett on Darcy Jones, cutting across them at the run through. When Dark Venetian fell,Straight Courage was hampered and unshipped Liam Burns. He remounted to finish a distance second to Mervyn Woodward and Cath’s Lass.

Colin Heard was denied a treble in the young horses’ maiden when Gunner’s Mistake was held by Marquis Max.

The Eggesford had made a great effort to produce their course in good condition and it was great to see new fences all round, a great improvement on previous years. It was also good to see Richard Woollacott back riding – although he probably didn’t have the ideal reintroduction he had hoped for – and Sarah West back riding at her best.

Results: Members: 1, Bill Me Up, C Heard; 2, Saintly Thoughts, Miss S West. Two ran, 20l, 6.28.

Ladies’ Open: 1, Last of the Gales, Miss S West; 2, Itsnotsimple, Mrs T Trickey; 3, Alska, Miss W Southcombe. Six ran, 1l, 1 1/2l, 6.05.

Confined: 1, Zatopek, L Heard; 2, Happy Team, L Jefford; 3, Destin D’Estruval, Miss J Congdon. Four ran, nk, 1/2l, 6.25.

Restricted: 1, ThMoonsABalloon, S Partridge; 2, Henwyn, R Darke; 3m, Kiddysart Lady, J Young.11 ran, 1/2l, 6l, 6.16.

Men’s Open: 1, Bomba Charger, C Heard; 2, Sir William, D Edwards; 3, William O’Dee, R Woollacott. Five ran, 20l, dist, 6.09.

5,6 and 7 year olds Maiden: 1, Marquis Max, W Smith; 2, Gunners Mistake, C Heard; 3, Silver Image, M Sweetland. Four ran, 6l, 15l, 6.49.

Confined Maiden: 1, Cath’s Lass, M Woodward; 2, Straight Courage, L Burns. Seven ran, only two finished. Dist, 7.47.