SUNDAY 11 MAY 2003

by Lee Glanville

Hasten Bak was anything but at the start of the Confined hunts race at the Tetcott meeting at Lifton (on Sunday).
Roma Cook's charge has been left at the start once before this season and dwelt here before handing out a 20 length drubbing to his four opponents in the capable hands of Mrs Cook's niece Lucy Gardner. Lydford Castle, a winner last time out at Flete, was second under Liam Heard.

For the higher grade races runners were few and far between ­ many trainers have either turned out their better horses after the recent dry spell or are waiting to see what the ground is like at the Bratton Down meetings. 

Two 13- year-old horses and one seven-year-old contested the men's open, Damien's Pride calling on his experience for a comfortable victory under Tim Dennis. Strong Stuff, also 13, was second and Irisio was 12 lengths and 12 lengths back in third.

The huge crowd clapped ladies' winner Breteche (Elise Newman) as she passed the post, recognising that it is sometimes harder to ride a race alone than in a huge field ­ especially as both riders in this race were in their first
season. Elise managed to keep both her and Breteche's concentration and judged her pace well. Breteche is a good horse in his own right and at one point was four fences ahead of Dominique Mills who, having only her second ride, showjumped Brit of a Babe round safely.

There was at least a close finish in the novice riders' race as Father Mansfield ( Caroline Prouse) flew home over the last two fences and just failed to catch Vic's Brush (William White) ­ those in the crowd who felt that Father Mansfield was left too much to do should remember that these races are for novice riders and Caroline was coming back after a hefty bank holiday fall. 

It was an action packed restricted as first Indiana John fell and then favourite SunLark pulled up in the lead ­ a subsequent stewards' enquiry found that the tack broke allowing the weight cloth to come adrift and the
jockey (R Young) had no choice but to pull up. Itworked looked the pick of the rest. The horse was partnered by Richard Darke but tried his hardest to make things difficult for his pilot. Darke however was determined and only
just failed to peg back the lead of Marquis Max (Wayne Smith).

There was plenty of action in the maiden. Mr Rory bucked off rider Amanda Barnett after jumping the first fence and eventual winner Baron Ridge (Richard Darke) came from behind but victory wasn't his until the line, second place Port Valenska (Neil Harris) fighting all the way. 

Confined: 1, Hasten Bak, Miss L Gardner; 2, Lydford Castle, L Heard; 3, Contra Charge, M Munrowd. Four ran, 20l, 10l, 6.12.

Men's Open: 1, Damiens Pride, T Dennis; 2, Strong Stuff, M Shears; 3,Irisio, R Young. Three ran, 12l, 12l, 6.12.

Ladies Open: 1, Breteche, Miss E Newman; 2, Brit of a Babe, Miss D Mills. Two ran, dist, 6.39.

Nov Riders Intermediate: 1, Vic's Brush, W White; 2, Father Mansfield, Miss C Prouse; 3, Touching Down, W Biddick. Three ran, 2l 11l, 6.14.

Restricted: 1, Marquis Max, W Smith; 2, Itworked R Darke; 3, Bridge House Boy, A Oliver. Seven ran, 1l, 1l,.6.21.

Maiden: 1, Baron Ridge, R Darke; 2, Port Valenska, N Harris; 3, Second Pick, J Snowden. Seven ran, 2l, nk, 6.30.

Members: 1, Imprevu, Miss C Heywood, walked over.