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Axe Vale
Stafford Cross
Sunday 29th April 2007
by Lucy Johnson

Nick Scholfield, who had finished third in his first ride against professionals in the Betfred Gold Cup at Sandown on Saturday, clocked up a sparkling four-timer at the Axe Vale point-to-point the following day. The 17 year old Devon-born amateur, who drew praise from his boss Paul Nicholls for his ride on My Will in Saturday’s big race, was in unstoppable form at Stafford Cross, and lifted his seasonal total between the flags to nineteen after Sunday’s efforts.

Scholfield won successive races on Toi Express, Dennis The Legend and Sea Snipe before topping up in the last thanks to River Heights.

Toi Express was always holding the favourite Gone To Lunch in the Mixed Open, and had ten lengths to spare at the post, despite jumping to the right at the last two obstacles. “I would like to take him to the Horse and Hound Cup at Stratford, but he seems to prefer right hand tracks”, said Jimmy Frost representing his wife Nikki.

Ollie Bush saddled six year old Dennis The Legend to win the Intermediate for his owner/breeder Pam Pengelly. “His dam Fly The Wind was a good pointer and also won under rules” said the owner of her progressive Midnight Legend gelding who mastered runner up Minella Lodge inside the final furlong.

Nick Scholfield has struck up a good partnership with the admirable mare Sea Snipe, who was winning for the 7 th time this season in the Novice Riders’ event. Phar City went on at the fourth, but Sea Snipe found the better finishing pace and strode clear on the run in. “She may go for a Hunter Chase at Stratford” said owner Ben Messer-Bennetts.

Young Scholfield finished on a high note when steering River Heights to victory in the concluding Open Maiden. Six year old River Heights got the better of Mister Legend rounding the home turn and was pushed out to hold Andare A Ballare and Oh So Naughty up the long finishing straight. River Heights, who cost connections 8,000 gns at Doncaster sales last May, is owned in partnership by Colin Heard and Gary Wilson and is trained by Colin and his wife Karyn at Boscastle. It was a fruitful weekend for the yard, with Innocent Rebel also winning the Hunter Chase for them at Newton Abbot on Friday night.

Richard Woollacott also reached the 19 winner mark for the season when Simon’s Seat took the second Restricted division. This gelding was a chance ride for Richard, who was deputising for Rachael Green. The ladies’ champion was concussed when Rye Brook fell in the Newton Abbot Hunter Chase. Rachael was released from hospital on the following day but faces a mandatory suspension due to her injuries.

Neil Harris won the other Restricted division on Brendan’s Surprise who held the renewed effort of Rosetta in the closing stages. Leslie Jefford, who trains the five year old for Michael Pidsley, said: “He ran quite a lot on the flat and handled the fast ground very well”.

The biggest field of the day lined up for the Confined, won by Carey Buckler on River Reine. The 8 year old mare saw off her 11 rivals in good style under owner’s daughter Carey Buckler. The young jockey takes herself off on a gap year holiday to Mexico this week.


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